Social Media Study:”Word of Keyboard” is the new “Word of Mouth”


If you reside in Morgantown, WV, like the offices of BlaineTurner Advertising, you know what the Book Exchange is and where it is located. For those of you who do not know, it is a textbook outlet that also offers great West Virginia University memorabilia. When the end of the semester rolls around, students are in a mad frenzy to sell their textbooks to the source that offers them the most cash. The Book Exchange takes a slightly different approach. While already possessing convenience and familiarity factors, it has also offered students additional gift cards if they sold their books back to them. The catch? These students had to tweet about it. Over my three years at WVU, I could not count on two hands and two feet how many of these tweets I have seen. Students will like what their friends like and do what their friends do. Word of mouth from friends and family is the most powerful form of information sharing. I go to the Book Exchange to sell my books for that reason. While this action satisfies their student customers, it also creates brand loyalty. It really does not matter if the card is worth $5 or $20. The fact that the Book Exchange is giving you a gift card for selling your books back, something you would have done anyway, is good enough in the minds of WVU students.

The Book Exchange is a local example of utilizing your social media opportunities. Nationally, it gets even more important. The more consumers that follow or like your company’s page, the more feedback you are going to receive when things go right and wrong. Taco Bell experienced this last week when a photograph of a Taco Bell worker licking a stack of taco shells surfaced to the Internet. While Taco Bell is among the best in the social media business, the picture spread like wildfire creating customer uproar. Unfortunately, this comes with the territory of running a business, whether you are local or national. Taco Bell fired this employee and continued to flood its social media sites with its usual content as if nothing happened. If you visit Taco Bell’s twitter account today, you will find clever tweets and retweets of consumers’ love for Taco Bell’s cheesy, beefy products. The Dorito’s Locos tacos were, and continue to be, a huge hit because of this “word of keyboard” effect. If you have tried them, it was probably because one of your friends, family members, or colleagues told you about them.  Taco Bell’s ad campaign for its new “Cool Ranch” version of these tacos even highlights this the importance of an individual’s word of mouth.

It is obvious that it is crucial for a business to appeal to all of its consumers and as many demographics as possible. However, Taco Bell is the perfect example of making a niche market happy. If a new product satisfies one person, their word of mouth or “word of keyboard” will create a snowball effect leading to something greater for a business. Every day, you will likely give somebody you know a suggestion on where to eat, shop, or travel, even if you do not realize it. You are a trusted source to a lot of people. Next time you eat at a new restaurant and enjoy it, post about it on multiple social media platforms. You are contributing to this phenomena and could be the reason for a local business’s future success or failure.

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