Considered to be the oldest and most trusted form of advertising, word-of-mouth marketing still continues to lead even in the digital age. Before you had newspaper ads, billboards or radio commercials, consumers shared their experiences with products or services they had through conversations. Today with social media, word-of-mouth marketing has become even more important.

Word-of-mouth marketing in the past was essentially a, one-on-one conversation. If you knew someone that was in need of a specific product or service you would offer them a product or service you previously experienced. That was how word-of-mouth marketing worked, nowadays it is more complex. Consumers control the image of your brand, they have the virtual landscape and can control the digital footprint where their opinion good or bad can be showcased to a much larger audience.

Let me ask this…What do you think digital word-of-mouth marketing is? If you guessed Social Media then you nailed it. Social Media gave a voice to consumers, it helped consumers take control of brands and how businesses would communicate their message. Businesses need to understand the power consumers posses on social media and the influence they have when it comes down to their buying decision.

Why would a business find digital word-of-mouth marketing important? For many reasons, social media is a goldmine of information to explore for businesses. Opinions, likes, dislikes, trends or emotions—all that information is accessible to them and with that they will know who their target market is. Sounds a little bit like exploitation right, well it is! Ten years ago, this kind of consumer insight would not only be far most costly to obtain, it would almost assuredly be gathered using tired market research techniques.These techniques wouldn’t offer the same truthful transparency of naturally occurring word-of-mouth.

In terms of value, businesses have an unhealthy obsession with certain statistics when it comes to defining success. And while clicks, click-through-rates and impressions are still relevant today, as time goes on they will become progressively less important when it comes the the health of campaign. You can be at the top of Google showcasing your brand however whatever the consumers experience with your brand was, will make or break the outcome and that is something that has more value for a business to cap on.

So what happens when your business experiences some harsh feedback from consumers, do you investigate? Engage? The answer is always YES. Whether you have negative or positive responses consumers are expressing about your brand always make sure to engage with your consumers as it will build trust, further the engagement and continue to build a following.

Social media is a very powerful outlet, and with great power comes with great responsibility. At the end of the day businesses need to engage with their audience …digital word-of mouth marketing is the future–it is constantly evolving… stay in the presence in the digital age.