Social Media: Powerful Word-of-Mouth Marketing
Posted by Guest Author on January 11, 2013 in Business Start Up Advice [ 0 Comments ]
Customers today are more powerful to small businesses than ever before. Online word-of-mouth goes a long way, and the necessity of positive reviews is vital. Social media, such as Facebook or Twitter, is a place where satisfied customers can share their experiences with your company and feedback about the products and services you offer.
Word-of-mouth referrals are the most influential form of marketing out there. People trust what their friends and loved ones have to say, point blank. Yet, less than one quarter of small businesses has social media strategies in place according to the 2012 Small and Medium Social Business Study.
The fact is that many are interested in the idea of social media, but their uncertainty of how to best use it deters the business from making it a part of their marketing plan. Of small businesses, a whopping 47% do not use social media at all.
Customers Believe What They Hear
A recent small business survey examined how small businesses use the powerful form of marketing, social media. U.S. small business leaders reported that many were not using social media promotion at all, and only 12% believed this form of marketing is a must.
The vast majority of small business owners tend to rely heavily on word-of-mouth referrals and other traditional avenues of marketing. Social media excels at this form of advertising! Social media websites such as Twitter are a great way to build your brand and generate followers who will be advocates for your business. People trust their peers to make suggestions about the products and services that they love.
Facebook, Twitter and other methods of social media function as a great place to seek out advice from your friends and followers. People often ask for recommendations when it comes to finding a hotel, wedding venue, photographer, hair stylist or even a restaurant. The answers they get from friends are ones that they trust.
Why are the recommendations customers tweet or post about so compelling? The answer is simple: future customers realize their peers are honest.
Local Businesses Benefit from Social Media
Small businesses owners tend to fear the honesty that accompanies the reviews made by social media users. There are other reasons that small business owners may shy away from social media, such as:
- Uncertain how to utilize it. Many small business owners excel at what they know, whether it is programming computers, taking photographs for a wedding or cooking a gourmet dinner. However, many are not skilled in the field of marketing and do not have the funds to hire experts in that area. Many small businesses tend to agree that the lack of awareness about marketing and selling their product is a major start-up mistake.
- Lack of time. Small businesses are busy preparing orders, answering customer questions and inquiring about loans from their bank. Finding ample time to update the business Facebook page or share a deal on Twitter ranks low on the list of things to accomplish.
- Unconvinced of the benefits. For many small businesses owners, social media seems overwhelming and intimidating. The horror stories of bad reviews that ruin a company’s reputation make social media seem dangerous. If the day-to-day operations are keeping you busy enough, the risk of taking part in social media can seem less helpful than beneficial.
The most valuable leads for sales are those that come to you after a referral from a friend. You have an array of channels available for communication such as email, phone and social media options. Despite the fact that the younger generation may hear about your business via social media, the preferred method of communication is still the telephone.
Almost always, friends communicate over the Internet instead of at the school bus stop or at the local grocery store. Most of the communication exchanged is done publicly, making it more powerful than ever. Small business owners can help themselves by realizing the potential of social media marketing and utilizing all it has to offer.
Photo credit: larrison.blogspot.com
Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com, an online business directory and business news source.