Any time you talk to a DJ in the club, they’ll tell you all about how they’re the biggest and best rising star. It doesn’t take long before you develop a healthy level of skepticism. With millions of musicians claiming to be the best, but only a hundred dominating the radio waves and Billboard charts, you have to take these people’s word with a grain of salt. What’s much more valuable than the word of the actual artist is an endorsement from her fans.
This dynamic holds true in any industry – while marketing directly to customers is good, convincing influential customers to recommend your brand to their social circles is better. A personal endorsement from a trusted and reputable source will build customer loyalty far better than an advertisement from a stranger.
Finding Influential Customers
Using online social media tools like Klout, it’s possible to see how many followers your customers have across social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube, and more. You can even see what topics they’re most influential on. This helps focus on customers who are most likely to post messages about the products and services your business offers to the largest audiences.
These are your influential customers (also known as whales), and building customer loyalty starts with impressing these people.
Incentivizing Influential Customers
Motivating influential customers to talk about your business online means giving them an incentive to do so. First and foremost, it’s vital to provide a stellar experience to every customer to ensure they have a positive association with the brand.
It’s also important to create a social media presence to make sure your company exists everywhere your customers do. This means creating pages on Facebook, Twitter, and all the other social media platforms, as well as getting listed on local business sites like Yelp, Foursquare, and Google Maps. Don’t overlook email marketing either – businesses find it to be a great avenue for reaching influential customers.
Once you’ve established an online presence, it’s time to put it to use. Create content that appeals to your demographic, combining pertinent information, branding, and visuals that encourage sharing. Look at memes and shared content on your own social media feeds for examples of what’s likely to trend within your own social circles to get an idea of what people look for.
Offer incentives through social media to motivate influential customers to share with their friends. Discounts are popular, as are customer referral bonuses, contests, and giveaways. Be creative to entice customers, and be sure to offer special VIP treatment to those who influence the most people to check out your business.
Be Gracious and Courteous
While everyone appreciates a good deal, it’s necessary to add a personal touch. Be involved on social media and follow your own posts. If someone leaves a comment, reply to them, thanking them for their kind words, answering any questions, or resolving any problems. When someone shares the post, be sure to like and comment on it to show you’re paying attention.
People want to feel special, and interacting with customers throughout social media shows they’re a valued part of your social circle. This level of personal service makes influential customers see your company as a trusted part of the family. It also encourages social media algorithms to display your posts more often in their feeds, increasing the likelihood they’ll be seen in the constant stream of updates.
By working hand-in-hand with influential customers, your company can see increased revenue of up to 50%, according to a recent study by Ninja Metrics. With email and social media being practically free, it only makes sense to utilize these tools to increase outreach to influential customers. Extending your brand’s marketing reach through willing volunteers is the best business decision you’ll make today, so get started now.
Brian Penny is a contributor to the Connectivity blog.