Word of Mouth Marketing On Social Media

In the age of social media, getting people to talk to each other about your services or
products is an essential part of any marketing program. The best thing that can happen to you is that your content goes “viral.” But how do you get people to spread the word about your business without asking them?

Word of Mouth Marketing (WOM) Defined

WOM marketing is an unpaid form of promotion by satisfied customers. This means that customers find your information or product remarkable enough to promote it for free across their own social media networks. Because they tell their friends, the message is more credible. And you don’t have to pay them to do so.

As downbeat as the term “viral” is, it’s actually a pretty good description of the way WOM works. A single person with a cold who lives in a small town isn’t likely to infect many other people, but a flight attendant with a cold can potentially make a lot more people sniffle for a few days. WOM works the same way, only the “virus” is an idea and the spread is intentional.

Getting the right people to spread your message is important. A person with a limited following won’t push it message very far, but those who are industry experts and have built their social authority can reach other individuals with large followings. You message then permeates out to a much larger audience.

Targeting Your Content

The first step in getting WOM marketing on social media to work for you is to clearly define your target audience. spend some time getting to know what motivates them, and I’m not talking about budget or title. What makes them excited, nervous, intrigued, scared, hopeful and afraid? Find ways to meet your audience face-to-face and get inside their heads a little. You’ll be much better prepared to plant a seed that bears fruit.

What you create has to appeal to a very specific audience, particularly people who have a high degree of influence in your area of business on social media. Start to monitor these profiles on social media and analyze what they share, what they get excited about and what appeals to them. You can then craft your content.

Creating Your Content

Once you know your target audience, you can start to create messages that grab their attention, arousing curiosity or make them laugh out loud. Whether it’s a blog post or series of Tweets or an infographic, it needs to make your target audience tilt their heads in thought, or do a double-take. It should be unexpected, delightful were just bizarre. The point is that it be memorable. That’s what will motivate them to share it with their network, and thus, start to spread your message like wildfire. Remember: think of what they want, not what you want them to want.

Make it Easy to Spread

This involves having the basics down about your content and your platform. Make sure the post has the right tags and sharing buttons, that it’s easy for your audience to find out who created it, and that it displays correctly when people share it. When they do, take the opportunity to engage them in conversation by either thanking them, asking them a follow-on question, or getting their opinion. Keep them engaged and they’re spread your message further.


Word-of-mouth marketing has great potential benefits, including lower costs, greater speed and better credibility, but creating a viral message is incredibly hard to do. It takes a lot of planning, research and listening to those you need to enlist to enable word of mouth, and it takes creativity. But if you can place the right type of content in the hands of the right people in the right way, the effects of WOM marketing can start making the phone ring and clients knocking at your door.

About Paul Gillin

Paul Gillin is a writer, speaker, online marketing consultant and social media coach with Profitecture. Since 2005, he has helped business-to-business marketers at companies of all sizes and in many industries use social media and quality content to reach and engage with customers. He is also a prolific writer who has published more than 200 articles on the subject of new media. His books include: "The New Influencers" (2007), "Secrets of Social Media Marketing" (2008), "The Joy of Geocaching" (2010) and "Social Marketing to the Business Customer" (2011) and "Attack of the Customers" (2013). He has written the monthly New Channels column for BtoB magazine since 2006. Paul is a veteran technology journalist with more than 25 years of editorial leadership experience. His website is gillin.com and he blogs at paulgillin.com and Newspaper Death Watch.