Peer influence is one of the most powerful forms of control that exist within humans. In a simple definition, it is how the behavior of people can subconsciously impact on others.
Bringing it to the realm of marketing, peer influence marketing is how customers influence others to buy a product through word of mouth and recommendations.
The difference between influence and a peer to peer influencer is that the latter is closer to the target audience especially the millennial and Gen Z who feel a product is more authentic when someone who is as “ordinary” as them recommends it.
Celebrities, influencers, and micro-influencers are still useful in the influencing market strategy, but it seems the peer to peer influencing is gaining more traction because it drives straight home. Aside from family and friends, most people trust their peer’s recommendation than any other social groups.
Why peer to peer influencing marketing is different?
P2P is a breath of fresh air for people who feel businesses are becoming aggressive and overbearing with their marketing and advertising strategies.
They are tired of hearing product recommendation from celebrities that are obviously paid to do so and probably does not use the product. These days, people want genuine advice about a product, and P2P is the best way to achieve it.
People who recommend products to other customers who might be their friends or someone they came across on social media complaining about a problem which they know a solution to, do not do it because of the money attached to it, but because they have used the product and it works for them.
When people don’t get paid for recommending a product, they will only do it if they believe in it. However, this is not to say companies who recognize consumers that recommend their product will not give some form of reward be it a concert ticket, mobile phones, or gifts that represent their companies. Peer to peer influence marketing restores authenticity to brands and their products
Peer to peer marketing strategy
Here is how you can use peer to peer influencing for your marketing strategy:
Identify your target audience
Every successful marketing strategy begins by locating the target audience. You don’t want to waste your marketing efforts on people who do not value what you have to offer.
To identify your target audience, you’ll need to understand your business and what you are offering to your customers. Then find out the unique solution your product and services can contribute to solving the problem of your target. Identify the pain points of your audience and how your product can help solve the problems.
Find out the peer influencers
You’ll need to identify the individuals who selflessly talk about your products without expecting and connect with them. Before this, you’ll need to find out more information to see if they are a good fit for your brand.
Make P2P attractive to customers
Your customers might love your products, but it may take more to make them recommend your products to others except for the feeling that a person is in dire need of it. Most companies have adopted techniques to make peers recommend their brand to others.
You can make people who show interest in your brand become your informal influencers. They don’t need to have millions and thousands of followers like celebrities and top influencers. They already have their friends, family, and people around their social circle who trusts them and would be willing to try any product they recommend.
The big catch here is that you don’t need to pay them massive amounts of money as you do to top influencers, you only need to appreciate with a little token such as free access to your paid platform.
If you deal in bitcoins, you can offer tokens for watching, liking, posting, or sharing your content. You can also reward them through discounts, flat fees, referral program, and of course, gift cards, free products.
If you look at it, your customers have been helping you generate lots of money by referring others to your product; it’s only fair you finally get to offer them something. That way, they become more enthusiastic and involved in hunting down more customers for your products or services.
Build a community of people using your products so that customers can connect and express themselves. Having a community also makes it easier for people to refer others to your brand as they can always tell them to join the platform to see feedback on your product from real people and not celebrities.
Communities also help to build customer loyalty and makes it easier for brands to get feedback from their customers on how to improve their products or services.
You can make the community more exciting by adding challenging features that will make the customer strive to get attention. For example, if you have a platform created for your users, which is different from social media, you can use features such as power users and super users. You’ll need to add rules that will help them attain such powers and then add benefits to encourage the customers.
This method increases audience engagement, which is essential for every business online. It is easier to introduce reward programs when you have a community as it also increases the excitement of the users. Your reward program can be in the form of special recognition of high scoring customer, badges, points, tokens, or anything else that motivates customers and also lead to more engagements.
Get more buyer to spread the word
Make your customers spread the word about your products and services, keeping in mind the power of recommendation. You can do this by building brand loyalty. Ensure your customers are satisfied with your brand by asking them their experience with your products or service and how it can improve.
You should also respond immediately to their complaints and act on their feedback if it’s possible. Doing this shows how much you value your customers, and they will not hesitate to spread the word about your brand, making them your very own brand ambassador without having to pay heavily for it.
You can attract first time buyers to spread the word about your brand by offering a discount on the next purchase. It would make them repeat purchase, especially if your products were satisfying. Moreover, when they buy more, offer then gift coupons. Strategically get your buyers to become customers and then ambassadors of your brand to their family, friends, colleagues, and so on.