So many brands are now choosing to work with influencers. Working with influencers is attractive to many brands for a number of reasons. They are appealing to work with for their wide reach, engaging followers and reliable reputation.
However, could the influencers with the greatest power be people who already know your brand? Perhaps these customers are the greatest influencers you need?
In my opinion the whole aim of working with an influencer is to catapult your brand with members of your target audience that you might not be able to reach on your own. However, surely your existing customers are likely to have family and friends that hold the same interests and values to some extent. Therefore, our customers could be vital at influencing their peers to engage with your brand.
The art of authentic conversation
Influencers create conversations around the brands they promote and so do consumers. How many times have you shown a friend a new product you purchased that you just love? Or recommended a brand that you’re obsessed with? Chances are A LOT. I know I’m always quick to share brands that I’ve enjoyed purchasing from. Especially small businesses! Maybe these meaningful conversations and recommendations can be created around your brand through your customers?
Authenticity is key. Yes we are aware that influencers do genuinely promote brands they are passionate about. However at the same time we must remember that they make their income from paid promotions. Brands will pay influencers to promote their products in a positive light. I mean do you really think if Kim Kardashian wasn’t getting a nice fee she would promote half of the brands that she does because they are brands she believes in? In fact in 2018 a study undertaken by authors Jay Baer & Daniel Lemim suggests that ‘25% of Americans don’t trust famous ipeople’s product recommendations. ‘
Using your customers as influencers definitely has its benefits. Somebody that already loves your brand, talking about it or posting content around it is genuine. It’s authentic. Audiences respond well to recommendations from people they know. The same study I mentioned earlier found that ‘45% of people value their friends’ opinions when buying from a brand’.
Make your brand the word on everyone’s lips. Put some effort into pushing your customers to act as unofficial influencers. Let’s explore some really simple ways that you can do this. These methods below can be adapted to any brand. Whether you’ve got a large customer base or you’re just starting out.
Do you use an online shop to sell your products? If so, then customers that place an order could receive a ‘friends & family discount code’ in their order confirmation email. This is something really easy to track via your online shop and you will know if it is being utilised.
Let’s say your brand revolves around beauty treatments, personal training or even pet sitting services. These services will usually involve repeat custom. Why not offer your clients ‘20% off a service for themselves and a friend when they refer a new client to your business’. This is something that is very cost effective and could potentially lead to multiple new repeat customers.
Create a campaign
Create a simple social media campaign that encourages your customers to share your products regularly. If you are a fashion brand you could use a hashtag such as “#fashionfridays’ encouraging your customers to use the hashtag in the content of them wearing your products. Not only does this encourage a recurring opportunity for customers to share, it gives you brand content. Make sure you interact with every response to your campaign. Share the responses on your social media channels and even reward your favourites with a free product or 10% off.
Make sure you respond to everyone that reviews your products, whether it’s positive or negative. If a customer has left a positive review, perhaps offer them 10% off their next order. This indicates that you value their custom and the time they took to big up your brand in a review.
Similarly, if a customer has left a negative review due to something that you are actually accountable for, make sure you respond. This could involve something like a damaged product or a delay in delivery etc. Resolve the issue how you see fit and maybe offer a discount code, should they decide to shop with you again. Not only will this show that you don’t hide from negative reviews and only acknowledge the good but also that you made a mistake and learnt from it. Furthermore, by offering a gesture like a discount code shows that you sincerely hope that you can improve the customers future shopping experience with your brand.
So there you have it. We’ve discussed the importance of our customers ability to act as influencers. Now, move forward implementing your own methods to get them talking about and sharing your brand!