What’s behind the success of anything and anyone? Its not the advertising, promotion, or even the “connections”. Today its about expertise, and yes, a bit (or allot) of “perception”.
Potential customers, and/or at least indeed people who will tell their friends about you need to believe that you have the solution to their current challenge. That can be achieved in many ways, social media, networking, delivering great products or services, etc. Today though, advertising will not do the trick.