Should you increase word-of-mouth referrals during a recession. Yes, but with a caveat.
Only if you don't have any money to do anything else to increase your market share. When times are good, people usually have more money than time, so networking is relatively expensive. When times are bad, you usually have more time than money, and valuing your time at $0/hour is harmless. Go for it! But, by the same token networking is dangerous during a pandemic. And you are going to meet more people who want to sell to you than buy from you.