Target Influencers for Profitable Word-of-Mouth Marketing
Once you've identified influencers, track their behaviors. Influencers' audiences include not just the assumed demographic, but also unexpected sets of consumers, according to the research. People who are influencers recommend in three categories or fewer, the whitepaper finds. And these recommendations are typically made in personal settings. Regardless of how influencers receive product information — via email, first-hand experience or in-store promotion — about 90 percent of word-of-mouth communication occurs face-to-face or via phone, reports ICOM.
Influencers simply aren't committed to specific media, finds the whitepaper. On average, they spend five hours per week on Facebook, compared with 4.5 hours for the standard consumer. But what influencers are consistently doing is sharing information found online via email.
Online resources and social media should be used to ensure influencers are reached in a variety of channels, while not excluding proven techniques such as direct mail, advises the whitepaper. But because influencers talk more frequently at the kitchen table than on their desktops, your message should be familiar and conversational.
The whitepaper provides the following strategies marketers can implement into their businesses to locate and engage influencers in ways that'll benefit their companies:
- Once targeted based on their behavior, engage influencers with tailored messages across multiple channels to become ambassadors for your brand.
- Influencers aren't more prone to social media — industry statistics show most word-of-mouth activity takes place offline. Therefore, leverage social media while maintaining other touchpoints to maximize your ability to connect and motivate these powerful consumers.
- Coupons and in-store promotions are more likely to capture the interest of influencers; they're also more likely to sign up for brand websites or e-newsletters.
- Influencers aren't interacting in any one media channel in ways that are vastly different from average consumers. Target whom you want to reach, examine the various channels and then integrate the two to assure they're hitting all touchpoints. For example, since influencers like to talk person-to-person, direct mail may be a highly effective method for getting your physical message from influencers to their networks, while still being able to direct their interaction with your brand in a way that meets your goals — i.e., drive them to your corporate website or Facebook page.