I finally tried out Pinterest and it assured me of two very important things. 1) I have an incredible sense of style, and 2) consumers will trust a stranger much more than they will a business. Let’s rewind a little. Pinterest is a site that lets you collect all the things you love and organize them in one place under themes of your choosing. I pulled together several home décor items I’ve been coveting online and in minutes could see my kitchen and family room coming together. I was thrilled when strangers appeared out of nowhere to Like, Comment on and Repin many of the items I found. Much to my husband’s dismay I now have an army of online strangers that agree with my choice of yellow plates. I had stared at these items online for weeks, but it wasn’t until a horde of strangers told me they loved my choices that I decided to pull out the credit card.
Consumers don’t trust businesses because they don’t have to anymore. Instead they turn to friends and strangers on Social Media to get the real scoop. It’s completely changed the way businesses should market to their audience. You need your customers and fans to talk to strangers about your business and create a spotlight on your brand. This happens when businesses spark a conversation and then promptly hand over the reins to their followers. Your marketing is much more powerful when it comes from a customer or stranger, rather than your business itself. We trust the picture of a restaurant’s food that someone posted on Foodspotting more than the description listed on the restaurant’s website. We’re more likely to visit the mechanic that’s been visited by hundreds of people on Foursquare than the one who promotes an oil change deal on Facebook week after week.
People will trust what strangers have to say about your brand, but you have to give strangers encouragement to post photos of your products and talk about your services. Here are a few ways to get started:
- Take the sales pressure off your Followers! If all your posts start with “Buy this…” “Check out that…” “Visit this…” then you’re not staying true to your brand. If you talked to a customer that way in real life, they’d be out the door as quick as possible. Social Media is no different. Use interesting posts that are
relevant to your brand without continuously trying to sell your brand. This is much more fun for followers and allows them to let their guard down and get to know you a little better.
- Use contests to encourage fans to talk about your brand, post pictures of your products, and share them with strangers. Modcloth is promoting a wedding themed Pinterest Contest to encourage fans to create collages inspired by the Modcloth brand. They are cross-promoting the contest with #wedding and #Modcloth hashtags and Facebook posts. It’s a perfect combination of giving your current fans an opportunity to become brand ambassadors while spreading the word to strangers like wildfire on multiple social networks.
- Let people know about your Social Media Pages! This may sound obvious, but you’d surprised at how many people do not have all their Social Media icons listed on their website, forget to add them to their business cards and never mention them to anyone who steps foot inside their business. If the people who already love your business don’t know you’re online, how can you expect them to turn strangers into customers?
Strangers are the key to promoting your business online. Whether you like it or not, your future customers don’t trust your business as much as they trust strangers. The best way to foster word-of-mouth is to create outlets for people to talk about your brand. Give the reins to your followers, but point them in the right direction with interesting posts, occasional contests, and continuous interaction. What they have to say about your brand is much more powerful than anything you could post about yourself.