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Turning Social Influence Into Social Gain

Again, I admit… I love me some Awareness Inc. And they’ve recently put together a white paper and infographic on leveraging social influence for marketers. Please note: I do not receive incentive from Awareness Inc. for posting content or whitepapers that is produced by them. Nor have they asked me to post on their behalf. I simply believe in what they do.

As a marketer, your ultimate objective is to influence your audience to believe certain things, to behave in certain ways and ultimately to consume or buy your products and services. Sure, your performance may be judged by a very specific set of metrics, but at the end of the day your objective is to influence your audience.

Influence has many facets: It encompasses perceived status, reputation, authority and rank. It is the single most effective and most enduring marketing asset.

With 90 percent of purchases subject to social influence, it’s no surprise that savvy marketers are looking to leverage social influencers to grow a brand’s social capital – the breadth and depth of social relationships that can be used to increase brand preference, market share and sales. Growing a brand’s social capital is critical because it allows brands to gain market support and increase sales. Brands with larger social capital also have higher valuations, which ultimately delivers value to customers and partners, as well as shareholders.

Why You Should Care about Your Social Influence:

  • 90 percent of all purchases are subject to social influence.
  • 90 percent of consumers trust recommendations from people they know.
  • 67 percent of shoppers spend more money online after seeing recommendations from friends.
  • Sharing and recommendation behavior is growing: 75 percent of Facebook users have “Liked” a brand, and 53 percent of Twitter users have recommended companies or products.
  • Fans of brands are 51 percent more likely to buy.
  • Sharing features can increase the spread of awareness by 246 percent with “Likes” and 98 percent with “Send to a friend.”

Best Practices for Leveraging Influence

  • Identify and understand your external and internal influencers: Know their passions or pain points, their attraction to your industry, and how they use your product or service.
  • Define influence by several factors not simply by the size of your network. Identify and measure influence based on the size of an influencer’s network, how often they share, and the reaction driven by their content (clicks on links, comments to posts, “Likes to posts, retweets, etc.) Their team then motivates influence by creating a relevant and authentic message.
  • Know how your brand can add value to your influencer groups over time.
  • Benchmark the state of your social capital: Be prepared to act on the feedback.
  • Reward your top internal brand influencers. Recognize, reciprocate and reward the most loyal buyers and most faithful recommenders. Appropriately equip advocates with actions that will create activation. Once you’ve asked your influencers to participate, you need to tell them how to help. Clearly identify the right tool to motivate your audience to take an action, whether that’s a tangible item such as a coupon, or knowledge that’s worth sharing and communicating.
  • Monitor, measure, analyze and evolve your influencer approach and campaigns.
  • Avoid the popularity pitfall. Very often marketers pursue what they perceive as the highest visibility and widest reaching influencer.
  • Marketers should be driven by relevance: Your influencers need to be relevant to the conversation brands are interested in having.

To help shed some light on the subject, Awareness Inc. put together a white paper, the 3 Keys to Influence: Understanding and Leveraging Social Capital that gives marketers a framework for maximizing their social influence strategy by specifically, outlining steps to leverage both internal and external brand advocates. For even more fun, check out their social influence infographic.

The Three Keys to Influence

  1. Tools and techniques for measuring your brand’s relationships in the social realm
  2. The differences between internal and external influence and how to take advantage of each
  3. Best practices for leveraging social capital

To download your copy of the full report, please visit Awareness, Inc.

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