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The Next Generation of Influencers

Word-of-mouth is still one of the most powerful customer acquisition strategies used by marketers in 2019. Today, there’s an increasing number of consumers turning to those around them for input when making purchasing decisions.

A recent Hubspot study found that 81% of customers trust recommendations from family and friends over those from companies. And who can blame them? With brand trust at an all-time low, a growing number of customers are ignoring polished advertising in place of P2P referrals. Instead, today’s consumers turn to the media sources they know and trust most: their online influencers.

In Influencers, We Trust – or Do We?

In a Dealspotr survey, 41% of respondents say influencers are a primary source of information when making a fashion-related purchase. This is just one proof that influencer marketing has gained traction as a powerful tool to drive social proof – and sales.

Whether it be on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, today’s online influencers have a large following of loyal fans, with a clear target audience. Leveraging their millions in followers, influencers hold an immense amount of power, driving sales and brand awareness for the highest paying bidder.

But consumer trust is waning. In a Winter 2017 report, Dealspotr found that 52% of Millennials say they trust influencers less than they used to. As the influencer landscape becomes saturated with wannabes and highly-commercialized promotions, the line between sponsorship and authentic recommendations is becoming blurred. So much so that the FTC had to publish guidelines on #ad disclosures recently to help consumers discern between real recommendations and paid ads cloaked in emojis.

Turning Customers into Advocates

So who are the next generation of influencers? The answer may surprise you, but they’re closer to home than you might think. The truth is, they’re your customers. Loyal customers rave about your service, post about your products, and most importantly, they mean every word they say.

Studies show that influencers with 50,000-250,000 followers drive 30% higher ROI per dollar than those with 250k-1M followers, and 20% higher ROI than influencers with 1M+ followers. Simply put, the sobering truth is that the larger the influencer –– the lower the ROI.

Customer loyalty statistics show that a loyal customer is 4X more likely to refer your product or service to their friends. And according to American Express, happy customers will share their positive experiences with and refer 11 people on average.

Plus, turning loyal customers into brand advocates doesn’t cost a dime. By simply giving your customers a podium to voice their opinions, today’s businesses can reap the rewards of building mutually-beneficial relationships with their most avid consumers. Research consistently shows that when brands show customers they care, they become their fiercest advocates.

Conclusion

Tap into your customer base to identify your brand’s most active and engaged users. Usually, if they’re not already telling everyone about how much they love your product or service, they’d be happy to anyway. By nurturing close-knit relationships with your core customer base, you’ll be able to drive higher ROI, increase sales, and strengthen brand trust –– all with your most undervalued resource.

Use platforms like Innercircle to automate the way you identify, engage and amplify your customers with campaigns that put your customers at the forefront of your message. With the right campaign, passionate customers and a polished message, you could be seeing customer acquisition and retention grow at a faster pace than ever. All by leveraging your happy customers.

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