This is why it is good to do the occasional survey. This question above, How did you hear about us? was in amongst many other questions from a recent survey I did. In this one question, I was trying to discover which of my local advertising from last year had had the most effect. I was quite surprised by the results, which told me a great deal. Why spend money on advertising when it is actually good old fashioned word of mouth that helped me rather than paid advertising?
In the past when we were looking for products or services we would have looked in the big old yellow pages, by heaving the heavy book off the shelf and simply ploughing through thousands of names until we found what we were looking for. More often than not the details were out of date and the telephone number no longer existed. Or you may have driven to an address of a shop that was no longer open. If you did manage to find a contact, you had no recommendation as to whether they were actually any good.
Now, that yellow pages are pretty much non existent, where do we go when looking for a product or service? We head, without even thinking, to Facebook and Twitter to ask advice on there...
"Can anyone recommend a good carpenter..."
"I need a present for my sister, does any one know where I can get...."
Not only do we ask for advice, but we also get first hand recommendations from several friends as to whether they were any good, and sometimes we may even be shown photos of their work. Social media is now the new yellow pages!
Of course, we can always ask a friend at work or when out socially, but where else can we we get so many varied people in the same room together and shout out the question so they all hear you! So what does this tell small companies trying to get themselves to stand out from the crowd? Firstly, get onto Facebook and twitter and tweet about what you do, post up pictures and talk to others who ask questions. It really is that simple.
We can also, when needing a recommendation in another city or country, ask online. If we don't have a friend living there, you can bet one of your friends knows someone who does!
"So here I am! In Oxford. Can anyone recommend a good place to eat?"
"We are off to France this Summer. Does anyone know of a..."
"We are moving to Devon & need a plumber. Can anyone recommend?'
So if your business is online and you are sharing what you do/sell, it makes it much easier for others to know you exist, and furthermore, recommend you when asked. Online sharing and recommendations are swift, so the easier you can make it for them to wing over an online link, the better. If you do not have an online presence, they may well not share at all (simply due to the time it would take them to find their book that has your details in).
I must also add that aside from having an online presence, being good at what you do (or having a good product) and being nice to people are also major key factors to a good recommendation. When you do a job, make sure you do it well, and try to keep things on schedule. Always remember that good news travels fast, but that bad news travels even faster! Make sure your customers/clients are happy to avoid any bad recommendations.
I do not work for Facebook or Twitter, so I have no invested interested here, but I do know that if used correctly, social media can be a very useful marketing tool for giving your business an online voice. Talking to people online is a good thing, so ask questions and listen to what they say, you may learn something invaluable. If you don't already, try to think about the smarter and less expensive ways to promote your business this year and make sure that you have a strong online presence.
'Never underestimate the power of a recommendation from a friend'
WORD OF MOUTH
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