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Company influencers can impact brand advocacy and brand loyalty in a major way. Some loyalty marketers, though, might not be well versed in the potential positive ramifications of company influencers.
Loyalty360 talked to Nick Alexander, Marketing Lead at Bond, to find out more about company influencers and how they can help loyalty marketers.
Can you talk to our audience about who a company’s influencers are?
Alexander: A company’s influencers can take many different forms. They can be clients (past or current), employees (past or current), industry experts such as analyst or thought leaders, or popular bloggers. One thing they have in common is that they are all brand advocates and believe in what your company is trying to accomplish. Another thing they have in common is reach. They have large social followings, speak often at events, serve as connectors in the industry, etc.
How can a company leverage its influencers for maximum impact?
Alexander: The best influencer relationship is one that is beneficial for both parties. Don't just expect them to promote your business. If your company is doing something amazing, they'll naturally want to promote it. But you should look out for their success too. One example is our relationship with MongoDB. We use their database services and they use our service for marketing and demand generation. Our dev team helped them put together a case video to promote their services. Then, their marketing team helped us put together a case study video promoting our services. We’re constantly referring one another’s services. It’s really a great influencer relationship.
What role do influencers play in generating brand loyalty?
Alexander: Influencers play the most important role in generating brand loyalty. When you consider stats like “92% of consumers trust recommendations from others, even people they don’t know, over branded content,” you realize how important influencers are, especially those outside of your company. Influencers are an essential part of the consumer research process and their opinions contribute immensely from awareness to consideration to purchase to repeat purchase.
What is being done well as far as companies leveraging their influencers and where do the challenges lie?
Alexander: When a recommendation is authentic and (seemingly) unsolicited, it is most effective. Think back to the last conference you were at and you heard a speaker casually mention that you should definitely use XYZ tool for marketing attribution. There was no case study or big lead-in or logo. They just gave their honest opinion. Those honest opinions can come across in talks, blogs, videos, conversations, etc. Some challenges lie in brands trying to hop on the influencer marketing bandwagon without a clear strategy. We see a fair amount of sponsored content that is simply not genuine and lacks passion and depth. The “influencers” are just mentioning the brand for a paycheck. It’s certainly OK to pay influencers, but they have to be aligned with and excited about your brand.
What is the biggest misconception about influencers?
Alexander: The biggest misconception about influencers is that it’s an easy way to spread awareness. It’s an effective way, but it’s not easy to do right. It’s just like email marketing or social media. Anybody can send emails or post on Facebook, but is it effective? Is there a strategy behind it? It’s important to build real relationships with the right influencers and give them time to generate results.
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