Are Your Customers The Next Influencers?

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There is a new wave of influencers coming, and those are your customers. Things are changing fast and has become clearer and clearer: you are looking to strengthen your social proof, consumers can do some of the work for you.

The Cambridge Dictionary describes brand champions as such: “a manager who is responsible for creating and developing a brand and encouraging support for it, both inside and outside a company”.

When we talk about brand champions, I am talking about employees, customers, and ambassadors who really believe in a brand and are advocating it effortlessly to the world – these are the ones that can make a greater impact with less reach, as explored in Make an Impact: the Six Habits of Highly Influential People.

Why Consumers Are The New Brand Champions

From a study conducted by Jonah Berger for his book Contagious: “the average American engages in more than sixteen word – of – mouth episodes, separate conversations where they say something positive or negative about an organization, brand, product, or service”.

A very good example of brand champions, however, are consumers. The reason that is the case is pretty much within the definition of the expression itself, as brand champions are the ones who spread the brand vision and brand values. They are the ones that are most likely to live and breathe a brand and want it to succeed.

When examining your customer list to identify influencers, I would suggest exploring the impact they have on others’ behavior. Things like their social identity, size of their online community, overall reach, and their actual relevance. Truthfully, relevance wins over reach.

As Sprout Social‘s latest report for 2018 seems to outline, celebrity influencers are rapidly losing their power. From the same report, it is outlined as consumers are almost twice as likely to consider a product recommended from a friend rather than an influencer or celebrity. 61% say they’d be more likely to research a product or service recommended on social by a friend versus only 36% for professional influencers.

According to findings published by BazaarVoice, the repetitive nature of the content (47%) and dipping quality (23%) are now top customer concerns around influencer marketing. Indeed, things have to change, and consumers seem to be the answer.

Friends & Family Heavily Influence Purchase Decisions

The opinion of your consumers goes beyond a specific sponsored or monetary retribution and becomes a true champion who will seamlessly use a certain product in various instances on their everyday life. This is where the influence of your customers become a great asset for companies, and where brand champions can be great holders of positive influence.

A recent report by Stackla revealed that only 23% of people believe content from celebrities and influencers is influential. Alternatively, 60% say content from friends or family influences their purchasing decisions.

There are two secret weapons to harness the power of consumers:

Personalized Messages

Take the time to send a personal message to your customers to thank them for their support. In both business-to-business (B2B) business-to-consumer (B2C) industry verticals, customers crave personalized messages from brands to which they have an intellectual or emotional connection. This sort of strategy boosts brand loyalty, and increases the virality of the message itself, which overall grows your reach – a win-win!

Encourage Reviews

Over one third (34%) of UK respondents to BazaaarVoice’s study, regularly look for consumer-generated content, such as customer reviews, and 78% state customer content helps verify what influencers are saying and remove bias. Encouraging reviews (either on Google, Facebook or elsewhere) is the quickest way to get social proof in an efficient way.



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