In a time when consumers trust what other people say about brands more than the brands themselves, knowing who your most influential customers are has never been more important. The good news is that the investment and time required to take care of your influencers is usually pretty low — but the return on investment can be very high.
Recognizing your influencers isn’t difficult. They tend to have lots of friends and followers, and enjoy sharing and creating content.
One way to better understand who your influencers are is to give each of your customers unique coupon codes and encourage them to share them with friends. The customer codes shared the most will probably belong to influencers. These can be your customers with the most reach and/or the strongest ties with their friends and associates.
And instead of just doing single campaigns, try this multiple times and start building an overall “influencer score” for your customers. You can also use free services like Klout and my firm’s Rapleaf API to better understand your customers’ behavior on the social web. Once you know who your influencers are, you should do the following:
- pamper them with special promotions, referral rewards and early access to events;
- invite them to a brand advocate program;
- surprise them with free shipping, treats on birthdays and customer anniversaries, and more; and
- set up customer service flags so your employees know they’re dealing with a VIP customer that needs to be treated with care.