Let’s face it… customers don’t become influencers in order to champion brands out of the goodness of their hearts, or because of a brilliantly-designed logo or a couple coupons they can download from the internet.

Customers become influencers because something about their experience with a brand influenced them first… and they want to continue that experience.

Influencers don’t want to be told what to do or what to buy, they want to have an experience so amazing that they are compelled to share it with their networks.   It can be a product that proves to be everything it was advertised to be PLUS MORE, or impeccable and genuinely friendly customer service, or any other experience that was so out of the ordinary that it influenced the customer to form a solid opinion about the experience and then take action to encourage others toward that same experience.

Influencing someone means you are speaking to their personal interests and specific needs and engaging that person enough that it creates a change either in their thinking or their actions, or even both.   It expands their knowledge, or provides interest, or opens their thinking – all things that give influencers social power as they pass the information/experience on to their own networks.

When someone is influenced, they also gain a new story to share – something which also holds great power for influencers as anecdotes are an effective way to gather attention and to provide a message in a way that can be easily heard, remembered, and passed on.  Influencers understand this value of new and different, which is exactly what they acquire when they are influenced themselves.  This is one area where giving someone a “taste of their own medicine” is actually a valuable gift!

Emerging media tools now enable the voice of the consumer to be engaged in all aspects of brand management.  From product and shopper insights to awareness, trial and loyalty, influential consumers can provide a huge competitive advantage for smart brands.  Validating new product functionality through early seeding and usage can result in a much better item not to mention the benefits to refining communication from packaging to outbound media.  Using influencers in the process builds a sense of brand ownership among the participants that reflects the “real” brand owner, the consumer.

Influencers want to be influenced – why not give them what they want?  Your brand hopes you will!

Originally posted at CollectiveBias

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