What if you just launched a new brand or a new product? You just crashed on the market, so no one knows you. This wouldn’t be a problem except that no one knows you equals no one trusts you. And with an advertising budget you can buy reach, but you can’t buy trust.
Trust is so important that a McKinsey research tells us word of mouth is the primary factor behind 20% to 50% of all purchasing decisions. Impressive right?
5 steps to hack the word of mouth power
Word of mouth is an evergreen marketing trend. People simply trust recommendations coming from somebody they know. This usually refers to friends, family, colleagues.
While it might be a little difficult to get your customers moms to advocate for you, thought leaders in the market can be reached pretty easily. That’s when influencer marketing comes into play. According to a SocialChorus report, influencer marketing can drive up to 16 times more engagement than other types of marketing campaigns. Let’s see how influencer marketing can improve your word of mouth strategy.
We agreed it’s a channel worth looking for, but you still need a plan to execute relevant influencer marketing actions for your business.
Step 1: define your goals & KPIs
It always starts with the goal. What are you trying to achieve? The expected results should be expressed through specific quantities. You can use influencer marketing to:
- Increase website traffic
- Increase sales
- Increase your social following
- Increase the reach of a specific campaign
- Promote a specific offer
Each of these actions impacts different metrics. Take your time to define S.M.A.R.T. goals before venturing into the operative side of the strategy. A S.M.A.R.T. goal is:
- Time based
Use this formula and define what is the key metric that will guide you when you will need to judge the whole campaign a failure or a success. This step is key to evaluate and plan your influencer marketing actions. Remember: anything that is measured, improves.
Step 2: define your audience
Influence is contextual. This means that you shouldn’t engage any influencer if you still miss a clear idea of the target customer you want to ultimately influence. There different ways you can gather informations about your target customer:
- Analyze data about your current audience: start with what you have. Turn to your social media analytics (like Facebook Insights or Twitter Analytics) and look at the big picture. You could also involve more powerful tools to get more data.
- Who is defining your brand reputation? Use social media monitoring tools to discover who is talking about brands, products, and trends in your market. You might even discover some new influencer this way!
- “Spy” your competitors to find weaknesses. Search for product reviews and especially, complaints. When you’ll start to see a pattern, that’s some material for designing a buyer persona. This kind of people will most likely switch to new and better products becoming your customers.
At the end of this phase you should have a set of traits that define your ideal audience. Now you can go further onto step 3, and each time you need to evaluate an influencer, ask yourself: “how does his audience profile compare to the target audience I had in mind?”
Step 3: scout for Influencers
Why are influencers so important? An influencer has the ability to influence purchasing decisions in a given niche. An influencer should have both of the following charateristics:
- A huge social media audience
- The ability to activate this audience
- Influence on specific topics
When you start analyzing the opinion leaders in your market, don’t over focus on the n° of followers. Go deep and analyze engagement rates and conversations generated through their actions. Think about an influencer with 10million followers… and an average of 10 interactions per post. Size matters, but does only half of the job!
You should also take a look at the sentiment expressed within the comments. You wouldn’t want to sign a partnership and then bring heat (or hate!) on your brand because you put your advocacy in the hands of a troll.
Last but not least, always check how your target audience relate to the influencer and viceversa.
Step 4: Engage
Here comes the fun part. Now you should have a list of potential influencers to work with, each with a profile list that matches your target audience profile. How can you convince them to collaborate?
- Interact on social media. Start soft. This is the easiest way to let them notice you and start building a relationship. Engage with their posts. Ask them to reshare their content. Tag them. Then ask them to connect.
- Ask for contributions. Provide value first, ask later. Grab the chance to write a guestpost or to submit content to be published on their website. This is the perfect way to show them you can provide value, get noticed and taken seriously.
- Create value for both. Influencers are people. Influencer marketing can deliver amazing results, but can also be a very delicate operation. An influencer marketing campaign should be able to provide value for you, for the influencer, and for the audience. This means crafting relevant content and call-to-actions, being trasparent, and being timely with crysis management.
- Work on big numbers. Influencer marketing is marketing. The point of having a list of influencers is to be aware that only a % of that group will answer you back. Then you should be relentless and consistent in pursuing those opportunities. The more influencers you have on your list, the more value you’ll most likely gain from this activities.
Step 5: analyze results
This is the most important step. You should compare how the key metrics compare to your quantified goals. The goal here is to understand what worked and what didn’t, so you can go all in on the influencers that brought you profiled traffic, leads and sales, and cut the investments into those who didn’t.
As you can see, a lot of elements are involved in this data driven content marketing innovations. And if you think of the relationship between content and data as a cycle (data drives content creations, delivery of content generates more data, data analysis gives you strategic advice on the next trip through the cycle) it is only natural that big data and engaging content such as video are at the center of it.
What we are about to see is a polarization on even more specific content delivered to even more specific niches. And the only way to keep this laser focus on customers needs, is to have your strategy relying on a huge quantity of meaningful, diverse, actionable, data.
Originally published at blog.kpi6.com.