Although word of mouth WOM happens everywhere, there is a clear link between social media and word-of-mouth publicity. The question is how effectively does social media start WOM?

People have always discussed the experiences they have had with brands, services, and products. These discussions are now being held via social media, further contributing to WOM, as social media has a higher, faster and real-time reach when compared to traditional, offline WOM.

With social media, a customer’s opinion or experience with a product or service is no longer limited to one-on-one conversations. Thousands of people can engage in a conversation about a brand, at the same time.

Part of the research before making a purchase is asking for recommendations from friends or communities on social media. A good example here is the Facebook feature, “looking for recommendations”. If a user posts that they are looking for recommendations, their friends will continue the conversation by giving a brand, individual service provider, or seller names.

Influencers on social media further contribute to WOM as they share and communicate with their followers. If they give a positive opinion or experience with a brand, they are going to stir further conversations about the brand.

Let’s look at the beauty industry as an example. Influencers will tag their tailors, makeup artists, and clothing designers. Their followers, who want to look good too are highly likely to engage in conversations about the brands, reach out to the mentioned brands on social media, contact them via calls, and even just visit the brand’s website. […]

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