Today online presence governs consumer behaviour, which explains why the concept of word of mouth has evolved into a more dynamic and influential form known as electronic word of mouth (eWOM). Businesses are increasingly acknowledging the compelling nature of eWOM, making it a cornerstone of modern marketing strategy. In this article we will provide you with a deeper understanding of eWOM and actionable insights to leverage it effectively.
What is the Electronic Word of Mouth (eWOM)?
- Electronic word of mouth (eWOM) refers to the spreading opinions about products, services, or brands online. Unlike traditional word of mouth (WOM), eWOM is not limited to face-to-face interactions. It thrives on digital platforms - social media channels, review websites, and forums, providing a much broader reach and lasting impact.
Over 93% of customers read reviews when they shop online. In fact, today 96% of customers specifically look for negative reviews which shows the importance of balanced, authentic feedback. This figure was 85% back in 2018.
eWOM vs. Traditional WOM: Where’s the Difference?Traditional WOM and eWOM are similar in that they both focus on consumer experiences and recommendations. However, eWOM transcends the limitations of traditional WOM in several key aspects:
- Audience Reach: eWOM can potentially reach a global audience, while traditional WOM is restricted to a local or community-based circle.
- Longevity: Unlike WOM, which may fade over time, eWOM can have a lasting impact because it is digital.
- Measurability: eWOM is quantifiable through metrics like reviews, star ratings, and social media engagement, providing invaluable data for businesses.
Channels of eWOMeWOM manifests in various formats and across multiple platforms, each serving as a key touchpoint between consumers and businesses:
Online Reviews49% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Online reviews not only shape consumer perception but also offer businesses a channel to engage with their audience.
Social Media RecommendationsRecent 2023 data highlights that reviews shared on social platforms considerably boost conversion rates - 5.3 times higher for LinkedIn, 8.4 times higher for Twitter, and 40 times higher for Facebook.
RatingsStar ratings are a quick and impactful form of eWOM. A minimal 0.1-star rating increase can ramp up conversion rates by 25%.
Images and video reviews offer a more visceral experience of what a brand represents. 93% of marketers agree that consumers trust content created by customers more than content created by brands, this signals that UGC in reviews is a powerful way for businesses to level up their trust score.
Managing eWOM Marketing EffectivelyThe influence of eWOM goes beyond customer acquisition, and includes retention and brand loyalty. Here are the key steps for managing your business’s eWOM effectively:
1. Sentiment AnalysisClosely monitor and identify trends in customer feedback to continuously enhance your offerings. Reputation management softwares like PinMeTo can streamline this process across multiple locations.
2. Active EngagementProvide quick and appropriate responses to reviews and social media mentions that contribute positively to eWOM. Answer to both negative and positive interactions to show that your brand cares and acts upon feedback.
3. Community BuildingInvest in community engagement activities that align with your brand's values. Real-world events and social responsibility initiatives can significantly boost your eWOM footprint.
To Sum Up
The electronic word of mouth offers businesses a strategic advantage by bridging the gap between online searches and real-world purchases. By understanding how it works and integrates into the consumer decision-making process, businesses can position themselves for sustainable growth and competitive advantage.
Lily Adamyan, September 21