These days, the popularity of a product does not so much depend on advanced advertising, wide audience contact, or celebrity endorsements. What really makes one product more effective than the next is its ability to spread through a giant network of constantly moving, ever-communicating contraptions– human mouths. Word-of-mouth communication trends correlate to the success (or lack of success) of products, companies and brands and this is made possible by the discussion platform that social media provides. Research efforts behind marketing techniques and brand acceptance emphasize the analysis of the relationships “…between consumer posting behavior and marketing variables—such as product price and quality—and explores how these relationships evolve as the Internet and consumer review websites attract more universal acceptance” (1). Put quite simply– consumers are creative, and the ways in which they portray their feelings and opinions about products and brands on social media have proven to be powerful and effective.
Social media marketing has been a significant part of my life abroad. For example, I consult TripAdvisor before making any decision regarding which hotel to stay at, where to eat, or what sights to see in the 2-3 days I spend traveling most weekends. The company’s description of themselves doesn’t do it anymore– I put my trust in the customers. Another way I decide to give the “yay” or “nay” to a restaurant is through Instagram. For example, my friends and I traveled to Budapest this past weekend. We were exhausted after a long day of touring and activities and were craving pizza and pasta. So, we searched for an account called “Budapest eats” or “Budapest food” and found a great-looking Italian restaurant. And there it was– @budapestfoodguide, ready to assist us in our search for the perfect combination of tomato sauce, bread, and cheese 🙂 Most cities I have visited during my time abroad have an Instagram account purely dedicated to showing delicacies from different restaurants in the area.
If there’s a good-quality photo of a dish on Instagram, and the restaurant it is from has a good-quality Instagram page, I have found that these two characteristics often times lead to a good-quality meal. Click here to view the entire Instagram page dedicated to showcasing Budapest’s finest eateries and here to see the pizza photo that grabbed our attention and didn’t let us down.
Just as we learned in class, “word of mouth is necessary and effective.” Without the people, there’s no talk and without the talk there’s a smaller chance that a product can gain the momentum it needs to reach widespread success. As social media continues to become an increasingly popular communication platform, brands and companies need to pay more and more attention to the word on the street (“street” meaning Instagram, Twitter feed, or Trip Advisor site) that surrounds their products.
The video below explains the ways that companies can then utilize word-of-mouth communication in their products’ or brands’ favor:
- Chen, Yubo, Scott Fay, and Qi Wang. “The role of marketing in social media: How online consumer reviews evolve.” Journal of Interactive Marketing 25, no. 2 (2011): 85-94.