Social Influence Marketing is about recognizing, accounting and tapping into the fact that as your potential consumer makes a purchasing decision, he or she is being influenced by different circles of people through conversations with them, both online and off. It is not enough to market to the consumer anymore; as a marketer you also have to market to each individual’s social influencers throughout the marketing funnel.
The Razorfish Social Influence Marketing Report
Excerpts by Shiv Singh
Implications for Brands
- Brands must socialize with consumers. It won’t be enough for brands to craft powerful messages and push them through different media channels. They will need to participate directly in conversations with consumers and provide more meaningful value exchanges. And they will need to do so in ways that increase their relevance and value in the eyes oftheir consumers — or the brands will be completely ignored.
- Brands must develop a credible social voice. Regardless of the industry, brands will need to focus on developing credible voices for SIM. These voices will need to be more engaging, personal, humble, authentic and participatory than traditional advertising messages.
- Brands must provide a return on emotion to their consumers. Presently, loyalty between consumers and brands is asymmetric. The more consumers sense a symmetrical relationship, the more loyal they will be. Social media is a great tool for building symmetrical brand relationships, in which both the brand and the consumer reap equal returns from their relationship.
- Brands must know who influences perception. For your specific brand and industry, it is important to know what type of influencer is affecting brand affinity and purchasing decisions for your target consumers. This information should be used to focus your SIM.
- Brands must know the effect of influencers throughout the marketing funnel. It is essential to know how influence changes in each stage of the marketing funnel. That information should drive when to focus on which influencers and how to surface content from those influencers on corporate-owned digital properties.
- Known peer influencers matter most at the bottom of the funnel. This group of family members and/or close friends, both online and off, have the most dramatic impact on brand affinity and purchasing decisions. Identifying consumers’ inner circles and how those inner circles influence your consumers is key.
- Don’t forget the impact of offline influencers. It is getting more difficult to separate online peer influence from offline peer influence as SIM blurs the lines between the digital and physical worlds. As a result, it is necessary to remember the effect that offline social activity has on purchasing decisions too.
- Consumers look for brands that help them connect. People naturally gravitate toward brand
categories that can help them converse and connect with others, such as music and entertainment, food and beverages, gadgets, arts, non-profits and causes.
- Brands aren’t connecting enough with consumers in a social environment. Our data suggests that brands need to do a much better job of engaging consumers on social platforms, as witnessed by the lukewarm reception and high level of indifference consumers have about brands in social media; nearly one-third of respondents had a neutral position about the role of brands.
- Fans of brands visit, and re-visit, those sites. Fan pages aren’t forgotten properties on social platforms. Rather, consumers return to them from time to time and, as a result, brands must put more effort into building, maintaining and encouraging conversations with their consumers on them. They shouldn’t be treated in an isolated fashion either.
- Brand must look at influence holistically. It is not enough to look at how social influencers affect brand affinity or purchasing decisions just online or offline. As the two worlds blur, brands will need to look at the role influence plays irrespective of the channel, platform or location of that influence.
- Brands must focus on value exchanges. The most influence takes place around products and services, and not in terms of affiliations with a particular brand. When practicing SIM, brands should focus on the fact that their customers are seeking each other out as they make product purchasing decisions.
- Brands lack significant credibility in the digital realm and on social platforms. Brands should explore new ways of marketing on the social platforms that help build trust and credibility first and foremost. It is no use devoting significant marketing efforts to this space unless you’ve already figured out how to serve as a trusted brand. The social platforms require a new marketing language — one that mustn’t be overlooked.
Razorfish is one of the largest interactive marketing and technology companies in the world. With a demonstrated commitment to innovation, Razorfish counsels its clients on how to leverage digital channels such as the Web, mobile devices, in-store technologies and other emerging media to engage people, build brand loyalty and provide excellent customer service.
via Blogs OpenForum