When was the last time you spoke to a friend or family member about a captivating film? Or, a newly-discovered boutique clothes store or a band whose music you love?
The conversations we hold with peers and family about brands have a lasting impression. These narratives, passed on from one person to another, are effective. More so, in fact, than the advertisements and marketing promotions that are seen on TV and around the web.
Peer to peer conversations are at the heart of effective marketing. It’s a viral marketing tactic that generates publicity around a product or service through word of mouth and social media interactions.
So, how do brands generate publicity and get people talking?
Trigger Real-time Conversations with Social Media
In the age of the consumer, social media is the communication channel of choice. The empowered consumer uses social media to make the initial contact with a brand. They research about specific products and services, and see what other users are saying about them.
The popularity of mainstream and niche social networks provides opportunities to create and share engaging content that users want to re-share with their own community.
Brands that are generating the most publicity on social media are those with a robust social content marketing strategy. This means they create content that resonates with their target audience and ties back to the brand’s identity and business goals.
Social media is also the pulse of event marketing. Smart social marketing can help to transform a relatively obscure event into a viral powerhouse.
Find Connect, and Collaborate with Influencers
Generating publicity in this way is a deliberate move away from traditional inbound marketing strategies. Traditional inbound techniques broadcast marketing message to a mass audience with the goal of drawing in a few prospective customers.
Mass marketing is no longer effective and can be seen as an annoyance. Consumers are more in control of the products they buy, where they buy from and the prices they pay simply by looking up information online from different sources.
Influencers are the sources that consumers look up to, to make purchase decisions and to discriminate one brand from the other. Through influencers, marketers are able to move away from mass marketing. They can offer personalised, authentic one-on-one conversations about specific products and services.
Connecting and collaborating with influencers has the potential to double your visibility and increase publicity for your your brand in a way that you would not be able to on your own.
Create and Use the Power of Customer Communities
Customer communities have become popular due to mobile technologies and social media. Consumers from different parts of the world can get together and form communities, user groups and forums around a brand and share information in real time.
Brands that understand the power of online communities are intentionally creating their own communities . This enables brand advocates to share customer reviews, branded content and engage in peer-to-peer marketing.
In many ways, a customer community as a marketing strategy is an amplified version of influencer marketing. Bringing together a group of like-minded, informed consumers to engage in conversations provides other consumers with authentic and relevant information about your brand.
Brand advocates who make up customer communities are influencers and connectors with a wide network. Their widespread network means they are able to spread news and trigger reactions from target consumers quickly.
Spread the Word Faster with Strategic Alliances
Partnering with people who may seem like competitors may not sound like a good idea. But, by identifying the right strategic partnerships, it is possible to generate the right kind of attention for an event, a product launch or a great service you are offering.
To get the most from strategic alliances, partner up with a well-known individual or business in your niche or a related niche. Such a partner will be encourage their own community to like your brand, or your unique products and services.
Strategic alliances are usually on a quid-pro-quo basis, meaning that you too need to offer your partner something of value in exchange for them helping you generate publicity for your brand.
Mass messages, mass outbound strategies and marketer-dominated techniques are dead. They no longer influence the customer’s decision making process. The age of the consumer brings new demands. This requires brands to take a one-on-one approach to capture the attention of the discriminating customer. When used strategically, the above tactics can be a powerful way of gaining visibility and creating authentic relationships with consumers who have an increasingly shorter attention span.