Social Media | April 11, 2012

Social Media is the New Word of Mouth

How Social Media Marketing Has Become the New Word of Mouth

Internet Marketing has Shifted to Social Media Marketing as the New Word of Mouth for Local Businesses

As we work with many local business owners throughout Texas who share their struggles with growing and scaling their businesses while trying to figure out the magic formula to Internet marketing, it continues to amaze us with the stories we hear and the tactics many traditional Internet marketers use and tell these business leaders are necessary.  In fact, Internet marketing and Search Engine Optimization – SEO – professionals have started to create bad images of their professionals in general.

How Local Business Owners Can Leverage Social Media to Grow Their Business as Their New Word of Mouth Marketing

Being sales professionals for large, billion dollar enterprise organizations and small startup organizations has helped our Social180 team understand the challenge of many businesses and the proper process, tools and approach to winning and growing word of mouth marketing through referrals.  One thing we have found and continue to practice and evangelize is that technique is important, yet intent is always more important than technique (well articulated by Mahan Khalsa in the book Let’s Get Real or Let’s Not Play).  This applies in marketing your business through offline and online channels.

What does this mean?  Well, many traditional Internet marketers have stay away from social media marketing for many reasons – one of which is that it requires time and commitment while another is that they are not intently focused on growing the business long-term.  What we mean here is that they are opportunistic seeking immediate gratification through an upfront SEO or paid advertising campaign versus being committed to the client long-term by investing in themselves (as a salesperson for the client) to learn and grow the relationship and ultimately results for the client that then reward them.

How is social media marketing different?  One of the big differences between traditional Internet marketing with upfront fees for SEO and paid advertising and committed social media marketing firms is that social media marketing requires knowledge and understanding of the business and more importantly the client needs.  In other words, in order for Social180 or any other social media marketing firm to help local businesses, the social media marketing company must understand the local business and the needs of their clients.  For instance, as we help roofing companies, air conditioning companies, landscaping companies, restoration companies and many others, for us to effectively help them grow their business with social media marketing, we must understand their business and what their clients are experiencing and looking for.

Social media marketing requires more long-term investment for a sales and marketing firm as well as a commitment from the local business to engage and actively work to grow in a local market.  The analogy we often use is joining your local chamber of commerce.  If you join because you believe business just starts coming through the door, you should not join.  If you join your local chamber of commerce and are committed to growing your presence in your local market by becoming involved, attending community meetings, and helping the local community, then you should.  One requires only a monetary investment, the other requires a commitment to time and money (and usually less money than the first, yet more time).

So what does all of this mean and why is social media marketing important for my business and my clients?  Think about it for a second… the number of people on social media today is overwhelming. So if we sell mobile phones, wouldn’t we want to go where people are going – malls, retail centers, close to restaurants, etc?  This applies similarly with social media marketing and reaching homeowners through social channels.  It just takes a commitment and hard work to do it.  Social180 was created to help local businesses connect, communicate and grow local clients through the Internet and social media marketing.