Influencers can reach tens of thousands of people with their content, making them the perfect candidate for word-of-mouth marketing. For example, if you want a recommendation for a new restaurant in your city, you may ask your friends or family members who live there. They'll recommend it to you if they have had a good experience at that restaurant.
But what if none of them have been there? You could still ask someone else, like a local blogger or influencer who has been there before and has built up trust with their audience. They're more likely to recommend something they know firsthand rather than blindly trusting someone else's opinion.
This is why influencers are so valuable when it comes to building trust with your customers: they're real people who use products and services just like everyone else does – but they also have considerable followings online. These large audiences amplify their word, putting the WoM you receive from them on steroids.
But how exactly do they put word-of-mouth on steroids? Let’s find out!
1. They make it easier to understand your product.
If someone is unfamiliar with your product, they won't buy it unless they can visualize how it would benefit them. Influencers can help here by providing detailed explanations of what makes your product unique and valuable in their own words – sometimes even with visuals like photos or videos.
The biggest example of this is Gary Vaynerchuk, who has built his career on explaining how to use Instagram to sell wine and other products. He even managed to grow his father’s business from a “$3 million company to a $60 million enterprise” using his social media influence.
Another example is how Sony worked with mid-tier, micro-, and nano-influencers in the tech and gaming niche after the launch of its PlayStation VR headset. The aim was to showcase the positive gaming experiences that users have with the product.
The influencers created posts (images and short videos) of themselves having a good time using the VR headset and used hashtags like #PlayStationVR and #ITriedPSVR while sharing.
These Instagram posts fetched 12,728 likes and 230 comments, while the overall engagement rate was 3.64% on average. They also received an average engagement rate of 3.19% on YouTube.
You can also achieve these figures by creating a personalized hashtag for your brand and partnering with influencers and creators in your niche to promote your product accompanied by that hashtag.
2. They provide a sense of belonging and connection.
In today's parasocial world, everyone wants to feel like they belong to something meaningful and worthwhile. Influencers tap into this desire by giving people a sense of community and belonging through their posts.
Influencers are people whom you trust, who share your values and interests, and who can guide you through life's ups and downs. These people become part of your extended family — they're like your aunties and uncles who tell you stories about their lives that make you feel better about yours.
Influencers are part of your tribe — they're like your cousins who introduce you to new music and take you on adventures together so that you can bond over shared experiences.
And influencers are mentors — they're like your professors who introduce concepts in class that help you understand the world better than before taking the course in the first place.
3. They create a sense of trust in your products.
Hannah Rinaldi, a blogger at Eat, Drink, and Save, says that customers trust only 33% of ads they view, whereas they trust 90% of content posted by influencers. It is because most influencers only promote products and services they invariably trust.
Eric Burgess of the ION is also of the same opinion. He says that even if influencers may or may not be directly involved in creating content for a brand, they love and believe in the product or service they recommend.
As humans, we've evolved to be extremely sensitive to negative (and positive) feedback from others who we know and trust.
This is why creators (who are known for providing accurate, honest reviews) can be so powerful when generating buzz about your brand.
Take a look at this example of SlumberPod, a brand that sells pop-up tents for babies and pets to make it possible for parents to relax near their child or pet. The brand partnered with experts, influencers, and brand ambassadors and implemented a word-of-mouth marketing strategy to promote the “pods” as useful and safe.
It made their potential customers trust the brand more easily, resulting in a shorter customer journey and lower acquisition costs for SlumberPod.
It’s a win-win! SlumberPod outsources content and promotion campaigns to its loyal brand ambassadors. Those ambassadors are then able to spread the brand to a booming community of their niche followers, most of whom will be in the market for something like a pop-up tent soon.
4. They help you be more transparent about your brand.
One of the main reasons why brands partner with influencers is because they can tell their story better than anyone else in the industry. You see, the right influencers don’t just talk about how great your product is — they actually use it!
Because of this, their followers trust them to give honest feedback about what works well for them and what doesn’t work so well for them.
For instance, in the example below, the influencer is upfront about the paid partnership between her and the beauty brand.
In another testament, a 2020 case study, Dunkin' Donuts teamed up with Charli D’Amelio, whose followers were aware that she loves drinking Dunkin’s coffee.
When they created “The Charli” after the TikTok star, there was a 57% increase in daily downloads of the Dunkin' Donuts app. The brand sold thousands of drinks within the first five days.
Not only did sales increase after D'Amelio's endorsement, but the company saw a 45% surge in demand for all cold-brew coffee on day two of the marketing campaign. This can be credited to the fact that D'Amelio's followers already knew that she loved the product prior to her involvement in a paid partnership.
You too must work with vocal advocates of your brand before you reach out to other creators with cold outreach campaigns.
5. They have reliable voices and fans they can sell your products to
Influencers have reliable voices and fans they can sell your products to. It's not just about the number of followers but also the quality of their followers. For example, if you're selling cosmetics, you want to work with someone who has a large following of women between 20-30 years old who are interested in beauty products.
Here’s how Fiji Water made the right move while spreading the message of how water is essential for human health. The brand collaborated with Danielle Bernstein, who is keen on fitness, has launched her workout line, and runs the “We Wore What” blog.
Undoubtedly, the campaign was a sensation as her fans responded quickly.
Your turn to leverage influencer marketing to help your business influence (see what I did there?)!
So that’s it – we covered everything about how influencers put word-of-mouth on steroids. Social media has a huge role in catalyzing this “at scale” word-of-mouth. Your next step should be to start creating a list of 50-100 creators that are aligned with your brand and start reaching out to them.
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