I realize that the concept of word-of-mouth happening online in a digital 24×7 world may feel messy and confusing especially for professionals. Still, the immense commercial value of billions of people connecting, engaging and sharing across massive, fluid networks can’t be overlooked.
Online word-of-mouth via a Blog, Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, email, list services, chat rooms or instant messages may not feel like that face-to-face word-of-mouth you’re used to but the ability to influence buying decisions is the same.
So, accepting that “word-of-mouth” does happen ONLINE is key for making your business development and marketing strategy hum in the social networking era.
You either have visibility online or you don’t.
In fact, even when conversations start face-to-face, the ubiquity of Internet-enabled devices and social media platforms ensures that those conversations originating offline get finished online.
Frankly, even if you talk with me offline and suggest an interesting new strategy or idea for a service that might benefit me the first thing I would do is then use Google to conduct additional research. —Brafton (survey response)
Judge from your own experience. Word-of-mouth is the single most powerful force for helping you obtain information and make decisions on what services or products to buy. Consider:
- Family and friend recommendations trump everything for influencing purchasing. —Ad Age
- 90% of online consumers trust recommendations from people they know. —Econsultancy
- 83 percent of B2B buyers go online channels to research B2B brands. —Mischa Stephens
- 91% of B2B buyers confirm that “word-of-mouth” is the most important influencing factor in the buying process. —Greentarget
- Entrepreneurs say blogs are the second-leading influencer on their purchase decisions (following only personal recommendations). —Ivy Worldwide
With billions of people using social media literally every minute of every day, the only real question that remains is whether your marketing efforts are part of their interactions. —Jake Hird