Keller Fay study: How to use influencers to drive word of mouth

With the ever-evolving developments in social media, many marketers are focusing their influencer efforts on celebrities with millions of followers on platforms like Instagram and Twitter. However, new research by Keller Fay proves that everyday people can offer significant value to marketers because of their strong relationships among the people they influence.

word of mouth two ladies talking

Note: Keller Fay define influencers as "everyday consumers who are substantially more likely than the average to seek out information and to share ideas, information, and recommendations with other people. They do this both through volunteering their opinions about products and services that they feel passionate about, and by being turned to for their knowledge, advice, and insights".

We’ve summarised the key take outs for you here:

1. Focus on offline conversations

In this digital world, word of mouth (WOM) is considered an online-driven activity by many marketers. The truth is that offline continues to dominate in peer-to-peer conversations, both in volume and in impact.

At trnd we’ve been firm believers of this since 2005, and have proven tools and campaign formats to drive impactful conversations about brands and products offline as well as online.

2. Start with a people-centric strategy, not channel-centric

Consumers are not loyal to a single channel, they will use whatever channel is the most convenient or suitable for the sharing they intend to do. This shows that it’s important in the planning of any marketing activity to start with the people, not the channel.

Collaborative marketing is the idea of putting people (rather than products or channels) centre stage in your marketing and development plans. It takes a big shift in thinking for many companies. But it pays big results, too.

3. Aim for positive contributions

Many marketers fear the risk of negative word of mouth so much that it holds them back from engaging openly in conversations with consumers. But the fact is that most word of mouth being spread is positive. According to Keller Fay, positive word of mouth outweighs negative by a margin of more than 8 to 1. In addition, positive word of mouth is perceived as more credible.

By showing consumers that you’re keen to hear their feedback you’re already off to a good start when it comes to earning their trust and getting positive contributions back. Enabling this dialogue we’ve had some amazing results and consumer generated content from previous trnd projects.

4. Make it easy for influencers to engage with your brand

Influencers all have one quality that is especially helpful for marketers: They actively want to engage with brands and they’re willing to share their knowledge. For this reason it’s important for brands to respond to incoming enquiries and make useful (and shareable) content available on their website.

We see the same in our communities, consumers come to us because they want to do more than just buy products – they want to have a more meaningful relationship with brands.

5. Word of mouth can complement paid advertising

WOMMA’s ‘The Return on WOM’ study found that one third of the sales impact of word of mouth is due to WOM working as an amplifier to paid advertising. One of the earliest findings of the power of influencers found that advertising is effective not by directly changing consumer preferences, but by stimulating conversation between so called opinion leaders and other people/followers.

Our own research supports this: word of mouth is a powerful tool to enhance the impact of your traditional media.

6. Engage influencers in a meaningful two-way dialogue

Influencers like to be the experts, to have insider knowledge before others so that they can share it. Make sure you give them content that’s easy to talk about (‘womable’) and that they will want to share, ask for their opinions to acknowledge their expertise and you’ve got a two-way dialogue that’s likely the start of a meaningful relationship.

At trnd, our community managers moderate and respond to tens of thousands of online comments, reports and emails from consumers participating in collaborative marketing campaigns every month, around the clock, nurturing an ongoing and natural dialogue between brand and influencer.

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