Updated: Sep 12, 2021
Word-of-mouth has always been, and will continue to be, the best way that people learn about your business. At the base it is how one person shares their thoughts with another. It's been that way for centuries, but the way that they share and connect has changed.
Picture yourself 300 years ago and you own a bakery. Your customers and suppliers lived and worked in the same town as you. Word-of-mouth didn't spread very far.
Fast forward to the expansion of the US mail system and later the telephone. You see word-of-mouth spreading further and faster. Your customers and suppliers expand and diversify. This continues with the introduction of email and websites.
Today, you most likely have a mailing address, telephone number, email address, and website. They are pre-requisits for running a successful business. Customers would find it odd if they couldn't connect with you via these channels.
The same is true with social media. It is the latest in a long history of new technologies that help spread your message person-to-person. Whether you operate a B2C or B2B business, social media is all about generating word-of-mouth. Don't miss out on this opportunity to connect with your customers when, where, and how they want it.
Adding value to your business beyond word-of-mouth
Brand recall - The more times that a person connects with your brand the greater your brand recall will be. Social media is an efficient and effective way to add value to your customers and interact with them every day.
Reputation management - When consumers Google your business, the social media pages are going to be among the top results. Make sure you're in control of what they see before they even get to your website or make contact with you.
Build trust - As people get to your page they will see who from their network already 'likes' your business. That connection helps to build trust.
Share your expertise - You are the expert. Social media is a great way to show people how great you are. But, remember, when you're at a party no one wants to talk to the person who just talks about how great they are. Use your expertise to start a conversation and add value to the reader's experience.
Reach more prospects - Social media advertising is a relatively inexpensive way to get your brand in front of thousands of prospective customers. And, don't forget about your employees. They are people who use social media too. Encourage them to follow your business and share your content with their followers. They are your best advocates for your brand.
Looking to the future
Social media is here to stay and will continue to become more and more a part of our lives. You're already seeing that with consumer goods. I can buy a sweater on Facebook today without ever interacting with the brand in any other way. What's to say that in the not-so-distant-future Facebook doesn't purchase or make their own transactional system that could compete with PayPal or ApplePay. With your contacts already connected to your business via Facebook, it could be another way for you to collect payment.
Plus, future customers and business owners have grown up with social media. They have high expectations when it comes to how they want to interact with brands on and off of social media. The better you can get at using these tools today, the better you'll be when those customers and business owners are ready to work with you.