Social Media vs. Word-of-Mouth Marketing: Why Small Businesses Need Both

For many small business owners, word-of-mouth marketing ranks ahead of social media–and that’s OK. I’m not going to downplay word-of-mouth marketing–I’m a huge fan. It’s extremely effective and an important aspect of marketing. Every business owner benefits when friends tell other friends about a great experience. However, a business cannot rely on word-of-mouth alone for all of its marketing efforts.

This is not an all-or-nothing proposition. You need both and here’s why:

When customers shop for a product or service, they sometimes rely on advice from friends and family; and sometimes they don’t.

What about those customers who look for information online? Do you want to reach them? If they were looking for a local service online, could they find  you, or would they only find your competitors? 

If you are not marketing your business online, only your competitors will show up in an online search. 

For example, just this week alone, I searched for paint stores, restaurants, and lighting stores. I don’t buy paint and lighting often so I needed help finding local stores. I did the search from my mobile device and did not ask for recommendations. I went to the stores that I was able to find quickly on my phone. If a lighting store was not listed, they missed out on my business. I know there are more stores in my area but I couldn’t find them. Where did I go? I went to those I could find in my mobile search. This scenario is becoming more common each day.

Starting with social media is as simple as making sure your physical address is updated in local online search directories. I write more about it in an earlier post: Local Search Marketing, It’s Free, Easy and Necessary.

In 2 minutes, you can create a presence on Facebook. Click here to learn how.

Local search marketing is a vital for small businesses, because consumers are increasingly searching online for addresses, recommendations, and ideas. Don’t get left out by completely ignoring social media and online search marketing.

For more information read: 3 Social Media Myths Stopping Small Business From Getting Started.

So go ahead and ask your customers to tell their friends about your company. Provide great customer service so they are more likely to do so. In addition to that, use the free resources available to you through social media and online search marketing. The only thing you have to lose is a potential customer.

If your local business needs help getting started, contact me for a free consultation.

If I haven’t convinced you yet, Hiscox made this helpful infographic to show you what other small businesses are thinking.

Social Media Ranks Low for Small Business [INFOGRAPHIC]