Word-of-mouth has been the driving force in Black Tulip’s success over the past two decades. Many of our current clients came to us on the endorsement of another client and we too have returned the favour by promoting our clients and vendors to one another.

According to research by Nielsen, this is what makes the world go round! 92 percent of people trust recommendations from friends and family more than all other forms of marketing.

In this day and age, with social media at our fingertips, we can steer the course of that word-of-mouth dynamic. And it can be a very powerful tool. Neilsen also reports that 43 percent of consumers are more likely to enlist a new service or buy a new product when learning about it on social media.

So how do you approach your social media? It’s so easy to promote a business or service using Twitter or Facebook but don’t forget to engage your followers. Asking questions of them, searching out what is important to them, enlisting their assistance, providing them with pertinent information; these are all ways to make sure you’re really making the most of your virtual connections.

Making in-person connections can also be beneficial! Consider joining a local business association or checking out BNI Canada (Black Tulip joined the BNI, Golden Horseshoe Region) or Meetup.com for other businesses wishing to make alliances.

Ultimately, how can you use word of mouth referrals to your advantage? Certainly, use your current clients to make connections. Offer incentives to them for great referrals but don’t forget about your suppliers and vendors. Remind them that by referring sales leads or business to you, you’re helping to build their business, too.

And remember, online or off, sincerity is the key to great word-of-mouth campaigns. If you are passionate about something it truly resonates with people.