The oldest and most basic form of marketing is also the most powerful: word of mouth conversations. Although today’s advanced tools offer a variety of data and endless ways to connect with college students, it is more important to get involved in conversations. Word of mouth is still the most trusted source of information regarding brands and purchase influencers. According to Nielsen, 84% of consumers reported trusting recommendations from influencers, friends, family members. Here are some tips on how to get your brand in on trustworthy, person-to-person messaging.
- Understand the value of offline networks
What happens online is often just a reflection of what is happening offline, where real influencers are sharing information, showcasing products, and offering advice. College students are involved in a ton of offline networks: from their classmates, their club organizations and more. These interactions are often ignored because they are harder to measure and report on. However, these networks are often more influential than what is viewed online: group or one-on-one interactions about brands can spur more first-time and frequent purchases.
- Incorporate online and offline influencers
Online influencers who post on social media can certainly create buzz about a certain brand or product. However, to keep the conversation going offline, consider mixing in offline ambassadors. Brands can leverage the power of word of mouth by including offline influencers and brand ambassadors. They classify as students who have impact and strong personal networks in the college community, but do not necessarily have huge social followings or name recognitions.
- Set your own measurement system for word of mouth
By rating the value of a relationship with a customer by size of social circle, expertise, authority, impact and more, a brand can develop their own measurement system. Human connections and building relationships can be difficult to quantify, but they are essential to expand your reach and grab the attention of college students.