“Winning friends begins with friendliness.”
—Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People
We had a great time meeting new people and catching up with old friends at the International Pool and Spa Expo this month. Were you there?
Catching up, we learned a lot about what our members have been up to this year and what they have planned for the next.
One big trend: social media marketing.
The value of sharing with friends certainly isn’t a new concept — Dale Carnegie’s emphasis on the importance of building and maintaining friendships has kept How to Win Friends and Influence People a business classic for decades precisely because it’s a strategy that works.
Just a few years ago, social media sharing was not a big part of the budget for many small businesses. Way back in 2012, when we shared some tips on improving your word-of-mouth marketing strategy, we learned that while the majority of consumers were using the internet to look up info on businesses, only a quarter or so were really using online reviews to research local businesses.
When you look at how the numbers have changed since then, the results can be surprising. For example: in one 2011 study, researchers found that “91 percent of respondents' information about brands came as a result of face-to-face conversations or over the phone” while “just seven percent of word-of-mouth conversations about brands occur[red] online.” Today, those numbers have shifted considerably: a recent look found that "89% of consumers believe that customer testimonials are the most effective content with 70% reviewing online customer reviews first when they consider a brand.”
So what inspires people share reviews and testimonials? And how can you get your customers to recommend you to their friends?
- Help them connect with their friends and family. The NYTimes' in-depth look at the psychology of sharing found that building relationships is the reason why 78% of people share online. Their study suggested one tactic to reach these people: "Appeal to consumers’ motivation to connect with each other — not just with your brand.” How? You can help your customers share with their friends and families by giving them easy-to-share videos—for example, you could record a quick video of their children jumping into their new pool for the first time.
- Boost their mood. “Sharing our thoughts, it turns out, activates the brain’s reward system.” Ten years after Facebook began, 556 million people use it daily, making it now a normal and easy for your customers to share their thoughts and opinions. What are people sharing? One study found that a quarter like to share personal recommendations and nearly half like to share information on products. As one tip suggests: “Tell, don’t sell.” Creating a memorable experience gives your customer a great story to tell their friends, one that they’ll enjoy sharing.
- Remember to respond. The Psychology of Sharing points out that listening and responding are key steps. This is where many companies lose their customers’ attention. You need to keep up with what your customers are sharing, both to keep aware of what is being said about you and to make sure that your customers know their feedback really is important to you.
Are you connecting with your customers online? If you’re looking to improve your customer referrals, check out our tips on how to get noticed and build great personal relationships with your customers.