Word of Mouth Marketing in the Age of Social Media

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It used to be that an upset customer would tell 10 people over several weeks; now they Tweet 1,000’s from their table. 
Word of mouth marketing has evolved into a mammoth marketing monster. Are you missing out?

It used to be that an upset customer would tell 10 friends over several weeks.  This could then spread past the original 10 friends in an organic fashion over several years until finally the reputation of the restaurant was tarnished enough to warrant improvements or to be ushered out of business.  Today, an upset customer can take a photo, write up a gripe from their mobile phone and Tweet it to thousands or tens of thousands of people instantly.  If compelling enough, these thousands can make a split second decision to forward it to their lists reaching thousands more, forever changing the state of word of mouth marketing.

Some big restaurant chains are taking a wait-n-see approach to social media — and this new realm of word of mouth marketing.  They want to make sure it’s not a fad before jumping in.  Have they lost their minds?  Not only is social media the fastest growing segment of the Internet, it is unquestionably a game-changer that has forever altered marketing and communication.  These chains may not want to get involved in a proactive sense, but you can imagine how fast they will have to scramble to figure it out when the “Perez Hilton” of the restaurant industry sends a scathing Tweet and a photo of one of their employees in uniform picking their nose.  What then?

Word of Mouth Marketing Mishap at McDonald’s

For example, one employee in Australia at a McDonald’s left out one letter.  That small oversight went viral.  Sure, there were cars honking and people laughing passing by the restaurant, but that was small in comparison to the thousands around the world that got a good laugh while drinking their coffee and checking their Twitter feed.

What It All Means

Simply put, Social Media is not an optional endeavor for today’s restaurant company no matter how large or how small.  It’s better to participate in a proactive fashion than see your brand carried away down the mighty river that is Social Media.

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