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Influencers Are Nice, But You Can’t Beat Happy Customers

August 12, 2019

Greek guy on pedestal influencer speaking data graph satisfied customers below giving recommendations testimonials to brand business

blank vertical space, 16 pixels highWho are these people called influencers, and why do we put them up on pedestals?blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

A lot of them are celebrities with huge followings on social platforms like Instagram. B2C brands (businesses that market directly to consumers) partner with these influencers.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

Brands pay them to mention and endorse their products (think shoes, jeans, makeup, sports gear) in their social posts. Kylie Jenner has 106 million Instagram followers. According to IZEA, she gets paid around $400,000 per sponsored post.blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

B2B brands (businesses that market to other businesses) also use influencers. It requires a different approach because of the nature of the products (think machinery, transportation, financial services, computer systems and software).blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

B2B brands partner with industry experts, and ask them to co-create content with them. The experts have prestige, name recognition, and a following. They can influence purchasing decisions in favor of the brand.blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

What’s the one thing that usually goes unsaid when you read about influencers?blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

The brands that hire them are big-name brands with large marketing budgets. They can afford to hire influencers.blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

What if you’re a small business, an independent contractor, a one-person shop? Hiring an influencer is just not an option.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

(According to the Census Bureau, the share of U.S. businesses with 20 or fewer workers was 98% in 2016. And consider this: in 2016 (latest data), there were 24.8 million non-employer businesses ( = individual proprietorships), compared to 5.6 million employer firms.)blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

Here’s the good news: every business has access to a special kind of influencer; perhaps the best kind of all: the happy, satisfied customer.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

Happy customers are the people who love your product or service. They tell their friends. They write recommendations and reviews. They advocate for your brand because they had a great experience. They do it because they want to. You don’t have to pay them a cent.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

For a small brand especially, brand advocates are a smarter bet than influencers. Why? They have a genuine passion for the brand. They tell others because they want to be helpful: “If you need such-and-such, here’s who to call; they did a great job for me.”blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

And brand advocates are perceived as trustworthy: we know them: they’re friends, family, neighbors. And no one’s paying them to say they like something.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

Check out this Influencers Vs. Brand Advocates infographic from Zuberance:blank vertical space, 32 pixels highZuberance infographic which compares the strengths and weaknesses of social media influencers versus happy satisfied customer brand advocates

The best word-of-mouth happens naturally: people are excited; they want to tell others about their great experience. But small businesses need to be proactive. They need a reputation marketing strategy.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

That means asking for recommendations. Asking people to post online reviews. If asked, 70 percent of consumers will leave a review for a business. But you have to ask.

blank vertical space, 24 pixels highOne final thought: Competency doesn’t create conversation. Customers expect you to be competent. They expect you to have the skills and do a good job.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

To create word of mouth and turn your customers into brand advocates, you need to deliver an exceptional customer experience. You need to do something above and beyond– something unexpected.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

You need to come up with a talk trigger— something your customers will feel compelled to talk about: at the gym, the coffee shop, the grocery store, and on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other social platforms.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

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About Mark: I’m an illustrator specializing in humor, branding, social media, and content marketing. My images are different, like your brand needs to be.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

You can view my portfolio, and connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

Questions? Send me an email.blank vertical space, 40 pixels highRecommendation testimonial for Mark Armstrong Illustration from Charles McNair Pulitzer Prize nominated author Land O' Goshen storyteller creative communicator
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7 Comments leave one →
  1. Mia Moravis permalink
    August 12, 2019 2:27 PM

    Marvelous Mark ~ AMEN!😍😍

    >

    Like

  2. September 24, 2019 8:38 PM

    I like the “talk trigger” point! Excellent. 🙂

    Like

    • September 30, 2019 8:12 AM

      When I was a kid, Roy Rogers was a TV cowboy hero. His horse’s name was Trigger. So when he said “Giddyup!” or “Whoa, boy!” he was executing a “talk Trigger.” 🐴😂

      Liked by 1 person

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