Smart businesses keep their customers happy, but the smartest businesses leverage their existing happy customers to acquire new ones. The most effective way to accomplish this is through word of mouth, which has been shown to be one of the most powerful tools for influencing consumer purchase decisions. Enter social media.
Social media networks have become massive amplifiers for word of mouth, which is great news for businesses that provide opportunities for their customers to speak highly of them. Whether it’s an engaging Facebook post, a well-timed tweet, or a request for a LinkedIn recommendation or introduction, businesses large and small can leverage social media to drive revenue.
Let’s start with Facebook, the world’s largest social network. Facebook offers companies the opportunity to develop their presence using business pages, on which content (copy and images) can be customized to reflect the elements that make each business unique and likeable. Businesses can then invite their customers, friends, and prospects to “like” their pages, effectively creating an army of fans who have “vouched” for the brand.
Once a business has established its audience on Facebook, it should post authentic, engaging content to prompt genuine conversations with its fans. Taking this engagement a step further, business owners and marketing managers should feel empowered to invite their fans to refer their friends via prompts on their brand’s Facebook page. If a brand is likeable, why wouldn’t its fans want to spread the word?
One great way to encourage referrals is by creating rewards or promotions for fans who participate. Perhaps a free dental cleaning in exchange for a referral, or an entry into a raffle for a neat gadget in exchange for every peer’s email address a fan provides. The referral itself doesn’t need to occur on social media, but Facebook is a perfect forum for the call-to-action!
Tweeting at customers and giving them reasons to retweet to their friends is also an effective way to drive referrals. Use promotions or prizes to collect the twitter handles of your customers’ most promising connections. Since Twitter offers such a frictionless way to connect with people, and people love to grow their followings, be sure to follow your prospects and favorite their best tweets.
If your business is relationship-based, there’s perhaps no better way to drive social referrals than by leveraging LinkedIn’s recommendation and introduction features. A heartfelt recommendation from a current client on your personal LinkedIn page or your company’s page will be an enduring testament to the quality of your product or service. If you’ve been prospecting on LinkedIn, don’t be afraid to message a mutual connection asking for a digital introduction to a seemingly valuable connection, especially if the mutual connection is a current client.
By using social platforms strategically and consistently, business large and small can drive referrals! Remember to surprise and delight your customers, which will motivate them to sing your praises from the top of a mountain (or the news feed).
At Likeable Local, we like to create referral programs for our customers with custom mobile referral website. You can learn more about our program here!
What is your favorite way to drive referrals on social media? Comment below with your ideas!