Modern marketing revolves around the concept of “influence.”
Influence is everywhere in our lives. We’re influenced by traditional marketing like TV commercials and billboards, word of mouth recommendations from people we trust and who we know IRL and yes, we are most certainly influenced by influencers.
With people now spending an average of 2 hours and 25 minutes a day on social media, we don’t doubt that you’re already executing a smart and strategic social media marketing plan. Social media has proven time and again to be an excellent source of results in every stage of the marketing funnel. But are you utilizing social media to its fullest potential? It’s possible to reach a deeper level of influence with a higher level of trust by tapping into the richest of resources: social media brand advocates, otherwise known as “social media influencers.”
Social media influencers are an important piece of influence marketing. The influence marketing umbrella includes anyone who your prospective customers trust in your category. The primary buckets of influence include: industry media, category experts, employees on your team and social media influencers.
Our “Circles of Influence” diagram helps us understand the most efficient way to influence a customer. Each concentric circle represents a method in which influence marketing reaches a potential customer. For this example we’re looking specifically at:
- Friends, family, colleagues
- Industry experts, media and partners
- Social media brand advocates
- Retailers, dealers or distributors
- Company-employed sales reps
- Traditional marketing — social, digital, print, etc.
The people in each circle may be different for your business or even for various campaigns. As we move outward in the circles, further away from the customer, the level of trust in the message decreases. That is to say that a customer has the highest level of trust in a recommendation from friends, family and colleagues and the lowest level of inherent trust in overt marketing tactics like social, digital and print.
If we look at the circles of influence from a marketing stand point, a brand has less direct, message-controlled access as we move into the circles. These categories are less accessible and don’t typically have trackable metrics.
A proven way to reach a customer with a strategic marketing message with a high level of inherent trust is to tap into social media brand advocates. This is one of the closest ways a brand can get to the customer with a controlled message.
Why do customers trust social media influencers? They likely follow them because they’re similar, yet inspirational to them in some way. A customer can’t click the follow button on accident — they willing choose to follow an influencer because the messages the influencer shares resonate with them in some capacity. They trust them — and, in turn, they trust the products or services that they share back with their community.
The thing that’s most notable about influencers is they’re likely already big fans of your company. Take for instance, this pig farmer who already loved Purina® Nature’s Match® or this trusted chef who beams about HeartBrand Beef. These influencers already loved the products. By working directly with them, we were able to amplify their recommendations to each influencer’s audience.
Now, think about the superfans of your products. They’re an untapped marketing resource just waiting to be utilized (and in many cases, hoping that your brand will notice their loyalty). Best of all, their followers trust their recommendations.
Imagine your brand is throwing a dart at the “Circles of Influence” diagram. Wouldn’t you want your marketing dart to land as close to the customer bullseye as possible?