No one is a better influencer than a satisfied customer. Imagine exerting a little effort in influencer marketing because you have customers who naturally become your influencers. Satisfied customers voluntarily talk about your brand and encourage their followers to check it out. That’s the ideal scenario, isn’t it?
Wait, what is an influencer?
An influencer is a person who through delivering entertaining or quality content in their niche wields organic influence on their significant following. They enjoy relatively wide reach and good engagement. Their followers tune in to their channels for entertaining or informative posts.
What many marketers fail to account is that influencers are consumers too. That means being an influencer and a customer are not mutually exclusive. When a social media influencer buys your products or procures your services and they are satisfied, they can feature your brand on their channels. They can give you a shoutout, and that’s one of the best things that can happen to your brand on social media. Imagine having someone on Instagram with a hundred thousand followers posting a snap of your goods and encouraging her followers to go check ‘em out. You didn’t even do anything. There’s one satisfied influencer who does it for you.
Isn’t that amazing?
You, however, have to be lucky to find one. Or maybe you just have to be strategic. The strategy begins in your own brand. Good brands don’t fail. So if you have a good brand, if you created something with quality, it’s just right to bring it forth and show it around.
How do you make sure your customers will do it for you?
- Stimulate brand advocacy.
Brand advocacy is much more effective than leads from search. If the brand advocate is an influencer, the effects are even more tremendous. To foster brand advocacy in customers, influencers hopefully included, you have to know what they want and give them that.
How do you know what they want? Look at sales. Eventually what sells in the long run is what works and what customers like. You can’t keep selling stuff that people don’t buy. And no one’s going to talk about things that people don’t buy.
- Thank your buyers.
Whether you do it personally or online, expressing gratitude is heartwarming for customers. They like it when businesses appreciate their purchase. It means you value them. It creates good impressions and elevates their perception of your brand. Customers who felt good during their purchase because the staff was friendly and grateful may post about what they feel on their social channels, thereby giving your brand a plug. Imagine if you come across a random consumer who happens to be an Instagram celebrity.
- Offer great deals.
You have no idea how great deals, discounts, and promos create a buzz on social media. You post about it on your social channels, and suddenly your audience pass it around. Promos are more interesting than regular sales offers. Why? Who doesn’t want special deals? Who doesn’t want knocked down prices? Who doesn’t want getting freebies? Anyone, regular customers and social influencers alike, love them. People pass it around. Eventually someone with lots of followers comes across your promo, becomes interested, and shares a random post about it with her followers. It’s not uncommon. You’re not even doing influencer marketing actively yet.
- Ask for feedback.
You have to make your customers feel that their opinion is important. You have to make them feel that you want them to be part of your brand improvement. Giving them a voice works for your business in many ways. It boosts their morale. You make a better impression on them. You get key information from them that will guide you in improving your business. It creates communication and deepens your relationship with your existing customers. It doesn’t matter whether you’re after brand loyalty or advocacy or whether you’re secretly hoping a social media influencer will make inputs. Asking for feedback is a crucial aspect of any business.
You can ask for opinions in your channel. You can create a poll and encourage customers to join. Encourage people to write reviews and testimonials. An influencer may be waiting for such an encouragement to write a piece of fair feedback on your brand, which is probably just what it needs to get more clicks.
Feedback doesn’t have to come in form of writing. You can be creative. For instance, ask customers to take selfies with your products or do a video tour at your business place and share the pictures or videos with their followers. You know how much young people love to take selfies and videos. Don’t dismiss people’s willingness to help small businesses shine by doing such small favors that are fun to do.
- Encourage customers to share wonderful stories.
A lot of your customers have success stories with your products or services. Maybe your carpet cleaning service saved them a lot of trouble. Maybe your chic summer collection was to drool for. Maybe they had the best dining experience in years at your restaurant.
Perhaps it’s off-putting to ask people to do something, but don’t keep on dismissing the perks of asking. Sometimes all you need to do for people to give you a plug is to ask.
- Invite key people.
Now you can maximize the benefit of getting stories about your brand written by key people. Invite bloggers, review writers, authority figures, and professionals in your industry to come and try your product or service. Do you need to do influencer targeting? You may or may not.
These people are always looking for something to talk about and are more than grateful to accept the offer of free products for demos or free service in exchange for reviews. We see this a lot — companies inviting writers to test their brand and write about it. It has been working so far without these influencers looking like they are promoting it.
In many cases, such friendly gestures jump starts connections and relationships, and before you know it, you’re on the phone with one of them for a collaborative work. It happens. Be optimistic.
This isn’t even influencer marketing. Well, it doesn’t look like it. But it works like you’re marketing with a social influencer.
- Invest in good customer service.
What you do after sales are made is as important as what you do before. Too many businesses have been plagued by bad customer service — phone calls that don’t get answered, complaints that aren’t attended to, inquiries without replies, and emails that lead to cursing.
What turns customers into advocates and influencers for your brand isn’t what they think about it, but what they feel about it. Emotions are powerful mechanisms that drive action. When people feel appreciated they tend to reciprocate. When they resent your customer service, they surely will write about it. Look no further than your irate friends who had to vent feelings of frustration on Facebook due to some bad hotel or restaurant service.
Bad customer service ruins your business and renders all your marketing efforts useless. You can have the best social media and influencer marketing strategy, and poor customer support is all you need to reverse your success. Social influencers don’t work with businesses with significant amount of bad reviews from angry customers.
Attend to consumer queries and complaints politely. Be friendly. Make them feel that their concerns are important to you.
- Nurture relationships with your customers.
You don’t know who you’re being friends with. It could be a housewife, another entrepreneur, or a social media influencer. You can’t be friends with all of them. Be friends with active buyers, active social media audience, and especially those with active channels. Connect with them. Comment on their posts. Invite them to events. Make these key people feel they’re VIP.
You’re not doing influencer marketing, at least not in its entire essence. You’re simply doing what business people ought to be doing. Indeed, good practices in business are a form of marketing on its own that is organic and brings better results than some fancy and expensive tactic that doesn’t live up to expectations.
Influencer marketing strategy can become too technical and it doesn’t suit everyone. Some entrepreneurs just don’t like actively seeking for famous people online. They want to take it slow and take it in their own terms. But just because you’re that kind of person doesn’t mean you won’t get noticed. Eventually all your hard work and good practices will pay off.