In 2017, a young man by the name of Carter Wilkinson single-handedly changed the record books by tweeting his desire for free chicken nuggets from Wendy’s for a year. The impacts of that one message were substantial:
- It became the most retweeted post of all time, beating Ellen Degeneres’ Oscar selfie.
- Mr. Wilkerson went from a few hundred Twitter followers to more than 100,000.
- Wendy’s earned 330 million social impressions and 149,000 new followers.
Did he get his nuggets? He certainly was granted entry into nugget heaven.
How can one single person cause such an impact? This is the power that can be unleashed by building your presence through the use of end consumers via influential techniques. Real people can cause an impact. It’s a significant source of market value, with Instagram alone estimated to be over 2.38 billion U.S. dollars by 2019.
We live in an era where consumers are inundated with media competing for their attention. Bombarded with content from countless angles, trust is the key driver to now win their hearts. It’s no longer just a matter of selling a product or service that works. Brands need to know why people care and what makes them meaningful. Three-quarters of consumers also expect these brands to “make more of a contribution to our well-being and quality of life.”
The reality is most (almost 81%) of our purchases are driven based on the recommendations of others. As we move deeper into a customer-led world, successful brands must focus on creating credibility of their offerings. The challenge lies in solely relying on direct marketing efforts to build this credibility. Why? To the consumer, it just looks like another marketing message. Leveraging customer influencers can help by taking advantage of peer recommendations to build trust with audiences indirectly.
How do brands leverage their customer influencers to build awareness and generate demand?
1. Deeper insight into your target customers
Your influencers will typically be advocates for your products and services who also have a social presence. Analyzing their comments and follower engagement will provide a better picture of their needs, giving brands the ability to readjust strategies and offerings based on sentiment analysis.
2. Humanize your offerings
Buyers believe people, not brands. By utilizing the face, voice, knowledge, and skill of your influencer, brands can create more relatable and believable experiences for consumers.
3. Help those in need, but be authentic
Influencer marketing is about helping people, not selling to people. Messaging should aim to clearly demonstrate how your offering helps fulfill a need as opposed to providing false hope. At the same time, it should be authentic. Use negative sentiment to drive your future marketing strategy and roadmap.
A key goal of influencer marketing is to build advocacy, which in turn drives loyalty, growth, and ultimately, fuels increased market share. It takes time, focus, and honesty. With the positive comes some negative. That said, negative customer feedback can be considerably more credible than an advertisement will ever be if reincorporated back into your marketing strategy and product roadmap.
For more customer experience strategies, see Customer Experience: Keeping It Real.