Enhancing Your Virtual Community

by Grace Miller |

Sales strategy has changed drastically over the last few years alone.  This change of direction is driven by one source – the customer.  But what who is the influencer of customer purchase decisions?

Understanding your customers

Building your community starts with understanding who creates it: your fans and followers.   You may already know your target audience but ask yourself, where do they spend their time on your channels? Re-identify these demographics; examine income, age and gender, and medium preferences, as they most likely will have similar backgrounds and goals. With this power you can look into finding out who your buyers are influenced by the most.  Those influencers can become a good fit as a representative for your community.  In this blog article I will talk about the benefits of boosting your own Visual Commerce Community.

Why should I have a Visual Commerce Community?

A Visual Commerce Community is a self-contained, social community where your customers can share and gain inspiration around brand.  It is a hub of people to exchange ideas, interests and share experiences.  Successful marketers don’t just strive to add zeroes to their follower counts; instead they attract and engage their communities. Influencers are a must for most communities:  they represent your brand to increase your visibility and simultaneously increase your credibility with new audiences. In terms of time, effort, and the ability to direct consumer attention to the points you want to make, influencers can be a critical part of your marketing.

How do you connect with your community?

The evolution of marketing has moved from the social age in which marketers are experimenting with Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to the post-social, in which brands are developing sophisticated online communities to reach buyers, prospects, and social influencers.  When marketing your product or service, consider enhancing your online community with these integrations:

  • “Liking” and sharing function with your product or service
  • Social Questions and Answers.  Allow your community ability for easily accessible content from product experts and influencers.

With these two integrations you can encourage engagement and activity on your channels where customers can share their experience and knowledge to other potential buyers.

What can influencers do for my brand?

Influencers of your customers have an incredible impact because they’re viewed as incredibly more trustworthy than traditional advertisers and messages. They act as a gateway, a shortcut to valuable information for their friends. They filter and synthesize what’s going on in the world- business, fashion, trends, news, etc. – and share it with their social networks.

To understand the importance of the magnitude of what an influencer can do, let’s consider an influencer who has 20,000 Facebook likes.  Your marketing team has created a video for the influencer to spread the word about your brand.  Out of an influencer’s 20,000 fans, 12,000 of them may share the video on their wall or through a friend.  Their sharing results in another 50,000 other people seeing your video.  There is a strong possibility that at least of those 50,000 people who see your video, 25% of them convert to customers.  That is equivalent to 12,500 new customers.

  • 78% of people say that a company’s social media posts impact their purchase decision.

Once you have found the right influencer for you, through Visual Commerce he or she can create a dynamic and unique display to promote your product or service.  It is important to keep your display up-to-date and consistently flowing with new product and content to keep your community engaged.

Measuring Influencer Impact

It is a balance between your brand and the influencer, the influencer and their audience.  The good news is that influencer impact is quantifiable and can be measured through metrics.  When it comes to gauging the impact of an influencer, start simple by focusing on the three core elements you already track and optimize for other campaigns:

  1. Curation: Track the top performing pictures from your provided channels including influencers and order the top performing pictures first for your audience.
  2. Quantify an influencer’s impact on actual sales figures
    1. Attraction: How many influencer-sourced prospects come to your website?
    2. Lead Conversion: How many influencer-sources prospects convert to followers?
    3. Sales Conversion: How many followers convert into customers?
  3. Follow and track the engagement from your influencers

Stay focused

Measuring and demonstrating the success of your influencer marketing practice is critical for optimization.  By offering your customers the chance to interact with other customers and by bringing on influencers to speak your brand, you will have a self-contained, social community where your customers can share and gain inspiration around brand.

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