One of our dedicated Customer Success Managers, Stefanie Peterson, attended #SocialMediaWeek here in New York. There, she attended several seminars focused on maximizing a businesses return on investment through word of mouth marketing on social media. Her full featured post can be found here on and provides meaningful insight on how businesses can monitor their ROI through word of mouth (WOM) on social. Here is her take on how it affects you, the small business owner.

What is word of mouth (WOM) marketing? WOM is the honest sharing of opinion from one consumer to another, and the decisive stage in the consumer decision process that convinces people to buy your products or services. Studies have gone back as far as the 1960s and WOM is the most powerful form of marketing and rightfully so! Think how powerful it is when a friend who actually uses a product evangelizes or gives his or her endorsement of it. Imagine in your small business that you have 1,000 loyal clients. Now, what happens if even just 100 of those loyal clients tells 5 of their friends who end up using your business. That’s 500 new customers, growing your business by 50%. Trust is a big key to making WOM work for you.

92% of consumers believe in WOM making it the most important form of marketing. On that note, only 6% of businesses feel they are experts in WOM marketing and feel they need “more proof” since its very difficult to measure offline. Even if they may need proof for their own particular brand, WOM is responsible for $6 trillion of consumer spending each year. Your small business is part of this statistic, even if you may not know it!

WOM on average drives 13% of sales where all paid marketing is on average between 20-30%. Two-thirds of WOM is offline and is difficult to measure but can be tied to something that they saw online on social or in an email. Think of how often you talk to a co-worker or family member about an ad or post you saw in your news feed or Tweeted. You need to supplement your WOM marketing with paid ads because it is likely that someone sees a paid ad and talks about it or tells a friend who goes to visit the site.

WOM amplifies the effect of paid media by 15% and had a stronger and more immediate impact on the consumer. It appeared that conversions happened within two weeks of the recommendation, even for higher consideration items. What does this mean for your small businesses? You need to advertise to your loyal fans on social media and engage them by using compelling content. Social media is where conversations are happening between brands and consumers, friends and family, and influencers.

New and smaller brands and businesses have a larger percentage of WOM marketing since they can dedicate the time to cultivating the relationship between the consumer and the brand. Just starting your business? Make sure to work WOM into your marketing plan! Contact our team today to learn more!


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