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Online Influencers – worth investing in or passed their sell by date?

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When people mention online influencers, they tend to automatically think of the mainstream influencers who have made a full-time career of talking about brands and often require crossing their palms with silver (in some cases a considerable amount!).  At the Social Media Council, we wanted to investigate and delve deeper into how brands can make the most of online advocacy and how it doesn’t necessarily have to be mainstream influencers who can add value to your brand. 

Following the start of our research we found that there are generally three opportunities for brand advocates:

-    Employees

Often a missed opportunity, brands don’t always think about their employees being brand advocates.  With a little education, a clear social media policy (of course!), encouragement in shared goals and of course providing a great place to work, employees can help your brand shine to potential customers and potential future employees.

-    Customers

Customers can be your best and worst brand advocates.  In both cases, it boils down to your overall customer service; provide great customer service and customers will either shout about you online or not say anything, provide bad customer service and customers will often turn to social media to vent their frustrations.  Some brands do an amazing job at this and some still have a lot to learn. 

-    Online influencers

A very interesting area and an area we could have taken a deeper dive into all on its own.  Online influencers are an area that if carried out successfully and carefully can add huge value to your brand.  Carried out without careful thought and targeting and you could get yourself in a whole lot of hot water.  From not using #ad (where appropriate) to some savvy audiences of influencers thinking an influencer is just another form of paid space and doesn’t hold as much influence and it’s not genuine due to money swapping hands. Is it better to go research and dig out the up and coming influencers who are more niche-focused and genuinely do it for love/passion? Only you can answer that but its certainly an interesting debate

One thing is for sure, brand advocacy can add value to your business – it just needs a little bit of thought, planning, and careful implementation.

Over the coming month, we will be sharing our insights into each of these areas plus we have a great webinar on the 7th December 2017 where we will be sharing our insights and expertise to help create your own brand cheerleaders.

 

Written by Lynsey Sweales, Vice Chair of the DMA Social Media Council and CEO of International Digital Marketing Agency SocialB

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