Luckily, for the small business, there are numerous marketing tactics to lean on in today’s digital world. However, word of mouth advertising is often held in higher regard than many traditional techniques, particularly by consumers. A study recently put out by the Word of Mouth Marketing Association showed that 49% of American consumers view it as credible. The Word of Mouth Marketing Association may have more skin in the game than most, but this does make sense at a primal level: people trust the word of friends and peers over companies. Following are some tips on how a small business can improve their branding via word of mouth advertising.

Pick the Right Channel

There are many channels a small business can utilize to create word of mouth buzz for their brand, and these days there is no need to look any further than social media. Whether it is Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or another network, social media can prove highly effective at spreading the word about your organization, as well as the products or services associated with it. The great thing about the social channel is that it can take your message farther than it would have been able to travel otherwise, giving you the opportunity to reach hundreds, or even thousands of people. This is compounded by the fact that those followers can take your message even further by sharing it with their friends.

Interact with Your Audience

Maybe you are using social media to conduct your branding. Maybe you’re working traditional channels, or maybe you are using a combination of both. Wherever you’re based, it is extremely important to engage and interact with your audience. Creating a profile on a popular social network and sharing a link to your website is not going to cut it. You need to be active, engaging your audience members in dialogue and sharing useful information. Ironically, word of mouth is not all about advertising, but when done right it can result in big sales numbers.

Establish a Good Reputation

Spreading your message through the right channels and engaging your audience are both important, but in the end, the strength of your word of mouth advertising efforts will depend on your brand’s reputation. It doesn’t matter how large your audience is or how active you are, the response you get will be lukewarm at best if a bad reputation is following the word from prospect to prospect. So above all, you must learn how to manage expectations and keep your reputation intact, because if it takes too big a hit, making a full recovery could be next to impossible – just ask Paul Christoforo.

Word of mouth advertising is the oldest form of marketing there is. It is still among the most effective, even in the days of information technology, internet services and mobile communications. Recommendations from friends and like-minded people are more valuable than ever to consumers, and the sooner small businesses realize this, the better they will do at branding, advertising and marketing in general.