Rules Of Word Of Mouth. WOMMA’S Guide To Better Influencer Marketing
The Influencer marketing handbook from Word Of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA). Just the tool marketing and advertising professionals need at the time when more and more brands are trying to harvest the power of word of mouth.
The book which has been in the works for the past year is an attempt at understanding, defining, implementing and measuring word of mouth marketing programs. The handbook, available online on the WOMMA site, aims to provide practitioners of word of mouth marketing with the following information:
• Definition of an influencer and influencer marketing
• Types of influencers
• Methods to engage and thank influencers
• Guidelines for influencer self-regulation
• Bibliography of influencer communication research and practice.
The handbook looks at influencers from a historic perspective and discovers that the concept has been around for decades. As early as 1955 Paul Lazarsfeld and Elihu Katz wrote about it in their book, Personal Influence (Google Books link).
Their concept, still relevant today, is that some people have a disproportionate degree of influence on others and can be effective communications channels.
The WOMMA document divides influencers into five little groups, people with formal authority, like people in government who have the authority to make and implement laws that can change things around. The second bunch of people who can exert large amount of influence are experts and academics. Members of the media, media elite as WOMMA calls them are the third set of people who wield very large influence on subject matters they write about. Cultural elite make up the next group. Celebrities, musicians, artists and others who have their universe of followers. The final group are those WOMMA calls socially connected people with large number of friends in their social circles – Mavens – as Malcolm Gladwell has categorized them in his book The Tipping Point.
In the next chapter of the guidebook, WOMMA has laid out a bunch of simple, self regulating guidelines for the practitioners of word of mouth programs. From being honest with ideas that are circulated around in word of mouth networks, to have a program that listens, to respecting the rights of influencers, to asking influencers to be transparent about the programs they participate in, building respectful relationships with influencers, providing incentives for participating in brand programs and finally to thank participants of such activities.
The handbook has a final chapter on how to work effectively with influencers. Where once again WOMMA suggest that we as marketers and advertisers need to thank and engage with key influencers from time to time.
Here is a link to the handbook in full.
Moving on John Bell at the Digital Influence Mapping Project talks about the importance of word of mouth measurement in a recession.
And this study from word of moth specialists, Keller Fay group on America’s most talked about brands.