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With Facebook Comments, WOM Tactics Become More Important

Now that Leo Burnett's ad unit Comments has rolled out brands are taking another look at their online word of mouth marketing strategies with an eye to sharpening their focus. Briefly, the new ad unit poses a question to consumers and then opens the floor for answers. The responses are posted on consumers' feeds for friends to view. It is, in short, an ad unit that formalizes the word of mouth phenomena in the Facebook channel.

If Comments weren’t enough, a recently released study by Google and Keller Fay also delivered a wake up call as to the importance of this strategy. There are more than 2.4 billion conversations about brands every day, the study, ‘Word of Mouth’ says.

"More than half of consumers involved in these conversation say they’re likely to make a purchase based on what they talk about." According to the study, while most people still talk about brands face to face, their conversations are informed by the Internet more than any other media source - and they start with search sites more than any other.

"This is even more true after conversations, especially those sparked by TV. People follow up by searching for more information and prices more than any other online activity including social media."

Two Customer Types

Targeting what is in some cases is a firehose of conversation with relevant content can be difficult, however. In his new book Launch, Michael A. Stelzner pointed to HubSpot as an example of a company focusing its attention on specific types of customers with its content development and social outreach (via Fast Company): Owner Ollie and Marketer Mary. Owner Ollie is a small business owner with fewer than 25 employees. He does most of his company's marketing himself and is curious about inbound marketing, but hasn't made any significant investments. His top priority is generating new leads for his business, according to an excerpt from Launch.

Marketer Mary works as a marketer for a small business, with 26 to 100 employees. She has the support of a marketing team and is familiar with newer inbound marketing techniques. She is looking for sophisticated measurement tools, and has money to spend on her marketing programs.

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