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Here’s the fantastic thing about word of mouth: The good guys win. The companies who earn our respect and recognition — the ones we tell everyone about — do it by doing truly wonderful things.

But we know that even with the best intentions, it can be easy to forget to make goodwill a part of your strategy. So here are three examples to help get you going:

1. Host a charitable event
2. Ask them to pay it forward
3. Invest in your community

1. Host a charitable event

You don’t have to have a huge budget to do something great for a cause — sometimes all you need are the right people to participate. For example, some Sonic Drive-Ins host school fundraisers where teachers serve as “celebrity carhops” and collect tips as donations for their school. It works because teachers tell all of their students about it, who tell their parents, who tell other parents, and spread the word all over the community.

2. Ask them to pay it forward

Paying it forward is one of the most inherently word of mouth-worthy acts of kindness, because it asks people to spread the message. To do it, reward your fans with stuff to pass along to their friends. For example, Outback Steakhouse hand-selected some of their biggest fans, surprised them with 40 Bloomin’ Onion vouchers, and asked these fans to share them with their friends. These folks (who were already big talkers) suddenly had a fantastic new reason to tell a lot of friends about their favorite restaurant. For every coupon they ultimately redeemed, how many conversations do you think their fans started while finding friends to share them with?

3. Invest in your community

This tip is so obvious that some people miss it: The best way to earn trust and respect from your customers is to show them some first. For example, everyone talks about Portland’s Plaza Cleaner’s offer to dry clean outfits for job seekers going to an interview — and they’re not the only ones. Adobe gave away copies of their Flash Builder software to unemployed developers. You can bet that when these people find jobs, they’ll know where to do their dry cleaning and where to buy their software, plus they’ll tell all of their friends about it.

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  1. Chicago Business Referral Network - May 31, 2013

    […] How to spread word of mouth by doing the right thing […]

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