If word of mouth is still the best way to get new customers, then what does that mean for an increasingly digital world? Is there actually a place for ‘word of mouth’ online? We’re here to encourage you that thankfully there is, but it may look a little different from what we’re used to.
Unless you’ve been living isolated, chances are you’ve heard of the term “influencers”. It’s usually in relation or an Instagram or YouTube influencer, but it basically refers to someone with a large online following. There are many, in fact, that have turned this into a profession and make rather a lot of money. So how does this relate to word of mouth, you wonder? It’s becoming increasingly common-place to either pay or provide incentives to macro and micro influencers in exchange for them promoting your business.
Let’s start at the beginning, and firstly explain the difference.
What is the difference between Micro and Macro Influencers
Micro influencers are regular people, they may not have a huge online following, but they do have influence (as do we all). It may be as simple as someone who is part of a mothers group, or a community association, or even just someone really social who has a heap of friends. These people are valuable, as they’re in their community and they have the ability to spread good things about your business to your target market.
Macro influencers are the online ‘superstars’. They generally have quite a large following of approximately 15,000+ online followers and have the ability to get your business name ‘out there’ in the digital sphere.
How to engage Micro Influencers
So, if micro influencers are just regular people, then what power could they possibly bring to a brand? We’ll we’re going to start by giving you some examples.
Say, for example, you’re a local restaurant owner, you’re open for lunch but unless you’re close to a business hub, mid-week lunches can be a bit quiet. If only you could capture those mother’s groups who tend to bring their little bubbies in together, have a meal, maybe some kid’s meals too for the toddlers, and 2 or 3 coffees (because, let’s face it most mothers are sleep deprived!). What if you were to put a post up on your Social Media page inviting the first 10 mums who comment with kids aged 0-3 for a free lunch. This is as a group (they can’t just show up on a day they choose), and you pitch to them that in turn for inviting 3-4 of their friends in for lunch, they all get discounted meals. Even if just a handful of them take up the offer and bring in their friends you will have more than covered the cost of the initial lunch, and more than likely (if you’re doing your job well and the restaurant offers great food), become one of their regular ‘hangouts’.
People are innately going to place higher value on a review from a friend than they will of a random stranger online, so the more people going to bat for you in the real world the better off you’ll be.
Well that’s fine for a restaurant, but what if you provide a service like financial planning? Most people don’t start thinking about financial planning unless they’re flush with cash, or until they start seeing retirement in their somewhat near future. So, the best type of clients to pursue then would be people in their mid-late 30’s who are settling down and want to build a good life for themselves and their families. How on earth do you sell to someone who doesn’t even know they need your help? What if, for example, you were to post an ad online calling for people who want to set themselves up for financial independence and you’re happy to offer them a 3-month ‘trial’. In exchange all you ask is that they rate your services and how much you’ve helped them and let their fiends know about it, and perhaps leave a review on your Social Media page and share it to their own page.
How to engage Macro Influencers
Ok, now let’s talk macro influencers. If you have access to tools such as Sprout Social, when you run a report on your Instagram page it will let you know the people who follow you or interacted with your posts, which have the most followers themselves. Of course, you can also do this manually by checking out the profiles of the people who liked your posts. The likelihood is that over the course of a few weeks or a month, there will be some who are macro influencers (there are quite a few of them out there). Once you’ve made a list of a few the next step is to reach out to them, either by email if they’ve got one listed, or in the platform itself. Ask them if they would be interested in a bit of a freebie (either a voucher, a product sample, a discount or something similar), in exchange for a mention or a plug on their page. This can be as simple as a photo of your food with the caption “Enjoying a great meal at <name>” and tagging your page in the post. Doing this once or twice in a month might not yield much, but if it’s made a regular part of your social media strategy then you will see your own followers increase and grow as well as more business coming through the door.
A well rounded social media strategy isn’t just about having regular content published to your page with an ad or two (although of course, this is still scores better than publishing irregularly with no ads running). A highly successful social media campaign involves a mix of online and offline activities that all promote your business or service. It involves promoting your social media sites physically in your office or store (for example, one of our clients asks people on their napkins to take a picture of their meal and post to their social media page as a constant reminder of their online presence). It also involves some outside-the-box thinking and this is where both micro and macro (yes, it’s not an either or, it’s both) strategy in conjunction with other efforts will see fantastic overall results.