Desperately needing treatment if he was to return to full mobility, Westerweller wasn’t willing to put his health in anyone’s hands. He was also reluctant to go down the regular path of the big medical centers and hospitals. He needed someone local, someone experienced, and someone he could trust. He then turned to Facebook to seek advice from friends.
“A mate of mine recommended his friend Michael Cohen from Chiro Sports, Coogee. I had rehab with Michael for six months and he got me back better than new,” he says.
With the return to full health came a realization for Westerweller. His health had been saved by a trusted, local, small business owner. And it was all through one lucky case of word-of-mouth online.
Now, Westerweller wants everyone to be so lucky. He has created Mate of Mine, a website designed to raise the awareness about the importance of small business to communities and the local economy, and via Facebook to connect friends needing help or services to small businesses in their area.
Westerweller isn’t alone when asking for advice online. “Nearly half of social media users ask their friends for advice every day” a study commissioned by mobile service provider Amaysim has found. The most commonly sought assistance is for entertainment, restaurants, holiday spots and parental advice.
Hayley Markham recently turned to Facebook to seek advice from her friends for a local baby photographer. “Why would you bother calling a someone, when you can type and ask hundreds”, she says. Within a few minutes, Markham had a list of recommended photographers her friend’s value and trust.
Facebook recommendations are quickly becoming the most trusted source of information available. Friends can easily provide names, numbers and URL links of the businesses they support. Evidence suggests that 9/10 friends recommend a mutual Facebook friends business.