Word of Mouth Marketing (WOMM) is a method of transferring knowledge about products and services through social networks. Companies are moving toward using social media marketing methods to encourage their messages to spread into difficult to reach groups. A study of bloggers by Kozinets, et. al. (2010) shows how social media communication works within groups cultural norms. The character of the blogger takes on a new form of endorsement or criticism of products.
In 2008, companies spend $1.54 billion on WOMM initiatives and the amount is expected to increase to $3 billion in 2013 (PQ Media, 2009). The market has a positive impression of independent bloggers and social media users who promote or reject products based upon their unique perspectives.
The types of blogs vary depending on their personality. Some blogs focus on one concept in a niche market while others focus on multiple concepts. The different being the topics of interest to bloggers and what they find interesting enough to write about. The process of writing on a blog has become known as “Identity Projects”.
Bloggers fit within a social network based upon their interests and vantage points. People interested in similar ideas, concepts, and products read blogs in order to understand and obtain additional information.
The collection of likeminded individuals in a social network helps companies sell products and ideas. The same process that exists in face-to-face communication is similar in the online world. Bloggers become opinion generators that foster or squash products in their social network.
Word of Mouth (WOMM) in online media is a secondary but significant source of developing opinions about products and services that can have an influence on public opinion and purchasing behavior. The researchers found in their study of 80 bloggers that they are not only social networks that use communal vs. commercial norms but they also become opinion generators based on trust, friendship, and alliances. Bloggers as opinion generations can 1.) communicate the message; 2) stake reputation on the marketing message; and 3) convert the message into language, substance and tone that their readers understand.
Kozinets, R. et. al. (2010). Networked narratives: understanding word-of-mouth marketing in online communities. Journal of marketing, 74 (2).
PQ Media (2009). Exclusive PQ Media Research: Despite Worst Recession in Decades, Brands Increased Spending on Word-of-Mouth Marketing 14.2% to $1.54 Billion in 2008 retrieved from http://www.pqmedia.com/about-press-20090729-wommf.html.