How Digitally Influenced Are You, Really?

Think about this. When was the last time you:
Tried a new restaurant because a friend posted that “it’s soooo good, you HAVE to go!” [cue dramatic music]

Did you ever get that new phone because “the reviews said that it’s the best phone in the world”? [and we #techgeeks NEED the best phone in the world, okay?]

What about visiting that exotic travel destination? Or staying in that luxury boutique hotel? [That one’s an Instagram MUST-DO!]

Ahhh… influencer marketing. That phrase/weapon of choice is bound to arise in any conversation revolving Digital PR strategies. And I don’t blame it one bit.

Man has always been influenced by the environment we are in. That’s not a groundbreaking insight, it’s simply human nature.

But what does this mean for brands in today’s digital age? Simple. That there is opportunity to attract customers based on TRUST.

On digital, every brand communicates within a sphere of Influence, a sphere that defines your breadth and depth of brand engagement. As such, this has seen some brands relying solely on celebrities – aka Macro Influencers – in order to amplify their offerings. Sure, if Taylor Swift tells me that the red lipstick she’s using would probably look great on me, I’d believe it. But if Taylor starts posting about how she loves the latest hardware tools from the newest DIY shop in town, I’d be a little skeptical.

Which brings us to Micro-Influence. If you want to attract customers based on TRUST, then micro-influence is a key opportunity worth considering.

Domino Effect of Social Media

That Domino Effect: Do your influencers have maximum impact on your target audience?

Micro-influencers have smaller followings on social when compared to celebrities, but their hyper-engaged audiences allow brands to drive more meaningful results. Micro-influencers are also known as subject matter experts in their niche fields, and therefore stem from a certain level of authority.

Let’s take the case of Paul Tan, well-known in the Malaysian automotive scene. If I’m shopping in the market for a car, I’d definitely want to check out his reviews before I make my purchase. Or what about getting personal finance tips from KC Lau? I’d trust KC’s reviews compared to Johnny Depp, Ning Baizura or Phua Chu Kang’s reviews at any given time (despite how big their followings may be).

Inculcating a paradigm shift
So, what can one do? First and foremost, it is important to identify what conversations are taking place online, then prioritize which ones you want to amplify. Secondly, identify who influences your target audience; and don’t discount using micro-influencers in your social advocacy mix.

Before developing your influencer engagement strategy, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who is my brand’s potential customer?
  • Who influences my brand’s potential customers?
  • What do these influencers care about?
  • How can my brand add value to these influencers?

The future of influence is evolving, and your brand’s influence on digital is equivalent to a domino effect, after all. Done right, and it becomes a scalable, cost-efficient and effective marketing measure, vital in every brand’s digital strategy.

As for its impact on the customer’s user journey? Now THAT’S a cool domino effect worth watching!

mel

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