3 ways to keep your word of mouth honest

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Your advocates are talking about you because they trust you. That’s huge. That’s how word of mouth works. But it can be easy to lose that trust with even slightly deceptive marketing.

Here are three ways you can maintain high standards for honesty that boosts your word of mouth:

1. Do the “Mom Test”
2. Say no to stealth
3. Just be yourself

1. Do the “Mom Test”

With every word of mouth campaign, ask yourself this question: Would I be proud to tell my mom about this? If you hesitate, figure out what you wouldn’t want to explain or what feels embarrassing and eliminate it. You wouldn’t want to disappoint your mom, and you can’t afford to disappoint your customers. There are no gray areas here — if you’re unsure, drop it.

2. Say no to stealth

Word of mouth marketing is about consumer trust. You can maintain the trust you worked so hard to earn by saying no to iffy deals. Somewhere along the way, someone will provide a seemingly simple solution to create some buzz. For example, a junior staffer will offer to make a fake Facebook profile or create some secret postings. Just say no, and then teach them why. You have to be an advocate who proactively teaches others the ethics of word of mouth. Let them know that your customers can spot even the smallest manipulation and how it could tarnish your brand forever.

3. Just be yourself

Always say who you are, because disclosure only strengthens your credibility. One of the best things about word of mouth is that the good guys win. Your best marketing strategy is to be yourself. Be honest about who you represent, your true opinion, and your actual identity. Your customers will notice and appreciate it. In the end, it’s a lot easier and more sustainable (and more fun) to just be yourself.

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