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September 24, 2012

How to Turn Word of Mouth in Social Media into Sales

By Amanda Ciccatelli, TMCnet Web Editor

Today, brand advocacy is increasingly becoming a go-to marketing strategy. Brand Advocates are highly satisfied customers who recommend companies, products and services without being paid or incented.

In a recent IBM (News - Alert) survey, CMOs across the world said their number one priority is to enhance customer loyalty and encourage satisfied customers to advocate their brands. This type of behavior happens 3.5 billion times every single day, while the average American consumer talks about brands 56 times a week, according to word of mouth research firm Kellerfay.

The majority of recommendations that used to happen almost entirely in person are now happening online. Zuberance, a social media marketing company that focuses on Brand Advocates, helps its customers turn their Brand Advocates into a marketing force.

“Brand Advocates are a company’s best customers because not only are they very loyal, but they actually go out of their way to recommend the company or the product to their business and social networks,” said Rob Fuggetta, founder and CEO of Zuberance, told TMCnet in an exclusive interview.

Zuberance helps companies find Brand Advocates with its unique brand advocate platform, which makes it easy to find satisfied recommenders. Then, Zuberance helps amplify them. Once it finds the advocates, it gives them ways to recommend companies, products or services, and then shares or publishes those recommendations online. Lastly, Zuberance tracks results in real-time through its technology platform. The company also tracks how many recommendations were made, where did they get published, and what was the result of those recommendations.

Image via Shutterstock

For example, VoIP provider Ooma competes in a competitive VoIP category with a highly acclaimed VoIP product. According to Fuggetta, Ooma did not have a lot of money to market its product, so instead of spending money on traditional marketing, Ooma decided to use Word of Mouth Marketing. So far, it has identified over 25,000 Ooma advocates through Zuberance’s system and those advocates have recommended Ooma over 16,000 times, generating 10,000 inquiries and leads.

“The beauty of all this is that Ooma, like our other customers, doesn’t pay its advocates or give them incentives. These are genuine advocates - Ooma customers that really like the products,” explained Fuggetta. “We find them for Ooma and then we help turn them into Ooma’s marketing department. And what a marketing department!”

A variety of companies including telecommunications companies can use Brand Advocacy because every telecom company has people who recommend them in high numbers.

“Companies have this opportunity, but it is just a matter of them systematically and programmatically finding those advocates and then amplifying them. We make it real easy for them,” he said.  

Next week, Fuggetta and Zuberance will be at ITEXPO (News - Alert) West in Austin, Texas to tell people what Brand Advocacy is all about.

Fuggetta will be speaking at a session entitled, “How to Leverage Brand Advocates to Drive Leads, Sales, and Positive Word of Mouth” on Wednesday, October 3rd at 2:30 p.m. Fuggetta will discuss real-world case studies on how companies are building their brands and businesses by turning their Brand Advocates into marketing forces. He will share insights about who Brand Advocates are, what makes them tick, and best practices for engaging these influential consumers.

Another session that Fuggetta will be participating in alongside other industry experts is “Multichannel Communication and the New Customer-Company Relationship: Who Holds the Cards?” on Thursday, October 4th at 1:00 p.m. This session will discuss how to leverage the technologies that allow businesses to efficiently deliver channel-agnostic customer experiences, from social media to mobile to video and more.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO West 2012, taking place Oct. 2-5, in Austin, TX. Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO. Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Jamie Epstein
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