Creating social waves of adoption for your brand

Influencers are critical players to amplify the drop of one customer transaction, to the ripple effect of opinion leaders talking and the wave of trend setters creating followers.

Great in theory, but how in practice would a brand generate social waves?

The very worst move a brand can make is to jump on broadcast social media such as Twitter, Linked In, Facebook and think, just by being there, the magic will happen. A channel choice is not a strategy, one has to dig deeper to understand the natural conversation in the market place and the value exchange in the transmission of ideas from trend setter to follower.

An article from Forrester Research: Social Media Amplifies Your B2B Buyers Experiences by Kim Celestre (thanks Kim!), provides some powerful insights into how technology is adopted by business and there are many parallels on how ideas, fashions and product brands are adopted by your customers.

Check these hard hitting facts, you will be surprised how important peer to peer influence is in a sale.

At awareness stage
Peers inside their organization offer 60% of information
Sales people offer 65%
Industry Leader reviews offer 35%

At the consideration stage
Peers inside their organization offer 63% of information
Sales people offer 50%
Industry Leader reviews offer 33%

At the moment of purchase
Peers inside their organization offer 63% of information
Sales people offer 40%
Industry Leader reviews offer 33%

At the post sale perception building
Peers inside their organization offer 75% of information
Sales people offer 30%
Industry Leader reviews offer 25%

These stats will vary with each business, but peer opinion is the leading driver for a sale and it actually increases in its influence post sale, suggesting advocates create advocates.

Check out how the influence of the sale person falls after the awareness stage! Reading behind the lines, when it comes to purchase time, people are turning to the opinion of peers who are not driven by self interest. The Industry Opinion Leaders, the “talking head”, “voice of authority” hold a steady 30% level of influence across the buying process.

The research goes on to rate support forums and discussion groups as the lead source of social media data at 30% at awareness stage. Professional networking sites (not Linked In and Facebook) and Blogs are good at awareness stage (25%) but peter out in the influencing stage at purchase (around 9%). At the bottom of the pile are Twitter, Facebook and Linked In.

There is no other way to hold mastery over the social waves of adoption than to have a brand that is worth talking about and understand how ideas and information moves through your customer community. This takes research, both research through analyzing the conversation in the market place, and research of your market, to analyse ‘who is saying what to whom and why’.

This knowledge will drive social waves of adoption far more effectively than any social media campaign can achieve, and a social media campaign that is part of the real social waves around your brand, are the social media campaigns that will be effective.

Louise Kelly
Managing Director
Hearts and Minds
http://www.heartsandminds.com.au

Founder Thought Leaders Circle
http://www.thoughtleaderscircle.com

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