Social media is word of mouth written in stone

Why does social media matter?

I was recent speaking at a small gathering of sales people. And one of them asked me this question.

They sell marketing services to small businesses – mom and pop shops. Places like your local pizzeria, drycleaners, plumbers, doctors. Why should those busy business owners care about social media?

It’s not like they don’t have enough to worry about. Small business owners, after all, are probably some of the busiest people you’ll meet. Running the business, hiring staff, training, pitching in where and when needed, doing the books, planning marketing, dealing with unhappy clients … the list does not end.

The answer’s really, really simple. Of course, it also happens to be a question. And the question is: does word of mouth matter?

That’s an obvious one to anyone in business or marketing. Or anyone, actually. Word of mouth drive more business (sometimes away) than most major marketing campaigns. Good word of mouth means solid business and increasing client lists. Bad word of mouth means lonely, slow days with dollars flying out but only dribbling in.

Well, social media is word of mouth. But, this word of mouth lasts forever.

Thanks to Google, thanks to rating and review sites, thanks to the internet … everything is saved. Even the idiotic tweets of a horny politician. Certainly the passionate raves and rants of your customers.

And not only is it saved … it’s shared. And spread. WOM 1.0 usually died after a person or two. The words were spoken, they hung in the air, the sound faded. And that was it. WOM 2.0 is much different. They’re saved, they have a life of their own independent from their author, and they can be shared by the author or anyone else to an unlimited audience.

That means everyone in your town, potentially. Everyone who is on your client list, possibly. Maybe even all your friends at the gym.

So.

Word of mouth is a big deal? Social media is a bigger deal. What are you going to do about it?

More on that later …

 


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