These days, if people are talking about you, it could be a really good thing. Word-of-mouth marketing, which is "any business action that earns a customer recommendation" (Word of Mouth Marketing Association), is critical to the success of most brands – including your association's.
Brian Conlin, a content marketing manager for Cision, recently highlighted "5 Ways to Engage with Word-of-Mouth." I've summarized three of them here.
- Triggers. Trigger marketing is meant to initiate word-of-mouth (WOM). Efforts can include paid media, such as advertising and promotions; branded content like entertaining videos and infographics; and offline activities. One example might be Southwest Airlines' approach to "entertaining" passengers when flights are delayed by having flight attendants engage them in playing funny games.
- Grassroots. Grassroots communication can include letters to the editor of the local paper. It can also involve organizing and motivating volunteers to engage in personal or local outreach. Some examples include monthly contests or challenges that encourage customers to post their photos or comments to an organization's website.
- User-Generated Content. User-generated content (UGC) is content an organization's community supplies. People share photos or other content online, and you retweet or repost it. Consumers trust content from their peers more than any other form of marketing communication. Harnessing UGC's storytelling power can help build brand trust and ultimately a deeper, emotional connection to the brand.
I concur with Conlin’s assertion that “a brand doesn’t have to undertake [every tactic]” and agree with his suggestion that organizations determine which tactics are best for them. One way or another, your association would likely benefit from actively working word-of-mouth marketing opportunities.