I grew up in a small town. There were 3000 permanent residents and another 3000 students when school was in.

Thats not big.

But there were a few things that were big where I grew up.

Work ethic. Commitment.

And most importantly, word of mouth.

No one googled a carpenter. You asked your neighbour who built their deck. No one yelped a mechanic. You asked your brother who helped him rebuild the engine in his mustang.

It might surprise you to learn that things haven’t really changed that much.

Sure, they’ve changed dramatically. We’ve got social media platforms telling us where to shop and what to buy and we’ve got blogs and podcasts and ebooks telling us who’s smart and who’s not.

But what do you do when your washer breaks?

I had to answer this question on Christmas Eve when our washer stopped draining and I was left with a washer full of soaking wet clothes. We tried to hand wring them and carry them in a plastic tub to my mother in laws and the tub exploded from the weight and pressure.

Merry Christmas.

Now, as an internet marketer, social media specialist and website guy, you might think I would have called on the infinite power and wisdom of the internet to find a suitable appliance repairman

I did not

Instead I sought out someone who I believed would know a good appliance repairman and I asked them; “Hey, you look like someone who might know a good appliance repairman…”

They said yes and delivered us the name and number of someone they trusted. They came. They saw. They conquered and for a very minimal cost, we have a functional washer.

And even if I had asked my Twitter Community or my Facebook friends the name of a good repairman, that would still be word of mouth.

To borrow a phrase from Gary Vaynerchuk, “social media is word of mouth, at scale.”

Nothing. No stars. No reviews. No app. Nothing.

Nothing will ever replace human recommendation. In fact, as people get better and better at marketing themselves online, people get better and better at spotting those people and brands that talk the talk without walking the walk.

No matter what you do, strive to be the first name that people mention when someone asks who does what you do rather than just making it onto the first page of google.