The Marketing Secret Your Customers Can’t Resist

How are you driving word-of-mouth for your business? As a leader, it’s one of the biggest questions you’ll face, and how you answer it will likely determine your success or failure. If you’ve been paying attention, you know that the rules of engaging with customers through social media marketing are drastically changing.

Facebook’s recent algorithm update shifts the focus of user feeds toward personal content rather than news or business promotion, and Instagram algorithms are sure to follow suit. As a result, Forbes predicts that companies relying heavily on social media promotion will lose big, as new barriers threaten to leave businesses high and dry.

You are now at an important crossroads: you could solely buy more ads on social media as their prices continue to skyrocket (Facebook ad prices went up 39 percent this past quarter and will surely continue to rise), or you could use these changes to your advantage.

Related: How to Use Influencer Marketing to Grow Your Brand

As a current founder and CEO and an e-commerce veteran, and also having sold billions of dollars online competing profitably against Amazon, I’ve uniquely positioned myself to advise on igniting high-ROI word-of-mouth marketing for business.

Below I’ve put together insider tips for owning the engagement with your customers and mobilizing your brand’s own curated marketing militia.

Your customer will always be your best influencer

Word-of-mouth has always been the holy-grail for marketers, and in today’s world that means the best a brand can hope for is to be included in its customers’ personal social media posts. No one can speak more authentically about your brand than one of your customers, and his or her content will dependably receive higher engagement than brand-generated marketing content.

It’s time to get real

Let’s talk numbers: Today’s consumers want to see real people, real reviews, and real photos. Up to 30 percent of the millennial media diet is user-generated content, because they find it to be 35 percent more memorable and 50 percent more trusted than traditional media. Meanwhile, 92 percent of all consumers trust peer recommendations over advertising, and 25 percent of U.S. adults consume original user content related to a product or service daily. How are you integrating user-generated content into every touchpoint in your customer journey?

Make it about them

Social media proves that everyone loves to share their experiences (and selfies, and pets, and lunch food, etc.). Remember that personal user posts on social media get seen far more often than brand posts, not to mention they receive higher engagement. Sometimes, customers just need a little invitation, a prompt, or an extra incentive to motivate them to share their authentic experience with your brand.

Own the engagement

No longer should a brand outsource their engagement to social media sites and rent access to their own customers. Rather, they should engage with their customers directly on their site with two-way interactive video. Brands must own the engagement, the content and the data while incentivizing their customers to share into their own social streams to further magnify their brand.

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These tips provide a solid game plan for navigating your business through the ever-changing environment of social media.

One final piece of advice to speed your journey: always be ready to innovate.

It’s important for those in business to stay on top of trends and be open to trying out new ways to market. Never become too dependent on a third-party source of business that you have no control over. Be willing to utilize new resources, diversify your marketing mix and remember above all that your customers are your most valuable asset and most powerful advocates.

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