Under the Influence

Brand Ambassador Programs
Influencer Marketing

Your fool-proof guide to getting the right people talking about your brand.

THE POWER OF A CONVERSATION

Enter the rise of the Internet and new media — from social media sites to blogs to online review sites, etc. With all of this came the ability for all of us to easily, freely and publicly broadcast and engage on an unprecedented scale. Marketing became less of a one-way conversation and more of an every-which-way cacophony. Consumers and advocates around the globe are now becoming more visible in their conversations about brands and their products to other consumers. Clearly the definition of influencers has changed.

However, research shows consumers still value first-hand recommendations from their peers more than any form of marketing. That means the conversations in-the-know influencers are having every day make the biggest impact. And great news: Influencers provide a way for brands to measure WOM impact in a digital age. In turn, brands have a huge opportunity to leverage the power of influencers’ conversations to maximize sales impact both on and off the sales floor.

WHAT THE STUDIES REVEAL

Consider the stats. According to the November 2014 Return on WOM study by the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA):
WOM has been shown to drive 13% of consumer sales.

That’s about $6 trillion annually. And it bolsters paid media by 15 percent. Some two-thirds of offline sales are accounted for by WOM — the other one-third by online social media.

Also 80% of your WOM comes from the top 20% of your brand’s influencers—and their commitment to your brand deserves special recognition and treatment.

So, what does this mean for your brand?

You can earn significant ROI by engaging with influencers who interact with consumers that place a high value on credible, trusted opinions.

1. FIND OUT WHO YOU SHOULD BE TALKING TO—AND WHO WILL DO THE MOST TALKING FOR YOUR BRAND.

The key is distinguishing between casual fans and influential brand advocates who can make a big impact on moving the ROI needle. Having thousands of followers on Twitter or Likes on Facebook implies potential reach, but what matters most is the impact influencers have on conversations about your brand and, ultimately, sales.

Influencers are the people who, through either firsthand experience, industry experience or at retail, are recognized for their product expertise and know-how. They’re passionate and vocal about their brand loyalties and purchasing behaviors, and motivated to spread the word.

91%

of brand mentions come from people with fewer than 500 followers on their social network.

Now, you just need to connect with the people having those influential conversations wherever they’re taking place—be it on the sales floor, in the field, or at the dinner table.

2. ENGAGE AND EDUCATE THOSE INFLUENCERS.

You’ve found your top influencers. Now what?

of WOM involves personal experience, which is more credible and leads to more sales.

To maximize this impact, you must deliver targeted content and campaigns to dedicated retail associates and top influencers who can both speak knowledgeably about product features and drum up enthusiasm by expressing their personal preference for the brand.

Your top influencers are already hungry to learn more about your products.

Reward that passion with insider knowledge and information that speaks to their goals and priorities. Then reinforce the message by getting your product into their hands to create first-hand experiences that impact recommendations and influence purchase decisions.

3. REWARD THEIR EXPERTISE AND MAKE IT EASY FOR THEM TO TALK ABOUT YOUR PRODUCTS.

So, how do you actually go about maximizing the impact of that “talk?”

Help your influencers reach brand ambassador status. Consumers like to feel like they’re engaging with a brand directly — like they’re part of its culture and like the brand values their opinion and expertise. Top influencers are often willing to co-brand themselves with their favorite brands if they feel their connection is real and valued. Articulate why you care, and back up your commitment with perks, exclusive events, and special offers—and your audience will listen and “pay it forward” by sharing what you have to offer with friends and family.

of marketers are scheduled to increase their influencer marketing budgets over the next 12 months.