What’s Up With Word-of-Mouth?

The power of word-of-mouth.Every industry is different and in the age of social media platforms galore, it seems there are more ways to be different than ever.

When I first jumped into the CrossFit industry, I had to learn quickly how Boxes went about marketing and gaining new members. Social media and word of mouth were two buzz phrases I since have had stuck in my head.

So, when I opened up the book “Contagious: Why Things Catch On” by Jonah Berger, you can imagine how interested I was in not only learning this art for myself, but also to help those within the CrossFit industry. Why do some things go viral? Why are some posts liked and shared more than others? How can you grow your Twitter and Instagram followings?

However, before I even got into the meat of the book, Berger proceeded to share an astounding fact that I want to focus on. When it comes to the percentage of word-of-mouth that happens online, as in social media, blogs, email and chat rooms, Berger explained that number is only 7 percent.

Seven percent. What?!

Berger pointed out that, “People do spend a good bit of time online. Close to two hours a day by some estimates. But we forget that people also spend a lot of time offline. More than eight times as much, in fact. And that creates a lot more time for offline conversations.”

He noted that we think word-of-mouth online is more impactful only because it’s easier for us to see its results. No one can really see evidence of what talking to members Sally or Johnny does. And with so much posted on various social media platforms, half the time it doesn’t even get read! So, Berger’s statement seems to ring true: “the first issue with all the hype around social media is that people tend to ignore the importance of offline word-of-mouth, even though offline discussions are prevalent, and potentially more impactful than online ones.”

A lot of Affiliates bring up word-of-mouth when I talk to them about marketing, but I think Berger’s nice little fact package helps drive this point home. Yeah, Facebook and Google are great, but don’t forget that your members are probably the most valuable source when it comes to marketing your Box. Ask yourself what the next steps are that you can take in making your message something members want to share with others.

Berger continued on about some great tips for making this same message contagious, but that will have to wait until next week. No one wants to read a blog that’s 1,000 words long!

Heather is the editor for Box Pro Magazine. Contact her at heather@peakemedia.com.