Nowadays we are all surrounded by technology: internet, Wi-Fi, computers, cameras, video game consoles and smartphones. For B2B or B2C companies, being present on some of those new media is a key point, if not the most important. If you look around you, both inside and outside your job, you will see and realize that we are all connected at any time of the day or night. Okay. But what are we looking for? What do we watch? Why do we need to watch? What topics, people or brands do tease, attract or keep our attention? What makes our researches, affinities, needs, likes but also reviews and comments which will fuel word-of-mouth, something daily?
What could be responsible for our behavior and curiosity?
Advertising and Word-Of-Mouth: Had been and still will be
Let’s start by doing a quick flashback. If we go back to the 1980s and even the 1990s, the biggest and most of the time chosen way to communicate by a lot of brands and thus most of the companies, was advertising. At this time, billboards and radio ads were very widespread; TV commercials as well. Then increased to become invasive. This was what we call today traditional marketing.(1) Yet it did not prevent people from exchanging and talking about what they had seen, heard, liked or disliked. This was word-of-mouth. I think that this way to communicate about something has always existed and still will. Advertising was the most common way to let people know about your brand, your company and of course what you do, your products and services.(1) Reputation started to be the main focus. Brands wanted to be visible and seen by people, thus people could talk about these brands, their products, by giving reviews to other people about what they like, what they recommend or not on this or that. Positive or negative, word-of-mouth was spread by customers to their families, friends, new customers or prospects. The fact was that most of the companies were not always aware of those comments, directly. But this was going to change.
Electronic Word-Of-Mouth: How to reach the brands
Nowadays, because social media exist, we can all reach the companies and brands by different ways and with different goals. Some want to alert them about an issue, some have positive or negative comments and reviews and some want to interact with the brands. Regarding the new social media platforms which emerged in the beginning of the 2000s, anybody, people or company, can find the right one which will fit its needs. The most used and reliable are LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.(2) Reliable, yes, but for what? One response: for notoriety and reputation. Today, the companies and brands are focused on their notoriety and reputation. Whether you are a customer, a prospect or just someone who is curious to know a product, you, we have the power to increase or minimize the reputation of a brand or companies by challenging their notoriety.
We all know the different uses of those social media platforms: LinkedIn is for professional use, Facebook is more for friendly use, Twitter for sharing instant news and YouTube, for videos. Yes, but to be only on one of those platforms is maybe not the best strategy. Why? The more you will be present on them, the best your notoriety will be viewed. Just by being connected, we are able to reach the brands directly, by sending a message, or do a post with hashtags. Through them, our devices are becoming the new advertising supports. But most important, we communicate and also say what we like or not, give reviews, write comments, launch discussions on this or that. This is electronic word-of-mouth. In this virtual world, brands are watched, sometimes spied and their reputations are challenged or enhanced in a positive or negative manner. Viewers, you and me, have more power than before and companies understood this. Every day, reviews and comments are posted about products, brands and companies. But how does notoriety and reputation started? Who built them? How are they promoted? The source starts inside the company.
Employees: Notoriety and reputation within the company
Them, you, me, we all participate in building, shaping and spreading the notoriety and reputation of our brands and companies. In our daily job, most employers do everything to make our working conditions the best, so we feel comfortable and happy to work for their companies. But do not forget that the employees shape the notoriety and the reputation, they are the first bricks of those important elements.(3)
Ok. But using those social media platforms is not easy for everyone, we can face some lack of knowledge or a misunderstanding about the way to use them. This can be the job of the employers, to train their employees in order to give them the right bases to communicate internally but also, and especially, externally. Now, we have everything to build and spread the notoriety of brands and companies to customers, prospects, partners, distributors and more! And these people can help us as well in this task. Every day, comments and reviews are published and posted in thousands of conversations, whether they are positive or negative. Reputation hangs on to a thread, in few seconds, angry employees, customers or partners can destroy and crash it just by sharing their experiences on social media with millions of people. Thus, a wave of comments can overwhelm the brands. What we know is that if a reputation of a company or a brand, so its notoriety, can be destroy very quick, the opposite is also possible, fortunately.(3) There are happy employees, customers and partners who communicate and promote professionally how they feel and their good relations through social media to reach their family, friends, coworkers, people they don’t know and even their employer directly.
To close this article, we can conclude by saying that this is what notoriety and reputation are made of: discussions, comments and reviews. Simply with word-of-mouth.
(1) Adding Social Media to the Marketing Mix, Guillermo Armelini and Julian Villanueva, 2011
(2) “ What are the most important social media platforms for business? “ https://www.businessesgrow.com/2015/06/01/best-social-media-platforms/
(3) Analysis of content creation in social media, Lauri Huotari, Pauliina Ulkuniemi, Saila Saraniemi and Minna Mäläskä, 2015