There is a belief in some corners of the business world that social media is word-of-mouth, or that social media has replaced word-of-mouth as the driver of consumer awareness and preference. It isn’t. And it hasn’t.
Social media is a critical component of the overall word-of-mouth equation. In fact, offline and online conversations are almost exactly equal in size, according to recent research from Engagement Labs. Today, online and offline word-of-mouth each drive almost precisely the same economic impact; they just tend to do so in different circumstances.
Word-of-mouth has the benefit of personalisation. The talker/promoter customises their recommendation and their story about the brand or experience to fit the receiver’s interests whether at the dinner table, the water cooler or over the phone. That’s what makes word-of-mouth so incredibly powerful.
Source: Jay Baer in his new book, Talk Triggers: The complete guide to creating customers with Word of Mouth