Let me start with a disclaimer – I am not a social media expert, nor a marketing expert, but what I am is observant. I am observant of the trends with business, observant of the effect of technology on society, and in addition to being observant, I have worked with both clients and employers that have used social media in marketing efforts and I have been privy to see the results of solutions to which I have contributed in creating.

Last week I had the opportunity to observe one of my clients in the execution of Social Influence Marketing. To rephrase Paul Bradley Smith into my own definition, Social Influence Marketing is the use of the leaders/authors/owners of networks, groups, and blogs to reach a specific market or demographic. Stated another way – it is finding the Social Media personality with the followers that match the marketer’s channel objectives.

Social Media Chain of Influence

Social Media Chain of Influence

A regional department store wishes to expand their customer base to include a specific demographic. They hired a PR firm to assist them with this effort. The PR firm contacted my client. My client is the author of a fashion blog website which also has social media presence on Facebook and Instagram with tens of thousands of followers that fit the desired demographic.

The department store sponsored an upscale event and the PR firm asked my client to host the event and to invite followers to attend. There were door prizes, raffle giveaways, hor d’oeuvres, bottled water, wine, and a DJ. The turn out was impressive with some followers traveling to the event from the expanded metropolitan area. I got a chance to witness first hand, the social media campaign my client and I launched and the resultant turnout from followers that turned into sales.

The Return On Investment (ROI) for the department store came in several ways. As shown in the diagram, the department store definitely benefited from social influence marketing through the awareness associated to my client promoting the event. This was good, but I also personally witnessed merchandise sales – in part because the department store incentivized followers by giving them an extra 20% off any purchases made. For the followers that did not purchase merchandise, they were able to connect with and experience the stores brand – also a good thing. Lastly, the store’s raffle was a great way to obtain the contact information of the event attendees and add them to mailing lists for future communication.

The use of social influence marketing is definitely a successful approach for retailers, but my client also benefited greatly from the event in the following ways:

  • Expanded credibility
  • Deepened brand positioning as an expert with followers
  • Established personal connections with followers (possibly creating ambassadors)
  • Increased exposure on both Facebook and Instagram with use of an event hash-tag and followers posting content to it and my client’s hash-tag

The entire situation was a Win-Win-Win. Personal relationship selling is one of the best ways to market products or services. Use of social media can help facilitate developing a personal relationship and ultimately supporting individual marketing. Contact Coach Clinton to assist you and your business in developing a social influence marketing campaign.