Your Customer Is Your Best Influencer – By Melissa D. Salas

by Sara Szado on August 16, 2019

Everyone Has Influence

We all love products and services that we use on a daily basis. Or ones that have knocked us out on the first try. We may have bragged recently about such an experience by posting on social media for everyone to see. What if I told you everyone could earn commissions for the sales they influence through their social posts? You may say, “But I’m not an influencer?” Yes, you are. That’s brand advocate marketing.

Road to Authenticity

A brand’s best influencer is an existing customer who organically and authentically loves your brand. It’s getting back to grassroots, word-of-mouth advertising that still remains the richest path to authenticity, new customers, and a positive ROI for brands. Current customers have true influence in getting you new customers.

Everyone wants to be popular online. But, sadly, brands struggle with influencer partners having fake followers (the black-hat follower factory). However, with brand advocate marketing, you are targeting an authentic look-a-like audience that is every marketer’s dream. Smaller audiences, yes, but highly engaged and that can be influenced based on a peer recommendation. You can protect your brand from false claims when it’s your actual customer giving their testimony and product review.

Power of the Peer

More and more people are sharing every aspect of their lives on social media: Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat. Significantly, some 70% of millennials prefer peer recommendations over celebrity endorsements, because they are authentic, according to Forrester. The conversions are there not only because it’s 100% authentic, but because the conversations last beyond that single post. They’re also showcasing the excitement of their experience with your brand at the gym, work, girls’ night, or weekend barbeques.

Own Your Customer, Own the Content

Amazon, the largest internet retailer in the world and the
most data-centric, had two launches last year: their influencer program and an “UPLOAD YOUR VIDEO” button on every product page. Why is this a problem for merchants? Because they are not only owning the customer, they are owning the content and paying people to drive traffic about your product to their website. But there is a way to own your customer and own the content with

Customers Validate a Brand on Social

Are you a new-to-market brand or a health and wellness brand? Even more so, you need your customers to become your virtual sales force and drive new customers by validating your brand on social media. When it comes to deciding if a product or service is worth trying, a friend, family member or colleague is going to believe someone they trust over an influencer/celebrity endorsement. You can scale to the masses and grow your program with the user-generated content created, because you can recruit thousands of your customers as brand advocates on social media on a performance basis.

A solution does exist for turning your customers into loyal, content creating, social influencing affiliates. It’s called

Melissa Salas is the Senior Marketing Director for specializing in affiliate/social/video marketing since 2000. This article appeared in issue 47 of FeedFront Magazine, which was published in July 2019. Visit here for the full edition.

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