Word of mouth 2.0
People share the following things on a daily basis: images of their lives, both moving and static, ideas in blogs or comments, blogs in MySpace, Facebook, and Orkut. What they are doing right now (Twitter), what they are working on (LinkedIn) and what their status is (Facebook). They are sharing PowerPoint presentations on Slideshare, streaming video on Ustream, text or video conversations on Skype.
People share their goals, work experience and questions about their job on LinkedIn. They are answering questions on Yahoo, offering their expertise on Wikipedia, and pointing out interesting articles tidbits or images on social bookmarking sites like Delicious, StumbleUpon or Digg.
And we’re just getting started. If the late nineties were all about security (Y2K) and privacy, then the late 00’s are all about sharing.
And this is great for marketers. A friend of mine who owns a few jewelry stores told me about 10 years ago that the greatest (and only) advertising tool he thinks works is word of mouth. I pressed him to tell me more. He said that he treats every customer as a human ad for his store. Service them to the point of excess, treat them like they are kings, and hopefully when they are out to dinner and show off the rock, they will speak kindly of his company.
That’s really what this moment in time is all about for marketers. It’s not about using the internet to get new customers. It’s about using the internet to let your current customers get new customers.
In the same way that word of mouth was, and is, the greatest marketing tool, social media can come along and make it even better.
If you’re looking for a definition of social media, that’s mine.
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