Your CEO is like an asteroid. Once upon a time, he or she could hurtle towards the earth, and when they landed, they made an impact. PR people could get them in the papers, on TV, and practically everywhere. And people listened.
But now that we have the Internet, our world has been protected by an atmospheric layer. Unless your CEO says something earth-shattering, their voice burns up in the sky.
Getting people to recommend you by word of mouth is much better than issuing a press release. It’s natural. Unscripted. Organic. From real people.
Reviews and Word-of-Mouth Are Where It’s At!
Think about the last time you booked a vacation. Did you do it online? The online travel industry would be powerless without customer reviews. I’m sure you’d trust most of the people who review hotels. They’ll complain about being overcharged for the minibar. They’ll let you know if there’s lice in the linen. Wherever we go, we trust the opinions of impartial human beings a lot more than we’d trust the sales copy.
It’s only natural, really. Because they’ve got no hidden agenda.
How Do You Make Customers Swoon Over You?
So you’d love people to be singing your praises. You’d love people to tweet messages of love about you over the Internet. You’d like your company to be really really popular. So how do you do that? Here are a few tips:
1. Awesome Customer Service
This is the heart of any great company. I could tell you about my friend who bought business cards from moo.com. He was given a free voucher for some more business cards, when he realized he’d put the wrong phone number on the front.
Similarly, my sister dropped her iPhone down the toilet. Then she went to the Apple store, where the manager took pity on her, and gave her a new one.
Okay, giving things out may get expensive. But if you’ve treated somebody really well, he or she will have lots of goodwill. They’ll tell the story to their buddies. They’ll put it on Facebook and Twitter. They’ll remember.
2. Outreaching to Influential People (Bloggers)
Some people have more influence than others. Bloggers are one of those groups. They can amass gargantuan audiences and bring a lot of goodwill. This is why big brands like confused.com are reaching out to them. Recently, the price comparison site had a competition for bloggers to celebrate Shrove Tuesday, a.k.a. Pancake Day. The blogger who came up with the most creative pancake was the winner.
By holding such good relationships with bloggers, you can be like confused.com and get a lot of very positive coverage at a very low cost.
3. Listen to People’s Reviews
Reviews drive people’s decision-making. If someone’s been there, done that, and tried it out, then they know what they’re talking about.
Now, you may get some negative reviews from time to time. But don’t worry. Read the comments and see where you can improve your service. Respond to negative comments where possible, so you give them a fair hearing.
4. Track What People Are Saying About You on Social Networks
Social networks are powerful. Often people will take to Twitter or Facebook to express their frustrations or glee with something. You might want to consider using tools like Hootsuite to track what people are saying about your company.
In reality, you shouldn’t really fire your CEO—you probably need him for other purposes. But with word-of-mouth recommendations, you’ll get fantastic PR, low-cost advertising, and great feelings. Your customers are your best spokespeople. Love them!