Building Social Influence- Why it’s critical for Brands.

Word-of-month marketing is one of the most powerful forms of communicating a brand’s message. But these days it’s much more then just a business acronym to throw around in the annual initiative meeting. Armed with social media, word-of-mouth marketing, and more specifically, building social influence, is a vital component (or should be) of any brand manager’s strategy.

Now, we know it’s important, but why?

 1) Influence is lasting. Unlike popularity, influence has staying power. In a recent study, 84% of 700 business leaders, entrepreneurs and marketing professionals believe there is a correlation between an influencer’s reach and their ability to drive action.

 2. The main ingredient to build influence is trust!  Each brand is unique and must  consistently communicate their core values and value proposition. Engaging with your community and getting them to do the heavy lifting can be a great way to build trust and transparency with your customer base.

3. Knowing when, what, where and how to communicate is everything. Social media and social devices are playing a much larger role in the way consumers engage with one another and with your brand. The traditional channels of owned, earned and paid content are becoming much more integrated activities. Social behavior is changing, as a brand manager you have to be think about where your customers are consuming information.

4. Adapt or die. Brand mangers should embrace this concept of key influencers by understanding that they no longer have complete control how people engage and where or when they share. The landscape of traditional outbound marketing has shifted to where consumers are much more apt to engage with brands. So it’s not all about controlling the messaging or channels anymore, as much as it is about providing your customers with tools to capture and facilitate their conversations!

5. It’s all about strategy. You have to align your marketing or initiative strategy goals with the intended outcome. These goals should be effectively and cohesively communicated to promote the desired action. Focusing on actions and campaigns that drive personal interaction is a powerful way to build influence. Furthermore, the social and technological landscape is prime to support such initiatives.

6. Don’t be afraid to fail. Chances are you’ll make a mistakes along the way. But if you have success influencing action, the initiative may be deemed a success. The bottom-line here, is that the completive landscape in which your brand operates changes every day, so if you fail to keep up with the social shift in behavior, you will fail.