Social Media Marketing is Really Just Word of Mouth
That’s it. Nothing fancy. Just word of mouth — just the the most powerful force for affecting consumer attitudes and behaviors. Why is word of mouth so effective? Because:
- we believe (and trust) the recommendations of our “friends” so much this even works with relative strangers on Twitter or in your local retail shop.
- we all want to be liked and feel people will like us more if we do the things they do, like the things they like.
- we prefer to see recommendations from our friends than commercials.
So, how is California Tortilla using word of mouth to put “butts in seats”?
Using social media marketing to make people passionate about their brand. Social media is a conduit for word of mouth communication with their market. And its working. Despite competitors moving within 500 ft of one store, they’re seeing no decline in sales. Currently, the chain is 36 stores with another opening soon and more planned.
- Crazy discounts, contests, and specials announced on social media — most only available through social networks. Discounts like Pop Tart Day and unique contests are giving them national and international exposure from mainstream media — free.
- They over-share on Facebook and Twitter breaking down “the fourth wall” to let customers see what goes on backstage at the company. Marketing Director, Stacey Kane, said it takes about 5 minutes for everyone to know everything about her from her tumor being removed next week to her family. People feel connected and special when they get to know you and see what goes on.
- Give customers a platform to talk about the California Tortilla brand. They make it easy to share coupons, contests, and messages about the brand by including share buttons on everything.
- They involve customers and take their advice. For instance, when introducing their new Vegito, an upscale vegetarian burrito, Facebook fans suggested the name was a little provocative, so they had a contest to vote for an alternative. No-Meato Burrito won and is now the name for this menu item.
- They’re real. Ms. Kane says she makes typos on Facebook every single day — just like the rest of us do. That makes them real. They’re not pre-approved, over-processed PR speak.
- They don’t use interns or a paid agency to communicate with customers in social media. Its important to develop a voice, says Ms. Kane and you can’t do that with a revolving door of interns every 4 months. Instead, she’s the voice of California Tortilla and even franchisees are forbidden to have competing social media marketing sites.
- Keep customers in the loop. When the menu is changing, California Tortilla let’s folks know through social media. When they dropped a popular menu item, they shared why it was being dropped, gave customers a heads up so they could satisfy their craving before the item disappeared, and gave folks to recipe so they could now make it at home.
- They address problems publicly on social media, then privately deal with the problem through email or phone. And response is immediate. If you comment or complain on Facebook or send a Tweet, California Tortilla will respond within 24 hours.
Have you ever visited California Tortilla or are you a fan? What were your experiences like?
How could you incorporate these social media marketing strategies into your business?
Are there other strategies you use? Care to share them with us?