After a 2hour Skype session with my mate at discussing how we are going to re-design his site and what social media can do for his online marketing, I was really inspired to hear his story, which I will share with you below.

My mate was looking to set up a home theatre in his house and was researching products, after a bit of time on Google he stumbled across a home stereo enthusiasts forum. After jumping in and taking a look around grabbing some good information about products and different configurations. He decided to start a new thread, “What do you think should be in the perfect entertainment unit?” Now here is the thing, my mate makes custom furniture and it is hot stuff (check out his site).

Not thinking anything of it apart from getting some information about what these guys would like in a cabinet, which he could build into his. Within under an hour there were 37 replies all from people with great ideas, my mate jumped in as part of the conversation offering his thoughts, suggestions and alternatives to other ideas from an expert cabinet makers point of view and the community really took to it.

Within a couple of days of being a member of the site, he had many enquiries and additional traffic to his site and within a couple of days had booked a job, making a perfect entertainment unit. Now this wasn’t the intent of his post, nor being on the forum in the first place, but what a great outcome.

This was very interesting to me, this story highlighted the value of social media and building your online networks. Getting involved in community forums is a great way of referral promoting your products and/or services. Being an active member of an online community can help you to learn new techniques in your industry, share your information, engage directly with consumers to find out what they like, desire and think they would pay for and like Twitter be known for being an expert in your field. Im not advocating spamming online communities, though I feel if you have something to contribute you could see benefits to your business, be it in selling products or simply gaining a new perspective.

What I would like most to share out of this story is just how little effort and money it took for my mate to promote his services that resulted in a sale. Word of Mouth or referral marketing is a powerful tool for you business and shouldn’t be under-estimated. Our business was built on it, still to this day we do not pay for over priced advertising and 101 Web Technology continues to grow. Lets Skype sometime or follow me on Twitter @phil_at_101 to find out what social marketing can do for your businesses bottom line.

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