Every business owner knows the value of referrals. When people are referred to you, they arrive pretty much open to your products/services.
Referrals are a natural part of human interaction. We talk with each other, and we want to share with each other our thoughts, feelings, ideas, and much more--like a new restaurant in town or a plumber we know.
Social media like Facebook and Twitter provide a mechanism for these interactions. But there are some other ways you can promote referrals for your business.
Nutritionist -- Mary has lots of training and experience in nutrition. To connect with new clients, she regularly gives informational talks and sessions at wellness centers, senior centers, organizational meetings and other venues. She answers lots of questions, makes future appointments, and hands out literature. All this results in people subsequently talking about her in the community. Referrals come in. These activities speed up a naturally-occurring process, and they are in addition to her Twitter and Facebook postings.
Electrician -- Ralph is an electrician working alone, carrying his tools and equipment with him in his van. He targets homeowners and small businesses, handling their electrical problems and needs. Every time he finishes a job, Ralph meets with the customer, explaining the work and answering any questions before presenting his bill. Then, he hands the customer a half-dozen business cards asking that they pass them on to friends, neighbors, and other business owners. It is a simple process, but it has worked for Ralph. People receiving his business card call him to fix their problems.
Interior design -- Eric takes a more aggressive approach to getting referrals. He is an interior designer handling residential and commercial clients. When he finishes an assignment, he asks for referrals and frequently receives a couple on the spot. Then, in about three months, he calls the client again, asks if there's anything else he might do for them, and, again, asks for referrals. Not only does this provide client follow-up, but it results in more referrals. He also maintains relationships with several real estate professionals who pass on to him referrals of new people moving into the area.
There's more to life today than Twitter and Facebook. Some older methods still work very well.