In a recent article titled What the Facebook Message Platform Means for Businesses, Social Media Examiner shared some interesting thoughts about how Facebook is potentially changing the way businesses communicate with customers.
One part of the article struck a chord with me.
Word of Mouth
The reason social media in general has become so attractive for marketers is that it’s basically the newest way to spread word of mouth. “Two-thirds of the world’s gross domestic product, especially in the United States, is driven by word-of-mouth recommendations,” according to McKinsey & Company and reported by Standard Media.
Will this new messaging platform make things even easier for word-of-mouth messages? It seems Facebook is trying to make connecting to people as easy as possible…
Last March, Social Media Examiner found that “44% of social sharing on the web is driven by Facebook.” Another report on eMarketer shows that the most searched term for the second year in a row is Facebook, and that Facebook “topped Google.com as the most-visited website of the year.” No matter where you stand on how to implement social media, the point is your audience is likely on Facebook.
Word of mouth advertising is something of a gold standard, especially for small businesses. Getting the average High Desert resident to skip the (perceived) convenience of a big box store, or take a chance on a brand they don’t see reflected on TV or radio can be a challenge. Recommendations from people they know and trust is the strongest way to cut through the fear of the unknown.
For many years, word of mouth literally meant telling someone about your experience. With the increasing reliance on social media in our lives, that sphere of influence is increased by however many “friends” we have. Instead of waiting until you see me at the grocery store or a community event to tell me about the cool new restaurant you’ve discovered, you can message me and many others about it on Facebook.
As Facebook continues to make communicating with our friends and acquaintances easier and faster, it is more important for local businesses to make their content relevant, accessible and sharable. Encouraging customers to talk about their positive experiences prompts them to spread the word. Giving them a link, photo or check-in bonus on Facebook that others will be interested will actually allow them to do it.
Here is an example from my own life. We recently ate at Franky’s Diner in Victorville. I checked in on Facebook with my mobile phone and said
“out for dinner! finally get to check out franky’s! — at Franky’s Diner.”
A conversation on Facebook ensued, leading to a full scale review and six friends liking my check-in. Another friend on Facebook ate there a few days ago and also checked in. A great conversation about how good the food is followed. Franky’s Diner is doing a good job in their business, as is evidenced by our positive recommendations. But their presence on Facebook and check-in ability allows customers to spread the word right then and there.
If you are a local business owner, how are you making it easy for your customers to spread the word about how great you are?
And if you are a High Desert resident, how are you sharing about your support of local, independent businesses through social media?