Social Media Marketing: The New Word of Mouth Marketing?

social media marketing
Word of mouth

Is social media marketing a new form of word of mouth marketing? There are many arguments on this issue, but to me, social media marketing IS indeed a new, powerful form word of mouth marketing. Read on to discover more…

Word of mouth marketing, in essence, is marketing done by communicating and passing the information from one person to another.

Word of mouth marketing is – by far – the most effective marketing method because the marketing is done by users and customers who are willing to “stake” their personal reputations to “promote” something they believe very useful and interesting to their network of friends, colleagues and family members while expecting nothing in return from the brand they suggest.

Just like a perfect match made in heaven, people nowadays trust customer recommendations and testimonials more than ever. With the Internet, everything is accelerated – for better or worse. More on this later – read on…

Allegedly a new revolutionary form of word of mouth marketing, social media marketing buzz a brand, product or service all over the social media – pretty much similar to the concept of word of mouth marketing. In fact, social media has transformed word of mouth marketing into something that is more spectacular in term of reach.

How word of mouth marketing rocks

Here’s how word of mouth is amazing – according to Nielsen Global Trust in Advertising survey commissioned in 2007, 78 percent of people trust consumer recommendations. McKinsey and Co. estimates that two-third of the economy is now influenced by personal recommendations. The Internet and social media are even driving more buzz, magnifying the effect of word of mouth marketing.

To give you more idea on how social media has changed word of mouth marketing, check out this presentation from SlideShare presented by dp dialogue:

How social media marketing impact your business brands

From the SlideShare, there are two major examples that contrast what to do and what not to do with social media – the case of AOL and Dell.

Here’s the bad case: AOL

The issue: AOL‘s customer service people make it difficult for customers to cancel their account. The rants have been published in blogs, forums, YouTube, and such. The results: The story is picked up by big network, such as The NBC Today show – in effect, 800,000 more people cancel their AOL accounts and the AOL needs to pay $1.25 million in fines to the state of New York.

Ouch. They wish they should listened and followed up to the buzz.

Here’s the good case: Dell

The issue: Dell receive complaints from an authoritative blogger. What Dell does: Dell engages the blogger and the social media, as well as monitoring 1,500 blogs a day and talks with a lot of people. The influential blogger convinced and told everyone about the great customer service from Dell. The result: Complaints fall by 16 percent in the first 6 months.

Here’s one more example of word of mouth marketing success story…

FanBridge is a 5-year-old company that helps brands manage their fans in socialsphere. They manage 100,000 brands, and many of them are A-list celebrities and musicians. Here’s probably their biggest achievement: Landing the ultimate celebrity, Lady Gaga. The seconds Lady Gaga launches her promotions via FanBridge, there are hundreds of thousands people visiting the site.

As reported by the SFGate, the success of FanBridge comes from a marketing strategy: Word of mouth marketing. Great services buzzed by A-listers; as people listen to A-listers, the impact is powerful.

A conclusion: Do social media marketing – or else…

…you are losing the huge opportunities of buzzing your business brand to a lot of people with the help of your fans, clients and customers – those who will buzz both of your good and bad products and services to their network of friends; those who put their reputations on the line by consciously promoting your brand without receiving anything in return.

However, no worries – it’s not too late; the social media is still growing well and grabbing your piece in the social marketing pie is not that difficult as you think. Do-It-Yourself or partner with a social media marketing specialist would do your business good.

Ivan Widjaya
Social media and word of mouth marketing

Ivan Widjaya

Ivan Widjaya is the Owner/Editor of, as well as several other blogs. He is a business blogger, web publisher and content marketer for SMEs.