Marketing teams everywhere are trying to tap into the phenomenon of social media as it relates to brand and product, but you may not be aware of the direct impact your brand’s top social influencers have on sales. In brief, brand advocates posting about products on social media drive twice as much business to your company as other consumers. Are you employing a strategy that makes them want to promote your brand? Here’s what your marketing team should consider.
Social influence: Driving twice as many purchases
Forrester Consulting recently completed a research study on the buying habits of consumers online. The results say most paying customers are engaging the company via social media and, more importantly, those engaging brands socially on a daily basis are buying twice as often as those who rarely post about a company on social channels.
The activity among entertainment and consumer electronics buyers was especially notable. Entertainment brands reported 54 percent of those who posted or engaged a brand on social networks purchased their products in the past year, while only 24 percent of those not engaging the brand on social networks made a purchase during that period.
Electronics consumers followed the same trend, with 51 percent of the brand’s social network enthusiasts making a purchase against 26 percent of those who never posted or interacted with the brand on social networks. The value of the most engaged consumers also came into view: those who engaged the brand on social networks on a daily basis purchased 22 times in a single year, compared to 11.5 who checked in occasionally to Tweet, “like” or post about a brand on Facebook, Twitter and other social sites.
Cultivating a relationship with brand advocates
At New York’s ad:tech 2013 expo, the brightest minds in digital advertising brought evidence of the potential marketers can tap in brand advocates using social media. Daphne Kwon, CEO of EXPO Communications, noted that the most connected consumers on social media are women aged 18 to 34. Of the findings Kwon presented, there was a clear indication that social media influencers need validation from the brand.
The simple act of “liking” positive engagement from social influencers made it more likely they would make a purchase of that brand’s products. Clearly, marketing teams that aren’t combing Facebook and Twitter to embrace advocates for their feedback are missing out on sales.
Examples of more direct engagement came from Pfizer’s marketing team on a Children’s Advil campaign. Pfizer’s Pina Hornyak detailed how the company launched promotions for the children’s medicine aimed at young mothers – the 18-34 female demographic engaging brands most on social media. By offering a bottle of Children’s Advil to 10,000 moms, Pfizer saw eight million impressions and 40,000 social posts about the product from the group. The mothers’ social networks ended up 30 percent more likely to buy the product following the campaign.
The path to high-quality engagement
Any marketing team devoting energy and staff to a company’s social followers is on the right track. Forrester suggested using multiple social channels throughout the customer life cycle was essential, but marketing experts say regular, positive engagement is the way to make brand advocates feel their time isn’t wasted on the company’s social channels.
On that note, feeling compensated is a crucial part of the equation. Consumers active on social sites expect appreciation for their help. Highlighting their posts prominently on company sites may be enough, but you may also want to offer sneak peeks to these consumers – or even discounts and free samples on the order of Pfizer. These investments deliver handsome returns.
Whatever the method, active and recurring engagement will validate the activities of brand advocates on company social media networks, making them more likely to keep up the fight for your company without much in the way of compensation. Since marketing data says they’re your best customers, it will be well worth your brand’s while.