When I got into work, I sent out a simple tweet, for no other reason than that it was on my mind:
"I would really like a pair of @Crocs right now." I said (or tweeted)
Within five minutes I received a reply from @Crocs that blew mind.
"@jonjorgenson our social media team just was you in Mamma Mia. Great job." The tweet included a picture of our stage from where they were sitting.
What?! What kind of a coincidence is that? I had to reply, and I did. We ended up going back and forth for the next 15 minutes or so, and before I knew it I was sending an email to one of the Crocs employees telling her where to send my free pair of shoes. Not only were they sending me a free pair, but they were customizing them for me, Mamma Mia style, and they were sending along fifty half-off coupons for me to share with the entire cast! A week later, my shoes arrived in the mail, I had a great story to tell, and Crocs had a customer for life.
In the Twitter, Facebook, Instagram economy, word of mouth marketing is more valuable than ever. If you can get people talking about your brand or company or project, then not only do they tell their family and friends about it, but they tweet it out to all their online friends (aka followers) as well.
Many companies and organizations believe the key to word of mouth is creating wild, crazy, provocative, and often times controversial content surrounding their brand. While this may work from time to time, I don't believe it's nearly as effective as giving someone a great story to tell, especially when the customer themselves is a part of that story.
A provocative advertisement may drive clicks and comments and may garner the attention of lots of bloggers, but it probably won't go very far in gaining actual customers and true fans. People may skim through a controversial article on their morning commute, but they become engrossed when a spouse or friend tells a personal story about their positive (or negative) experience with a brand.
This is why companies like TOMS shoes have grown so fast. For each pair of shoes TOMS sells, they give a second pair to a child in need. With each pair sold, TOMS invites that customer to be part of a story that is bigger than themselves. It’s a story their customers can get excited about. And you better believe those customers turn around to tell their story to anyone who will listen.
Crocs could have easily let our little Twitter conversation stop with a funny coincidence, not to mention they could have no responded altogether, but they saw an opportunity to make me a part of a story surround their brand, and they seized it.
Garnering positive word of mouth for your business, project, or brand is just that simple. Give your audience a story that they find themselves a part of.