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Social Media vs. Word of Mouth

by Scott Nelson  |  August 11, 2011  |  3 Comments

I recent study said that 64% of all small business did not see any value to using social media.  But 50% said that they could live without word of mouth. (Here’s a link to an article on the study http://mashable.com/2011/08/09/small-businesses-social-media/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+SocialCRM+%28Social+CRM%29).

My first reaction, to be honest, was “Wow!”. I found the results interesting, if not a bit hard to believe. I certainly understand the last part, about the role of word of mouth. But that social media was of no value to them really puzzled me. The reason is simply…social media is word of mouth, in a manner of speaking. And it is a form of advertising that is actually an advantage for small firms. Most small businesses are in effect a small community, build around their customers. This is tailor made for social media. Larger firms are tied up with politics, and inflexibility, and all the other problems that plague larger firms. But smaller firms can form a tight linkage to their customers, and social media facilitates that.

So by all means use word of mouth. But don’t discount social media. In fact, if may be the best way to leverage that word of mouth. And actually give you a leg up on your larger competition.

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Category: crm-strategy  social-media-strategy  

Scott D. Nelson
Managing VP
12 years at Gartner
18 years IT industry

Scott Nelson is a managing vice president in Gartner Research. He is responsible for managing research in the area of CRM. His particular research focuses on CRM vision and strategy.


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