In a media-dominated world, word-of-mouth can easily be misunderstood. Frequently, it is assumed that social media is the new word-of-mouth, and the former traditional way no longer ought to be important. That is wrong.

While social media is the modern tool to attract attention and spread opinions, oral communication shouldn’t be underestimated. Offline conversations can have a significant impact on buying decisions and must be taken seriously when considering a business’ reputation.

What Good Does Social Media?

It is the place where everyone congregates. Almost all age groups and people from every generation participate in virtual networks. Millions have access to each other’s opinions, ideas, and attitudes. It is amazingly easy to retrieve any expert’s stance or point of view on a particular subject matter. Especially when it comes to consuming products or using different services, people are more likely to try something new that has been recommended by a Facebook friend, an Instagram influencer, or a popular Tweeter.

In that sense, social media can be considered a form of word-of-mouth, just not under a traditional understanding. This modern chatter can bring enormous good to companies and institutions of all kinds as positive light can be shed on products or services and their value proposition. A bonus makes the quick sharing opportunities that exist with social media.

But how effective is it really? And how many people genuinely rely on recommendations or warnings of individuals that are active on these platforms? The latter depends on the degree of how well individuals know each other, an influencer’s popularity, or a person’s knowledge and expertise in a given field or topic. Once a certain level of credibility is achieved, news of social media can spread like wildfire.

Of course, if the news is good, let’s keep them aflame. But if the contrary is at work, a fire extinguisher has to be ready to go. Just like traditional word-of-mouth, social media updates can have an extraordinary impact on the success of a business. That’s why it is crucial to keep a noble reputation among customers online and in person.

Why Does Word-of-Mouth Still Matter?

Word-of-mouth is and will remain to be part of the human nature. And just as long will be the relationships that are built with each other. The more profound the connection, the stronger personal recommendations will be perceived. More than 80% of people would actually buy an item or a service that was endorsed by a friend. These offline conversations are powerful. But they are hard to be tracked since there are no traces of when somebody said something to who, and following the review and evaluation path of a company can be rather tricky.

Depending on the type of measure that is used, social media and word-of-mouth can both have an impact on organizations. Surveys show, however, that more people would buy a product based on a person to person discussion versus an online conversation. This goes to show that perhaps the human component remains with in-person talks, adding trustworthiness that shines through plain words and sentences.