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Referral based marketing with a social twist

November 6, 2014

Like iconIn the age of Angie’s List, Trip Advisor, Yelp and the ubiquitous “Like” icon, referral marketing has taken on new meaning. Twenty years ago marketers might have had a couple of go-to clients willing to serve as a reference and or possibly a catalog of case studies, but that is no longer enough.

Third party websites and services now provide commentary on virtually every imaginable business. Marketers need to recognize the importance of these websites and online communities to establish a presence and monitor them. I have previously touched upon why and how to do this in my post, The Fundamentals of a Social Media Listening Campaign.

The recent issue surrounding Apple’s iPhone6 Plus is a timely reminder why this is important. Referred to as “bend-gate”, after Apple’s new larger iPhone was shown to develop a slight bend after some customers purchased the product and carried it in their front pocket. The term actually started to trend on popular social media sites like Twitter. Apple quickly addressed the issue to ensure that the reputation of the new iPhone and the firm wasn’t compromised but more importantly / impressively, a chorus of customers also joined the conversation on these online communities.

Apple’s legion of fans in part stems from the fact that their customers feel a connection to the company. That connection is maintained (in part) through these online communities and websites. No matter what your line of business and regardless of whether you are a B-2-C or B-2-B marketer there are communities out there where your customers are congregating. Marketers need to understand how to interact with these groups and to leverage them in this new age of referral marketing because this is one instance where silence is not golden and unmonitored chatter is playing with fire.

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