Third-party influencers – from friends, retailers and experts to reviewers and bloggers – have an increasingly important role to play in consumer behaviour and purchasing decisions. With so many conversations taking place online, the digital space offers the perfect opportunity to tap into or harness the power of those interactions and influence the influencers. Ed Butcher, digital director at marketing agency GHMC, offers some tips to get the most out of your followers…
To establish who your influencers are you need to track who’s talking about your brand online and what they’re saying. For example, when we started working with Papa John’s Pizzas we discovered a range of conversations taking place online relating to the brand; everything from people discussing the great pizza they had last night through to any bad experience they’d had such as with delivery. Our aim was to bring those conversations together into a single place where we could easily interact with them and bring them “under control”.
Our first port of call was to develop a Facebook page so that people had a familiar environment in which these conversations could take place. The idea being, that if people were saying things publicly, Papa John’s would be in a position to address them – particularly if those comments were negative, but in reality we have been seeing more and more positive comments. While social media offers the perfect tools with which to do this, having a solid CRM database behind your website is crucial to help you refine your message and target your audience in a more accurate and engaging way.
Fortunately Papa John’s has an excellent database that captures everything about the people who buy from them, and from that we were able to highlight some very definite segments – from habitual buyers to people who order on a Friday night once a month – and personalise communication with them.
This segmentation formed the basis of the brand’s email campaign to alert people to its Facebook page, as it was able to select the biggest spending groups and offer them extra rewards and discounts if they became followers on Facebook. By doing this Papa John’s was able to exert much more influence within its own community and gain excellent word of mouth to help its key customers generate even more influence beyond this community.
The reality is that personalisation and trust are major steps on the route to building influence, and the former feeds the latter. The more you understand about your audience the more you can talk to them directly. The more you talk to them directly the more they trust your brand. And the more they trust your brand, the more they are likely to influence others.
By Ed Butcher
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