In marketing most already understand the incredible value and power there is in getting a referral from someone who knows you and trusts you versus a cold call from a stand alone advertisement such as the yellow pages or a TV ad. Marketing professionals encourage you to cultivate the people who already have some type of relationship with you in order to get that all-important word-of-mouth referral.
If word-of-mouth referral is the ‘holy grail’ of getting clients, how much more powerful then is a group referral? It’s incredibly powerful. The need people have to share their own experiences makes this group referral even more valuable and influential than you might realize.
On Thursday of last week I received a Facebook invitation to a group from a local mom I know. She had created a new Facebook Group called ‘Greater New Haven Mom’s Group.’ The mission was simple: to help mom’s in the Greater New Haven area find things they need whether it’s an electrician, movers, mani-pedi, or a dentist. The first day there were five in the group; the second day 47, the third day 109. It’s been less than a week and this group is going crazy. Men asked if they could join, too, because there are stay-at-hom dads who need help finding vendors or getting recommendations also. So, the group responded and changed the name to ‘Greater New Haven Parent’s Community Guide’. All this happened in less than five days. In the course of five days, reccomendations, descriptions, and endorsements were filling members’ inboxes with friend-endorsed products, services, kids events, and more.
Then different postings started to appear with people offering their own services such as home-made jewelry, babysitting, soccer camps. Electricians who were endorsed responded to the endorsing member with thank you’s. I threw in my favorite websites when a woman was looking for a gently used swing set and directed her to freecycle.org. I was even tempted to offer up my electrician. The pull to participate and be a contributing member was very great.
I also happen to know this woman sought me out as a fellow mother because she knew I was an attorney. When she had a problem she wanted to know who I could refer her to in order resolve her legal problem. If I was still practicing, this group would be my own personal world of referrals.
Which leads me to the power of group referrals. We often hear of very expensive ways to find business and then determine we simply can’t afford it. We are also told to get off the computer because social media doesn’t lead to business. ‘Social’ activities lead to business. To claim well-spent and thoughtful social media time doesn’t lead to business is ridiculous.
You can argue that there are plenty of groups out there that are for socializing and/or reviewing products and services. But this is different in its intent and the scope of the members it attracts.
Now am I encouraging to run out and create a Facebook group to drum up business and blatantly call it ‘People in Greater (wherever) Who Need Lawyers’? Of course not. But if you are in some form of consumer law which caters to your local demographic, if you are on Facebook and are willing to start a group similar to this, it’s very easy over time to be exchanging information with your fellow parents (or fellow local runners or wine afficianados or sports enthusiasts ) which also might include at some point mentioning your seminar on caring for the elderly, or your ‘will party’, or general advice on dealing with a landlord/tenant issue, along with your recipe for lasagna!
Creating a group on Facebook is easy and it’s free. Members can be added as you like. Posts don’t show to the general public if you don’t want them to. Non-members can see the group as an option, too. Decide if this is a way to get information out to your potential audience while become more social. I’m seeing the incredible potential within this one demographic-based group already!