When asking businesses about their lead generation process, I’ve heard "word of mouth" more times than I can count. Word of mouth is important to any business for many reasons - reputation, a source of deals, and more. However, the digital world is not even considered to be part of that strategy, despite a substantial part of our daily communication happening right there.
So it got me thinking. I am a naughties child that grew up with budding technology inventions. Tech and the digital seem natural to me but it might not to others. Now every business is different, but the fact is the same for almost every industry. Our customers have an online presence. So why don’t businesses enrich their word of mouth strategies with a flavour of the digital world to meet with their target audience?
I am not talking about churning out mass email campaigns! I am talking about something similar to conversation and interaction - social media. It can be used in a multitude of ways from promoting, nurturing, establishing the business in the industry, to connecting with your customers and prospects. Businesses, as well as individuals, use social media daily to communicate. We no longer only speak with people face to face. We take our conversations to the internet.
It’s clear from these two age groups that social media is rising in popularity with what you could call “younger generation”. It is needless to say that in the future when under 35s will have climbed the hierarchy ladder, they will most likely continue using social media.
Moreover, c-suite holders have already taken a liking to the online world. LinkedIn remains the strongest in the examined platforms. It is generally prefered as a professional network. Hence, it is an advantage to target decision makers on platforms that they frequent.
In any case, if you fear that your content won’t be read or that your prospects do not want to be bombarded with posts and tweets, you are only partially right. It is not advisable to swamp social networks with mindless, unplanned activity. However, the majority of people online are already happy to receive content from brands.
It is inevitable that the way we communicate about our business to other businesses will in part shift to the digital world. As such social media platforms should not be disregarded but explored as possibilities. It is no longer enough to rely only on eye to eye contact. Whilst still important, word of mouth in its most traditional sense might fall behind in the face of the interconnected online world.
If you’re still not sure about the benefits, consider this:
Online presence, as much as word-of-mouth, breeds recognition and trust. Isn’t that part of the reason why companies have a website in the first place? Recognition and trust prompt engagement. Engagement results in word spreading around. Soon, you have similar network online as you would offline.
As a bottom line - yes, people buy from people. But nowadays people present themselves offline as well as online. You can turn your online presence into a powerful driving force for your business’s growth and stability.
It’s time to cast your nets wider.