Word of Mouse – The New “Honest”

Word of Mouse – The New “Honest”

We’re living slap bang in the day and time where those ‘share with a friend’ mechanisms at the click of a mouse rule – it just does…

I mean, who would dream about buying a washing machine, booking a hotel or buying a book on Amazon without reading the reviews first? Exactly…

Our tweets, status updates and tagging have made us all the “citizen journalist” of our personal lives and those of others. But what does this mean for the small business owner and the “just about keeping up with it all” medium to large sized companies out there?

Jon Zilber first used this expression in 1991 in MacUser magazine: “You really need to look beyond the mice to decide which product is best for you. And although we sometimes like to feel that we’re the last word on the subject, we encourage you to check out other sources of information about the products you’re interested in; seek out word of mouth to complement word of mouse.”

Nice one Jon…

Since then the expression “word of mouse” has become at least as important as word of mouth. Six years later Steven Levy wrote in Newsweek: “The history of the Internet so far has shown that cyberspace is a bottom-up phenomenon. Trends are passed along by word of mouse — not passed down from summits.”

Ah those summits of old who used to wield their mighty marketing plans and advertising campaigns from ivory towers. I mean, if we didn’t like something, a product, service, whatever; we we’re told ‘write into our complaints department” (like that was going to fix anything).

Nowadays good ole BT have http://twitter.com/btcare  – a bold move methinks, one to be applauded.

Twitter does come with its health warnings however and pastry maker Entenmann’s learned the hard way recently when they inappropriately added the hashtag: #notguilty to a tweet in a bid to boost their popularity in the Twittersphere.
The majority hashtag referred to the sensational Casey Anthony murder case acquittal; whereas (misguidedly) Entenmann’s attempted to cunningly coax follower’s stating: “Who’s #notguilty about eating all the tasty treats they want?!” (Covers face!)
Realising their error the baked goods company promptly retracted the tweet, and posted a series of apologetic messages including: “Sorry everyone, we weren’t trying to reference the trial in our tweet! We should have checked the trending hashtag first!” Despite the retractions, I’m sure Tweeter’s would deem their apparent mistake a #fail or perhaps even an #epicfail!

These “social” platforms allow your potential customers to get to you know and for you to get to know your customers.  Each month billions of people visit social media websites so they’re a great place to setup shop.

A good example of a small business doing very well on Twitter is Woot.com. They are known to have one of the 100 most-followed accounts on Twitter, with over 1.6M followers. Woot offers one product per day until its stock of that item is sold out or the product is replaced at midnight. Think about how you can tweak your business model to appeal to the fast moving, friendly nature of social media.

Are you nervous by the ‘word of mouse’ bottom up phenomenon yet? You should be! (Only kidding)

Because in all honesty (being the keyword here) a lot of companies big and small are worried about the exposure they’ll receive warts and all by getting involved with social media.

The difficulty is that people who love you or hate you will be talking about you anyway, so it’s better to be a part of the conversation or better still, facilitate that conversation into a place of customer care – not customer scare!

So go on dear reader, be brave, be social but above all be honest!

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