Reading several articles all based on the same survey made me realize that many people still don't get it... they don't get the fact that Social Media Marketing and Word of Mouth Marketing are now the same thing!

The first place I saw it was on the blogs section of the Wall Street Journal website... To Heck With Twitter, Business Owners Say. Then I saw it on MediaPost.com Small Biz Ambivalent About Social Media. Then just yesterday I read this headline on MarketingProfs.com Social Media Gets Mixed Reviews From Small Business.

The survey was commissioned by the Hiscox Insurance Company who worked with market-research firm Opinium Research LLP to query 304 U.S. small business owners this past May. Overall, 47% of small business owners and managers surveyed said they don't use social media for business purposes at all. The survey also broke down each of the big players in the social media world, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and the numbers for each of these individually are low with Twitter bringing up the rear as only 4% of respondents said they use Twitter.

And good luck trying to decipher what kinds of businesses these were that were surveyed, were they B2B, B2C, what industries were they in, etc... cause I couldn't find that information. You can click on any of the above links for the gory not-very-detailed details if you so choose but... what caught my eye and raised my proverbial ire was the fact that 50% of the respondents cited Word of Mouth Marketing as the one channel they couldn't do without compared to the 12% vote social media received.

Of the three articles I referenced earlier, only one, the MediaPost.com piece even made a reference to the connection between Social Media Marketing and Word of Mouth Marketing: "... Notwithstanding the obvious potential for overlap between social media and WOM..."

Potential overlap?

No, there is no potential overlap, there is a real and distinct overlap!

I'm reading these articles and wondering aloud, 'doesn't anyone get this?' There was one commenter on the WSJ piece who got it for sure...

"...What these business owners... are missing is the fact that Social Media is set to become THE way to spread word of mouth. Facebook is becoming the sewing circle of the future, and if you can get a group of people buzzing to each other online about your business, you can bring in more customers."

I will disagree with this POV only in the fact that Social Media is not set to become the way to spread word of mouth... it already is!

C'mon people, business owners, marketers, advertisers, etc... where do you think people are "talking" these days?

I will surely not trot out the latest Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn stats nor remind you of the accelerated growth of Google Plus... by now you know and have seen all the statistics.

Sure, are neighbors talking to neighbors as they mow their lawns about the new laundry detergent one just used or the great restaurant the other one went to the night before? Of course, that part will never change.

But what HAS changed is now those same neighbors, after mowing their lawns, are going back into their homes and going on their computers or back into their garages and whipping out their smartphones and telling all their friends... their ONLINE friends all about the new laundry detergent and great restaurant.

Their PCs, smartphones and tablets are now extensions of their mouths... in a matter of speaking.

They are now using their keyboards in addition to their mouths to spread the word.

Why does that seem so obvious to me yet seems lost on so many others?

Sources: blogs.wsj.com, mediapost.com, marketingprofs.com, hiscoxusa.com, Google Images, Social Media Marketing And Word Of Mouth Marketing Are Now The Same