Influencers tell a brand everything, from what they should be doing and how to what they’re doing wrong. Influencers actually spell out social marketing for community managers, the managers just have to listen.
Influencers have a lot of clout with their followers and can be viewed in more relatable terms than big brands. Paying attention to influencers is so important because if they create an excitement about your brand online which in turn brings you credibility and a bigger customer base. The internet has opened the doors for millions of businesses. Search engines have created the needle in the hay stack challenge for businesses. While discouraging for many brands the pains of marketing in the digital age can be alleviated if influencers are recognized and respected.
Influencers are like this; you’re making a decision in your life – this could be what dress to buy, where to go to college, or what car to buy – who do you ask opinions of? Most likely you ask your family and closest friends for advice like this because you trust them. They are influencers to you. You’re at the hardware store picking out a paint color and you have it narrowed down but you don’t know which brand to get. You ask the closest person to an expert you know, the store employee. The employee acts as an influencer. How about when you’re at a restaurant and you ask the waitress “What do you suggest?” Who better to ask than someone who knows the menu besides for the owner?
The point is influencers are everywhere and we all are one at some point in our life. Influencers work the same way online. You form an opinion based off of what people are saying online and that opinion is stronger based on the credibility of who it came from. For brands, influencers are a huge opportunity to create free marketing and to become a better brand all around.
Influencers can act as free marketers for brands if the brand is doing things right. While it should be the goal of all companies to make their customers happy satisfying influencers goes a lot further than a follow up purchase from a loyal customer. Influencers spread the word about your business for you. They tell consumers everything you want to tell them. The difference between your brand telling a message and an influencer telling the message is the influencer has no stake in your game. A brand is not going to talk poorly about their products. They will market every product even if it is a failure. Influencers only support what is truly likeable. The most important aspect of influencers is their buying power with consumers. Consumers make their purchasing decisions based on the experiences and statements of influencers. If a brand makes the influencers happy they will more than satisfy all their customers.
While influencers have no stake in the game it is important for brands to reach out to and even reward these people. A simple tweet back to an influencer makes a huge difference. Influencers, big or small, want to be heard. Acknowledgement and a reward as small as a coupon not only make the specific customer happy, that customer tells the world their story and in turn makes your brand more personable and likeable.
An important aspect to utilizing influencers is to remember to pay attention to the influencers who are not in your favor. Whether people are speaking negatively about your brand or they are speaking positively (or negatively) about a competitor brand a business can learn what is and is not working. No matter how much they try business are not their customers. It is difficult to stay on top of everything your customers are looking for. Listening to the negative or competitor influencers will highlight the problem areas in your name.
No matter what a brand does with influencers they must listen to them. Listening to your influencers will make or break your business because these are the people on the front line. We all love something, Nike, Jeep, McDonalds, but we got to loving these brands by trusting the experiences of people like us. The internet has made it possible for the “people like us” to share their stories to the masses.