Do You Know Who Your Influencers Are?
In a time when consumers trust what other people say about brands more than the brands themselves, knowing who your most influential customers are has never been more important. The good news is that the investment and time required to take care of your influencers is usually pretty low — but the return on investment can be very high.
Why influencers matter
Influencers have the ability to shape opinions of people around them, and also have a large audience at their disposal. Winning over influencers, giving them the best customer service and surpassing their expectations can boost your company’s PR, brand perception, and customer acquisition and retention efforts.
Influencers who are content with your service and products are your most important customers. They have high "total referral value," so even if they aren't the highest-spending customers, public approval by them can immediately attract many more customers.
If Walt Mossberg, a tech writer for the Wall Street Journal, reviews and highly recommends your company's gadget, you can expect to have a backlog of orders. And while very few of your customers have the influence of a Walt Mossberg, you can get a massive number of referrals by creating nurturing programs for the top 5 percent of your most influential customers.
On the other hand, influencers can also be your biggest nightmare. Just ask Southwest Airlines. Earlier this year, the airline kicked off a passenger for being overweight because he didn't fit comfortably in one airplane seat. Turns out this passenger was actor/director Kevin Smith, who has over a million followers on Twitter. He made sure all of them knew about his humiliating experience multiple times. In the end, Southwest issued a public apology and offered the actor a ticket voucher — but not before word had spread across the social web.