Since the web has given people a voice through social media, what are they talking about out there?
Well, if they've got your product or used your services, you can bet that's what they're talking about. They're busy posting their opinions on their blogs and websites that feature product information, they're mentioning it to their Facebook friends or are tweeting about their experiences with it, whether success or failure.
The good news is that social media also allows you to be proactive. It even allows you to start the conversation.
Now you might be thinking, "but we have a website already - and I thought websites were, 'If you build it, they will come.'" That's the way it used to be. The old way of the web was that it was a research tool. You put up a site about your business and people who needed it would find their way there.
But now the web has evolved from a research tool to a social tool. Part of someone's product research now involves getting the opinions of friends and peers through social media. In fact, a social media contact may now be the first place some people hear about your product or service.
Thanks to the web, it's easier than ever to get the public's opinion on a product. It's just a matter of running a quick search through blogs, tweets, or the conversation pages of networking sites. Or Google a product and add the word "reviews" and see what happens. That's only the tip of the iceberg. Word of mouth no longer involves face-to-face contact. It has become "send me a link."
And one more thing: now everyone can see the conversation as it unfolds. They share it. Learn from it. Add to it.