Tag Archives: Peer Influence

On Promoting a Product


Who do you believe? Promotion Influencers or Brand Advocates?

Entrepreneurs want word to get out about the fine quality of their products. They rely on ads and reviews to reach their target market, but new customers are not forthcoming. Searching for ways to stimulate interest, entrepreneurs try to persuade bloggers, promoters, and other people who have huge social clout to drive the hype. Special offers and gifts are offered to make these ‘influencers’ post about the businesses. Do you think this will be an effective way to make people notice and go to the shops being promoted?

In a way, yes. Influencers can persuade their followers to check out the brands they sponsor. Many followers would indeed follow suit and retweet or share the promotional post from their idol. This has the potential to become viral, especially if the influencer is very popular among your business’ target audience.

How many people would actually buy the product, though? Only the truly interested ones. The first group involve people who want to try out everything their idol tells them about; the second group would be composed of people who needs that product. This might get returns for your business, but the results of an influencer’s promotion cannot be easily measured. This can only be done if you conduct a survey among your customers and ask them how they found out about your product. You can also ask them why they decided to buy from you, instead of going to other stores.

What does an influencer really do? An influencer drives more awareness instead of actual engagement.  Once an influencer posts about something, followers immediately take notice. As a result, information is spread to everyone who sees the post. How is this different from the persuasive power of a brand advocate? A brand advocate is someone who’s passionate about a certain product or service. This person serves to convince many people of the effectiveness of the merchandise they’ve tried.

The usual influencer is a pundit (or subject expert), a blogger or a celebrity. When authorities on a specific field endorse product claims, people usually believe what they say because these experts are knowledgeable and likely to be right. A dentist, for example, promotes a toothpaste brand to be more efficient in getting rid of bacteria, plaque, and tartar. Patients who believe in everything the dentist says will go to the nearest store and buy the brand the dentist endorsed. They may go back to their original toothpaste brand if they find out the promoted brand is ineffective or expensive.

Highly satisfied customers, on the other hand, are brand advocates who have tried out products or services and became delighted with the results. As a result, they go around saying ‘wonderful’ things about the product. They may go online, post positive reviews and give your store four to five out of five stars. If they’re part of social network, they’ll look for your brand online and visit your page often. They post pictures of themselves using your merchandise, saying how happy they are with the outcome. This influences their own friends to try your product for themselves. If they liked your product as much as the first one did, a series of positive reactions will follow and new customers will line up in front of your store to get your goods.

When customers are satisfied, they give glowing reviews. A happy customer’s recommendation is more heartfelt and genuine than an influencer’s backing. This is because an influencer may be offered incentives to advertise a product. Freebies and other gifts may be provided to urge someone to promote something. Brand advocates do not endorse a product because they get something out of it. They’ll give good reviews as long as they appreciate the merchandise from your store. Their liking for a product lasts, unlike influencers who stop after a few posts.

Let’s look at some posts from happy customers. The first picture shows a post from a girl who loves Fibisco Chocolate Chip Cookies, while the one on the right are chocolate macaroons with the filling made from Mars Chocolate. These two posts show how satisfied customers declare their love for a product. They just want to tell people how pleased they are, which causes other people to take notice and try the product for themselves to find out what’s so great about it.

So, who wins the standoff between influencers and brand advocates?

Brand advocates have far more reach than influencers have, because people trust recommendations that come from those whom they know personally. They hardly believe in someone who may have been paid to endorse a product. As a matter of fact, it is speculated whether influencers really believe in the authenticity of the merchandise they’re promoting. Are they really sure the product they promote is really better than other goods in the market?






Photo Credit:

Tumblr Picture of Fibisco


Who Do We Listen to—Peers or Influencers?

“Awareness is fine, but advocacy will take your business to the next level.”
– Joe Tripodi, Chief Marketing Officer of Coca-Cola

When it comes to recommendations, who do you believe more? The personality with thousands of Twitter followers, the review you read the other day, or your neighbors who tried the same product you’re interested in buying? Chances are, you’ll listen to your neighbors because you know them personally and encounter them almost every day. According to Crowdtap’s study on peer influence, “it’s our close network of peers not those with a high influence ‘score’ who we turn to for recommendations for making most common purchasing decisions.” (sic)

Does this mean influencers don’t have that much persuasive power anymore?

Influencers still have clout, especially on fans. People who idolize famous personalities are intrigued with their celebrity endorsements from garments and accessories to food and causes. Those who are rather indifferent form their own opinion and don’t necessarily pick up what celebrities promote. They prefer to ask for reviews from people they know, such as family, friends and acquaintances.

In fact, 92% rely on advice from people they’re familiar with. There’s even a large difference between personal recommendations and online reviews, which stand at 70%. This is because some reviews can be falsified, or solicited by other businesses that want to blackball another company. In addition, product suggestions from people we know are far more persuasive, as they have used the merchandise firsthand.

This makes word of mouth much more effective than an influencer’s promotional posts. Customers who have been satisfied with a product or service become positive supporters of your business.

They spread the good word about your merchandise until their friends tell the same thing to their own acquaintances. This acts like a ‘virus,’ which would make many people find out how good your product is, according to so and so. Consumers looking for high-quality products will now know where to look and come to your store, generating leads for your business. Once you positively interact with the new customers and cultivate a relationship with them, they’ll tell more people about your business. This cycle will continue on and on.

Giving product advice on social media is also indicated as more effective than suggestions given on conversations or phone calls. This is because it is easier to remember recommendations when you see it posted on your account. We think about many things every day and there are some instances when we forget what we talked about with a friend the day before. This explains why online recommendations from our loved ones work more.

Reading about a product online can persuade us to check out more details. It can whet our curiosity, but this does not necessarily push us to buy. We usually look up more articles before we make a decision. If we’re persuaded with enough good reviews, then that’s the time we go to the store and buy the merchandise. This is the same situation we encounter when we see advertisements. We search for more articles or ask for advice from friends on whether we should spend money on that product.

Hearing someone advocate a product, though, will not necessarily drive us to go to the nearest store where we can find it. We may become interested, but we generally ignore the promotion. Fans, more or less, are the ones who believe the endorsement first. This is because we trust the people we know more than those we see online.




Word-of-Mouth Picture: UBC Blogs

The Power of Peer Influence

How peer influence is much more effective than relying on well-known influencers for business marketing

Word-of-mouth marketing is still the most popular and useful way to successfully market your business. Many entrepreneurs rely on influencers with a huge social clout to post professional or fun tweets and status updates about their merchandise. These people usually have more than a thousand followers or fans, who may or may not follow their suggestions to buy a particular product or service from a certain establishment.

If we really think about it, are influencers really effective in getting our marketing message across? Some would strongly agree, especially the fans, who have followed the progress of their idol since the early days. But what about those who became fans because they want to keep up to date with the influencers’ thoughts? All they do is note down and never take part in the influencer’s activities, endorsements and sponsored events. If they don’t want to join, they’ll just ignore such posts coming from the influencer.

Peer marketing is different from the dependence on influencers to market businesses. In this method, entrepreneurs rely more on their loyal customers to get the good word out. These satisfied customers tell other people about your business and refer those people to call you. This is way more effective than relying on influencers. This is proven with Duncan Watts’ study about “the pass-around power of everyday people.” The research he accumulated demonstrated that “close networks of [everyday] people drive influence on and offline.”

According to Crowdtap’s infograph, 92% of the respondents rely on advice from people they know. People listen more to their families, friends and everybody else they are familiar with, rather than some random person they encounter in the Internet with thousands of followers. Influencers do have some power over their fans’ choices, but what would you really choose — an influencer’s recommendation or a friend’s suggestion?