Are you a marketer having trouble finding the right influencers for your business? Stop the endless search - you already know who your most valuable influencers are, because they’re right under your nose. Allow me to explain!
In a previous post, I discussed the importance of leveraging micro-influencers for your brand — tapping into those who have a smaller audience but greater engagement, that might be able to bring real value to your business.
This post is an expansion on that same concept, but using influencers you already know.
As my colleague and our Director of Accounts, Tatiana Natzke, put it while speaking on a SXSW panel earlier this year - “Influencers can be anybody: analysts, celebrities, or even your employees or customers. Stop speaking about your own brand, and let others speak for you.”
The most valuable influencers for your brand are those you already have relationships with, because they trust you. Whether they are your existing clients / customers or colleagues, they already know what your business is about, and are primed and ready to become champions for it. That's where the value comes in — value that is more important than ever in the trust economy that we live in today. The importance of transparency and trust is now front and center in the digital marketing industry, because who knows when we'll have our next social media data breach, regulation, or have to deal with fake accounts and bots? By using your customers and colleagues as influencers, you will build up trust around your brand in an organic and human way. When your customers see your social media presence, they want it to feel like having coffee with their friends — conversational, insightful, humorous, and helpful — and this approach to influencer marketing
"Every employee is a brand ambassador for your company. Unless they are inspired by your own campaigns, how could you expect consumers not working at the company to be inspired?" - Raja Rajamannar, Mastercard
Here are 3 good reasons why you should tap into your existing customers to find your most valuable influencers:
1. The stats don't lie.
Data gathered by McKinsey & Company found word-of-mouth referrals from a trusted source is the primary influential factor behind 20% to 50% of all consumer purchasing decisions. A study by Simply Measured found that 90% of consumers trust peer recommendations, while only 33% trust ads. Ask yourself - who trusts you more than those who already know you or work with you? You don't need to create ads to get your customers to buy, you need to engage your current customers to help you find new ones.
2. The door is already open for a conversation.
What you may not realize is that you're probably already creating the content to recruit customers as influencers, but you just aren’t using it for that purpose yet. Think about the thank you emails you send or the pop-up contact forms you use on your website. Those can be used to talk to your customers about the possibility of micro-influencing. Happy customers are more likely to agree to help out, but you need to ask them at the right time, so try incorporating influencer messaging in the communication you already use.
3. It only takes a spark to light a fire.
Look for unique collaboration opportunities that are mutually beneficial. Does your client or colleague have a new product coming out? Offer to promote it for them in exchange for them promoting one of your products or services. All it takes is one or two social shares of a good recommendation about your brand for the word to spread. Shoe company Shoes of Prey worked with their customers and micro-influencers to create a product giveaway, which helped them increase sales by 300%. While you might not be a shoe design company, you can still work with your micro-influencers to create giveaways or events designed to appeal to your target audience. After all, who knows them better than your customers?