September 13, 2012
/ by Eileen Bernardo
The advent of social media has changed how businesses function – from sales techniques to marketing strategies to customer service efforts. There are many opportunities online for businesses of all sizes, as social networks are ripe grounds for conversation through reviews, complaints, praise, questions, etc. Consumers tend to believe and trust the opinion of someone they know over traditional advertising or marketing, making word of mouth one of the most powerful techniques in business. A glowing or scathing review from a trusted source can make a huge impact on a brand.
Brand and companies should take advantage of the way social networks function. There are highly influential social network users whose opinions the public trust – and many have a hefty following to boot. These users can act as top tier ambassadors for a brand, especially if there is a good relationship between the individual and brand. This is why brands of all sizes should identify who these influencers are and reach out to them. Identifying influencers is a powerful technique that companies and brands should take advantage of. Tools like Viralheat can identify top influencers by impact (those who have the highest following) and volume (those who mention your brand or product the most frequently).
Let’s take a look at how three different businesses – a major brand, an independent music artist, and a local business – can benefit from influencer identification.
Major brand – Kiehls
Kiehls, the American cosmetics brand retailer, specializes in making premium skin, hair, and nail body care products. Because of the type of products Kiehls carries, they can reach out to their influencers and offer samples or discounts on products for the influencer share with their following or try for review. In this case, Kiehls would want to reach out to their influencers who have the most impact as they have the potential to reach the biggest audience. Kiehl’s top influencers by impact include @BCBGMAXAZRIA, @saks, @freshnessmag, and @StyleIT – all names that would be trusted if they spoke about a cosmetic or beauty product.
Independent music artist – Legaci
Legaci, an independent music artist group from the San Francisco Bay Area, recently toured on Justin Bieber’s “My World 2.0” tour as backup singers. Found by Bieber’s Management on YouTube, Legaci went from recording homemade videos in the living room to touring the world with one of today’s biggest singers. Currently, Legaci is working on promoting a solo album and a tour of their own so identifying and reaching out to influencers would be a good strategy. Legaci should reach out to both top influencers by impact and by volume as they are trying to reach the largest audience during promotion. Reaching out to the influencers who mention them the most allows Legaci to connect with users who are already brand ambassadors as they have been invested in their music and career by mentioning the brand multiple times.
Local business – Philz Coffee
Philz Coffee, a local coffee shop in San Francisco Bay Area, started in a corner grocery store and has expanded to multiple Bay Area locations and is known as one of the best coffee shops in the U.S. Philz Coffee’s mission is to “better people’s day” by “serving an amazing cup of coffee and delivering really great customer service… one cup at a time.” A company dedicated to customer service can benefit from identifying influencers by reaching out to them to show their appreciation by offering a discount or free cup for being loyal customers or just to express their gratitude through thanks or kind words. Philz Coffee can see who some of the most loyal customers are by seeing who mentions them most. Reaching out to influencers will help Philz Coffee fulfill their mission.
Identifying the top influencers is important to any business because it allows them to reach out to those on social networks who can help make a difference in any campaign – whether it’s selling, promoting, or introducing a brand or product. Remember that consumers and audiences believe and are more receptive to the words and opinions of individuals they trust so reaching out to and developing relationships with top influencers is a powerful option that should not be ignored.
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