In the past few years, we’ve seen the rise of many new trends and forms of marketing: digital marketing, social media marketing, relationship marketing, trust marketing, influencer marketing… when we connect the dots, we believe the next opportunity lies in friends marketing.
What is friends marketing?
First things first, let’s look at the numbers: according to a survey by Nielsen’s Harris Poll Online, 88% of Americans want to be rewarded in some way for sharing products or services on social media and 82% ask their peers for advice before buying something.
That’s right: people don’t just passively listen to what their friends are telling them, they actively ask for recommendations.
For a brand, that means that current clients are an incredible source for word-of-mouth advertising.
The key success factor is to introduce your customers to your ambassador program early on, when they have that “feel-good glow” and are most likely to be enthusiastic about sharing their new favorite brand — yours — with their friends.
Who engages in friends marketing campaigns?
Most of the time, when you think of a brand ambassador, you probably think of someone with a mainstream influence and name recognition, such as a celebrity.
While this type of influencer marketing remains widely popular and effective, a friends marketing strategy will most likely rely on micro influencers.
Micro influencers usually have a smaller audience — less than 1,000 followers — which is extremely engaged and trusts them: exactly what a brand needs to raise awareness and boost revenue.
Unlike affiliates who take part in affiliate marketing program, brand ambassadors who engage in friends marketing campaigns are not necessarily looking for hard cash reward: their priority is to yield recognition and brands incentives, in the form of discounts, vouchers & event invitations.
In a nutshell: you will be rewarding your customers with perks for sharing content about your brand on social networks so that their friends can discover what you are up to with a positive bias.
Why should you consider friends marketing for your brand?
Pending proper empowerment, and an appropriate marketing strategy, satisfied customers can become ambassadors and provide unparalleled benefits to your brand:
- Leveraging a 1-to-few-to-many mechanism: as you may know, satisfied customers tell three friends. Crafting a friends marketing strategy that converts your customers into your sales force allows you to rip the rewards of a one-to-many brand while spending like a one-to-few business.
- Establishing trust and legitimacy: on average, when shopping for a product or service, Millennials consult three times more comments posted on social networks than Baby Boomers. Friends marketing helps you build a positive reputation through you current customers on social networks before your next customers discover your brand.
- Delivering higher advertising ROI: friends marketing lets you harness the power of word of mouth on social network, amplifying your message in a cost-effective way compared to traditional paid media campaigns.
How to plan and launch a friends marketing campaign in 6 steps?
- Define goals: this can be as simple as setting a measurable number of comments, shares, reviews or sales.
- Identify potential ambassadors: poll your customers and ask them how they feel about your brand, for instance with a NPS survey, which measures how likely your customers are to recommend your product or service to a friend. Customers with a score of 9 or 10 are usually considered “promoters” of your brand and will most likely make great ambassadors.
- Develop relevant content: as your ambassadors will be sharing your content with their audience, make sure you create great content, ideally an interactive video, a survey, some UGC, and most importantly in line with their interests, for instance something that will make them look smart or cool in the eyes of their friends.
- Create custom rewards: as you are implementing this campaign for real advocates of your band, you are in a unique position to offer them something they really care about, such as promotional benefits (a discount for a second purchase or a sneak peek into something you are preparing, like an upcoming collection or feature).
- Help ambassadors share your branded content: social networks are a natural designated playing field for friends marketing campaigns, allowing your customers to speak about and reach hundreds of people at the push of a (few) buttons. The easier you make it for them to share you branded content, the better.
- Measure results against your goals: last but not least, you want to track accurately and reliably which ones of your ambassadors shared your branded content and what results their effort produced.
This may sounds like a lot and that’s precisely the reason why we created Spitche: to allow you to launch successful friends marketing campaigns in no time and gamify your micro influencer campaigns.
Spitche customers get on average 10x more reach & engagement when they launch a friends marketing campaign than when they publish regular Facebook posts and Matthieu Astarita, Co-Founder at Meltin Lab Barcelona reported a 15% increase in terms of traffic & enquiries with their website resulting from Spitche campaigns.
Friends marketing is a fast and easy way of transforming your customers into ambassadors, and allows you to make the most of your network’s reach, taking your brand to the next level in terms of branding, conversions and customer engagement.
This social media guest post was brought to you by the good team at Spitche: you can request a demo or get started with their friends marketing solution here.