From the Influencers

Despite Social Media, Most Customer Brand Advocacy Still Happens Offline

May 20, 2016

One of the most critical elements to any marketing campaign today is customer influence. Largely shaped by social media, customer influence is how strongly your customers act as brand advocates for you. Some customer opinions, however, matter more than others. While it may be great that your social media campaign is getting a lot of likes, most conversations between customers and potential customers still happen off-line.

So how do you parlay your social marketing into real customer influence? Creating new brand advocates ensures that when potential customers ask friends and family for advice, those advocates are more likely to recommend your brand. According to research presented in an infographic by Expertcity, 72 percent of customers seek out someone they consider to be knowledgeable. Identifying those knowledgeable influencers is critical, because these people wield a lot of power.

Influencers are:

  • 83 percent more likely to share information about products with others
  • 75 percent more likely to share a great product (or service) experience
  • More likely to be seen as a good source of information by people around them
  • 50 percent more likely to make a post on social media that influences sales

In-person conversations generate 30 times more brand impressions than social media, while providing credible recommendations that are more likely to influence consumer behavior.

Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing, or crafting a campaign specifically to translate online advocacy to in-person advocacy, is a lofty but achievable goal. One offline “word of mouth” impression drives five times more sales than one paid media impression, particularly with considered purchases, according to Expertcity’s infographic. Rather than blasting a one-size fits all message to a broad audience – as marketing has done from the beginning of time – marketing dollars are better spent identifying and targeting the people who can help move your brand ahead.

It’s also important to pick the channels when you look for influencers. Understand who is using what channel (Facebook’s audience, for example, may be wildly different from Snapchat’s) will help you identify a bigger pool of potential influencers. YouTube may be ideal, given the way it’s possible to produce radically different content to different viewers. Other influencers may be more reachable by mobile marketing engagement.

Whatever the channel of choice, the goal remains the same: to produce authentic and original content that communicates WITH customers or potential customers rather than AT them. Ensure the conversation goes both ways rather than simply posting material on social media and hope that it sticks. “Likes” aren’t enough: you need real feedback to understand how appealing your current campaign is, and what influencers might like to see more of in the future.

What becomes clear is that influencer marketing is a full-time job for a knowledgeable professional. Whether you craft the campaign in-house or outsource it to a digital marketing specialist, ensure that the person shaping influence in your organization understands your products and services as well as your best customers. Throwing money at sponsored content in social media – a tactic many companies engage in today – will never be enough. Your influencer marketing campaign needs to be authentic, it needs to be interactive and it needs to grow organically. 

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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