How to Turn Word of Mouth and Social Media into Sales

How to Turn Word of Mouth and Social Media into Sales

Okay, so it sounds a bit contradictory to social media but everyone thinks about this whether they admit it or not; even the purists wonder if it’s possible. This is actually a panel discussion next week in San Francisco where myself, Tony Lee (VP of Marketing, TiVo), Becky Brown (Director of Social Media Strategy, Intel and Rob Fuggetta (Founder/CEO, Zuberance) will be discussing brand advocacy. Anthony Ha, Assistant Editor for VentureBeat will be moderating.

Here are the details if you are interested in attending. It’s free and it should be a lot of fun.

If you follow my blog or know me personally, you know that I talk/write quite often about advocacy and its importance to marketing. And just to clarify, when I talk about advocates, I am not referring to influencers. Some people use them synonymously but there is a huge difference. Take for example the tech industry. Some very influential blogs would include Engadget and Gizmodo. In the startup world, a few influencers that come to mind are Michael Arrington from TechCrunch and Robert Scoble.  Influencer outreach is an excellent tactic to consider when pitching a new story, product leaks, launches and upgrades; events, etc. In other words, it’s good for short term promotional opportunities. It doesn’t really drive long term business value, unless you can turn the infuencers into advocates.

Advocates, on the other hand, may not have as much influence as influencers but they love your brand/product/services nonetheless. Shoot, even if you pay them no attention at all, they still tell others about your brand.  Imagine if you showed them a little love, just a little.  They don’t need to be incentivized or pitched either.  Now, take the aggregate reach of your target influencers and compare it to the aggregate reach of ALL of your brand advocates; and I would argue that the advocate reach blows the other out of the water.

Now let’s talk about trust for a moment. Every year, Edelman releases the Edelman Trust Barometer which measures the level of trust people have in various channels. People trust people.  They don’t trust marketing, PR and advertising. The trust employees (another form of advocacy) and people like themselves.  It’s actually common sense if you think about it.


Bottom line is this.  Customer advocacy should not be ignored; its one reason why President Obama was elected.  Think back to the 2008 Presidential Election. It wasn’t about how many Facebook Fans or Twitter followers Obama had within his social circle. It was his ability (or staff’s ability rather) to empower and mobilize his fans to take action … volunteer, donate and ultimately vote. Same principles apply here with brands.

Come check out the panel next week. It should be a lot of fun!

About Michael Brito

Michael Brito has been making things happen online since 1996 with a legit hustle. He gets mad when the 49ers lose, really mad. Feel free to follow him on Twitter.

  • Samantha T Collier

    Very good article Michael. I agree 100% about showing your advocates love!

  • Worob

    Great post, Michael. You bring up a lot of points that I really haven't considered as much as I should in my client counsel.

    What do you suggest are the best tactics to help empower and mobilize fans of a brand?


    PR at Sunrise

  • Michael Brito

    hey, thanks for the comment. There are a lot of analytics tools (Rowfeeder, Zuberance) that helps find, track and mobilize advocates. SocialTALK also has a tool that you can see who is posting/liking content on your Facebook fan pages.

  • Michael Brito

    thank you Samantha!! : )

  • Mike Pedersen

    I think that's the coolest part of social media is the “advocates” you speak of. My market unfortunately is not doing much in the social networks, but maybe they'll come around. Just found your blog. Congrats on the HIGH ranking for “social media blog” in the Big G :)


  • Teena

    Brilliant, customer advocacy should not ignored.

  • SuttonCompliance

    Great article Michael.
    Advocacy has most definitely played a major part in the evolution of social media.
    Your examples go to show that no matter what industry whether technology or politics various social media platforms have all become forms of influence and power over society.

  • Jonha Revesencio

    Perhaps one of the many reasons why Danny Brown's #12for12 campaign has become so successful is that because it's the “human side of media and social side of marketing” that loves and really, being such a born connector, he knows how to connect and reach to his readers and followers and make them feel his genuine words and he has successfully turn the following into “acting followers” (well following alone is already an act! haha) and beyond the following.