Social media has changed the way businesses function across all departments. Today, businesses of all sizes cannot ignore the presence of social media as social networks serve as the go-to place for conversation through reviews, praise, complaints, questions, etc.
Word of mouth is the most trusted method of advertisement, making it one of the most powerful techniques in business.
When looking for a restaurant or to purchase a product, consumers rely on review-based sites such as Yelp or customer reviews on sites like Amazon over traditional advertising or marketing. Or they will ask friends or followers for opinions on a certain product or service. It is unlikely that customers will frequent a restaurant or buy a product that has received negative reviews from a friend or other consumers online.
Because the opinion from a trusted source has a huge impact purchasing decisions, brands and businesses should take advantage of online influencers – social network users whose opinions the public trusts who can also serve as top tier brand ambassadors.
Influencers can range from celebrities to trusted reviewers to bloggers to the girl next door. There are two types of influencers to keep in mind: top influencers by impact (those with the highest following) and top influencers by volume (those who mention your brand or product the most frequently). With tools like Viralheat, businesses can identify their top influencers and reach out to them.
So what does a business do after its identified key influencers? Let’s take a look at how businesses can benefit from online influencers.
Reaching a large audience
There are highly influential people on social networks with a hefty following to boot. Reaching out to your brand’s top influencers by impact ensures you the highest potential to reach the biggest audience as these individuals have a large following. If you are a product-based company, you can connect with these influencers and offer samples of the product for them to review and share their opinion online. Their friends and followers are then more likely to try the product because someone they trust recommended it.
Rewarding loyal customers
Happy customers are repeat customers. Repeat customers turn into loyal customers. Loyal customers are more likely to spread the word or recommend their favorite brands or products. Businesses should reach to their top influencers by volume as these users are already loyal customers who talk about the brand frequently. Brands with a strong penchant to customer service can improve customer service and customer experience with a little customer acknowledgement – an offer for a free product or discounted service for being loyal customers or expressing gratitude through kind words or thanks.
Promoting a new product
One of the challenges of launching a successful new product is promoting it and finding people to use it. Reaching out to influencers by both volume and impact is a beneficial route for new products. Users who mention a brand often or have mentioned a brand in the past are more inclined to try a new product from the brand. Often times, many of these influencers are bloggers who review products and share their opinions with their online audiences. Some bloggers even hold contests with products they test, exciting their followers and causing them to talk about the opportunity on their own networks. Connecting with these influencers give the product a better chance to be reviewed and shared about.
Keep in mind that consumers rely heavily on reviews and the opinions of those they trust. All businesses should take the time to identify their influencers and reach out to them, as these relationships are beneficial in a number of ways. The power of word of mouth and online influencers go hand in hand, and the combination of the two can help a business make a difference in any campaign – from sales to promotion to launches.