How Powerful is Your Word of Mouth?

by Sandra Hart on May 20, 2013 · 0 comments

group 3 (276x183)Recently something happened which had never happened before in history, it lasted for less than 5 minutes but it caused the loss of over $200 billion on the Dow Jones Index. What was it?

It was a rogue tweet….a hoax, now a hoax tweet in itself would not be a first, however the profound effect it had on the stock exchange was.  What actually happened was that The Associated Press twitter account had been hacked and a tweet was sent saying something which was completely untrue.  

There were three things that this tweet contained which meant that it had such an intense effect on the stock exchange, and (while I am in no way condoning the hacking of twitter accounts or this abuse of word of mouth) there are lessons to be learned from this for your business.

The first thing that the tweet had was:

1. Reach

The Associated Press twitter account had over two million followers, the tweet was retweeted nearly 2,000 times in less than five minutes, those tweets were in turn retweeted. What is the reach of your word of mouth? I am not necessarily talking about twitter or in fact online platforms at all, how many people are regularly talking to others about your business and how many of them are well connected to your target market?

2. Influence

The second thing that the tweet has was influence, if the tweet had come from some random person with a pseudonym (even if they did have a large following,) it would not have had any influence, it would not have been taken seriously. The Associated press is very influential as they are linked intrinsically with the releasing of stories for press and media will look to them for authentic stories. Do the people who carry your word of mouth have reach and influence with your target market?

3. Timing

The third thing which made this tweet powerful was the timing, it was timed to have the most impact. When are people talking about your business? Is their timing right to have any effect on your potential customers? Are they talking to the right people at the right time? Are they talking to your target market at a time that they are looking for a suitable supplier for your product or service?

Word of mouth is very powerful for getting your message out, so think about your word of mouth strategy with these topics in mind, are you ensuring that your word of mouth is carried by people with reach and influence who are able to recommend your product or service to your target market at the right time?

Sandra Hart
Sandra Hart runs BNI, Irelands leading business referral organisation, she trains and mentors members and leads a team who enable local business people to find new clients and generate new business. She is an expert on the topics of networking, word of mouth marketing and referrals.

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