From the Town Square to Social Media: The Rise of Word-of-Mouth Marketing

Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft once said, “The Internet is becoming the town square for the global village of tomorrow”. In medieval times, the town square was a public space where residents of the village would gather to hear the local news and updates as well as discounts and special deals on food and other essential items. It was the one and only area that villagers visited to obtain vital information about daily life. Today, this town square has expanded its perimeters and entered the virtual world. “Villagers” are now receiving information about brands and products through the Internet, and particularly through social media influencers. These social media influencers are popular Instagram or YouTube celebrities that promote brands and develop brand awareness and brand loyalty. Many online companies are quickly getting into this method of marketing, and Amazon is no different.

Amazon Influencer Program

In March 2017, Amazon very quietly launched its own social media influencer program into beta. The program is very similar to its previous Amazon Affiliate program, which allowed social media influencers to build links and shopping ads into websites and blogs to advertise for an Amazon seller or vendor. The affiliate then receives a commission for every consumer that clicks the link and buys the advertised product. However, unlike the previous affiliate program, the new Amazon Influencer Program is much more exclusive. In order to be an influencer for this program, you must submit an application. Amazon will then approve influencers they believe have a large following and a “high frequency of posts with shoppable content”. To come to a decision Amazon uses metrics such as fan engagement through posts and content quality and will only go on to accept an elite group.

How This Helps Ecommerce Marketing

Word-of-mouth marketing has long been very significant in encouraging consumers to buy a product. People are more likely to buy a product that is recommended by a friend or a trusted source. Ecommerce companies and brands can take advantage of these social influencers to specifically target an audience that is highly receptive to their product. Since these influencers, particularly the elite group from Amazon, are considered experts in the field, their opinion is highly regarded by their followers. Also since they have a large following, it provides a huge consumer market for the brand. Although Amazon is not the first company to use the help of social media influencers, they could pave the way to make it easier and more efficient for ecommerce companies.



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