WOM for Social
1000heads HeadsUp series
To demonstrate that for socially
driven enterprises, WOM is both
efficient and natural fit for the
spreading key messages
To articulate a basic WOM strategy
toolkit for social enterprises.
Image source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Stethoscope.png
WORD OF MOUTH
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WHAT IS A
“A social enterprise is an organization
that applies commercial strategies to
maximize improvements in human and
environmental well-being, rather than
maximizing profits for external
shareholders. Social enterprises can be
structured as a for-profit or non-profit,
and may take the form of a co-
operative, mutual organization, a
disregarded entity, a social business, or
a charity organization.”
Source: Ridley-Duff, R. J. and Bull, M.
(2011) Understanding Social Enterprise: Theory and
Practice, London: Sage Publications.
Marketing for social enterprises is
distinct from traditional marketing
because we‟re selling ideas and
services rather than goods.
Focus must shift from individual benefit
to collective benefit, from brand recall to
brand purpose, from passive
consumption to active participation.
Fortunately, Word of Mouth (WOM) is
ideally placed to support this shift.
Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/suburbanbloke/381634787/sizes/l/
WOM has the capacity to meet the
focus of the extended marketing mix:
people, process, physical evidence (of
Stories are the focal point of social
marketing, both in terms of experience
of services, and in changes to service
delivery, cultural responses, effects on
the environment and opportunities for
Image source: http://www.digitangle.co.uk/blog/7ps-mobile-marketing-went-
HOW TO USE
WOM activities can be broken down
• Listening culture (rather than posting
• Story telling
• Creating contexts for sharing stories
• Using social tools to amplify sharing
• Promotion of network stars
• Tracking of conversations
WHAT IS SHARED
OF SOCIAL MEDIA
Trends in online sharing
What networks we use and how
How to mobilise audiences to
become active contributors to
Jonah Berger in Contagious identifies
principles to drive people to share:
1. Social currency
5. Practical value
Contagious, Why Things Catch On
Image source: http://mediacause.org/viral-marketing-nonprofits-applying-jonah-
Maslow‟s Hierarchy of Needs has been
Don‟t use it. Ever. No really.
However, there are studies that have
identified why people share content,
such as the NYT Psychology of Sharing
* People still believe it, but it has not basis in science.
See for instance, this article.
Why do people share online?
To bring valuable and entertaining content to one another.
A significant 94% of respondents carefully consider how the information they share
will be of use to other people
To define themselves to others.
68% of respondents said they share to give others a better sense of who they are
and what they care about.
To grow and nourish our relationships.
78% of respondents said they share information online because it enables them to
stay connected to people they may not otherwise stay in touch with
69% said they share information because it allows them to feel more involved in the
To get the word out about causes they care about.
84% of respondents share because it is a good way to support causes or issues
they care about.
84% of respondents share because it
is a good way to support causes or
issues they care about.
People want to share useful content that
addresses social causes.
You don‟t have to struggle to make
people want to share. It‟s a matter of
making content easily shareable – for
instance, using hashtags.
Image source: http://marketingland.com/mobile-hashtag-survey-finds-users-
Australians are active users of social media
Australian Use of Social Media
CASE STUDIES OF
WOM & SOCIAL
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Some of the best case studies in
government use of WOM are associated
with problem solving and community
engagement on policy development.
The best government social projects are
those that are built around ease of
access to resources.
UK.Gov using tight-knit hacker community to use open
data for new understanding of urban spaces, new
products, growing tech industry
Vancouver has a
„tweet my rubbish
US Govt run a
competition to find
ways to improve
efficiency in govt
In the charities sector, a whole series of
factors affect the catchment areas for
charitable projects, and the primary
driver for the business is fundraising –
an imperative that is hard to support in
period of economic instability.
The best charity WOM strategies are
highly layered, using a range of tools,
reflecting the location of their
Darling of the twitter age, Charity Water makes it easy for
people to raise money by taking away the inhibitors to
becoming involved. They also use recommendation
engines like Outbrain to promote campaigns. They are
highly sophisticated in WOM.
uses video, imagery
supporters to spread
the word on all
Unicef uses powerful
imagery on a range of
platforms to raise
Amnesty NZ used a
calculator to spread the
word on unfair trials
In the non-profit sector, there is more of
a focus on economic activity and proof
of value of activities. As such, the best
case studies of use of WOM in non-
profits is associated with pledges to act,
support and spread messages for
WOM is best facilitated by strong
engagement with the community. This
is a high time investment, but can be
made possible through effective
A collective of coders, business execs and educators set up
a club teaching young children how to program using web-
based Scratch. The programme has helped changed
curriculum in the UK
children in the
UK National Trust
hashtag campaigns for
THE BAD NEWS
Australian social enterprises mimics
corporate sector in being several years
behind the rest of the Western world in
use and understanding of WOM.
This presents an opportunity to stand
out for social enterprises that are
working well online. The best Australian
case studies are thus potentially more
successful than they deserve to be.
Programme still focused primarily on offline WOM.
Negative media publicity impacting on adoption
THE GOOD NEWS
Things are changing. But too much
focus is still being paid to the
technologies rather than the strategy.
Thinking about the way people interact
and share content produces the best
campaigns… even if the outcome is
Activities that are easy
to share, but which still
tap in to the desire to
share will be successful
focus on the
Hopefully not absolutes, but probably still painful
for traditional marketers
WOM is a dynamic act. It doesn‟t sit on a website.
A website might become the focal point of a
campaign but the actual WOM doesn‟t happen
there. Optimise for mobile, social, local comms
Continuing on the notion of finding your audiences,
it‟s best to use the platform where they feel
comfortable. Don‟t force them to a place they
don‟t want to go.
WOM is reciprocal. To ensure the continuing
development of a community, it‟s vital to ensure
that you thank people for contributions on the
channel they are shared.
WOM TOOLKIT FOR
Not a checklist
The best listening strategies will be
focused on passion groups, not by
mentions of a brand.
There are listening tools out there, but a
subscription to an insights service will
provide the best kind of social command
centre for accessing audiences in a
timely and engaging manner.
Thought leadership is great. But you
need to listen before you start creating a
response to what is being said.
Image source: http://sapountz.is/2012/02/so-you-want-to-build-a-social-media-
Google Hangout is your friend. Stories
can easily be captured in live hangouts
with inspiring individuals and these
videos can then be uploaded to
YouTube following the session.
But stories can also be made from
engagements in other channels (eg:
Storify) and from basic email exchanges
with people who are providing help, as
well as people who are recipients of
Stories are the engine of WOM.
Image source: http://vator.tv/news/2011-07-01-facebook-striking-back-at-google-with-
Don‟t assume that your monitoring of
mentions, brands and keywords is
sufficient. A series of tools exist to help
you find words being used on social
media platforms: use them to find new
audiences and access different passion
YouTube keyword search
Hashtags keyword search
Facebook graph search
What‟s my SERP?
Social enterprises need to trust
in the stories that can be told be
recipients of services, and
make them accessible and
shareable. Then investment in
conversations around those
languages generates true value
for social businesses.
Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/96383944@N08/10113988426/sizes/o/
To demonstrate that for socially driven
enterprises, WOM is both efficient and
natural fit for the spreading key
To articulate a basic WOM strategy
toolkit for social enterprises.
Any questions, let me know!
Joanne Jacobs, COO
t: +61 2 9251 0492
m: 0419 131 077
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