Influence comes from many different kinds of people throughout our lives, but perhaps one of the first was our mom. My mom worked in a fine porcelain china and jewelry store in a small town in south Texas for about 25 years. She sold the china and one of her best friends sold the fancy watches and earrings. My mom had regular customers with whom she developed close relationships. I remember going with my dad to pick her up in the evenings and sitting on the stairs to watch her. She wore a beehive hairdo, twirly dress and high heels. She would talk to each customer and catch up with them like they were old friends.
Seeing my mom doing her job influenced me to think that was what the working world was like. Being chatty, treating customers like friends and not breaking the china. What was so hard about that?
As I grew up, I began to see her work life wasn't all roses in the Royal Doulton china pattern. She only got two weeks of vacation a year and they were according to her 10-year younger boss' schedule, not hers. She missed every single one of my 10-years of gymnastics meets because she had to work Saturdays. I didn't mind. It's just the way it was. But I began to realize that working for a company with no freedom kind of sucked. Surely there were better jobs out there. I knew my mom didn't get to go to college. But maybe if I went, I could get a job where I could take a 2-week vacation when I wanted to.
This Sunday, I'll be thinking of my mom. If you would have asked me directly if I'm anything like my mom, I would have immediately said no, I'm waaaay different. But as I work side-by-side with my co-founder who also happens to be one of my best friends and together, we talk with clients and our network of influencers like we are old friends, I realize how much I am like my mom and how much she influenced me. The only difference is, many years and jobs later, I do have the freedom to choose when I want take a vacation. And I haven't missed my daughter's gymnastics meets yet.
So cheers to my mom. You were influential in so many ways. You helped me see the important things to strive for in life. I may not call you for a recommendation on which business software to purchase - I have other influential friends for that. But when it comes to life stuff and bone china, you'll be hearing from me.
Social Scouters salutes all the moms out there who are influential in all the important stuff and wishes them a wonderful Mother's Day.
What about you? How was your mom an influence in your life?
According to Nielsen, people trust who they know. 92% of consumers say they trust recommendations from friends and family above all other forms of advertising. We call those friends and family members Nielsen is referring to "influencers."
Companies benefit greatly when they're able to find influencers in their target market, build relationships with them and later cultivate them into passionate brand advocates - a process called "influence marketing." Companies seem to be catching on, too. A recent survey by Sensei Marketing reported that 74% of companies plan to deploy influence marketing strategies (as part of their marketing mix) in the next 12 months. If you don't already have resources dedicated to this area of marketing, here are the top 10 reasons you may want to reconsider.
Influencers, once identified and cultivated into brand advocates, can be:
Brand advocates feel empowered when they're recognized for their advocacy and loyalty - stronger long-term bonds with your customers will develop. Lastly, make sure you're also thinking about ways to make influence marketing a "win" the advocates you've cultivated - We'll cover this in more detail in a future post!
How do you feel about influence marketing? Any other benefits to companies we may have missed or thoughts to consider for our future blog post on how brand advocates benefit?
Together with our influencers, we bring you Social Scouters! While our website and blog are brand new, we've been working together for over five years. We've grown to know our global network of influencers from previous projects and are excited to work with them again as the Social Scouters community.
Influence marketing is a relatively new term for a practice that's been around for a long time. The Beatles had fans. Farrah Fawcett had a following. And even Mickey Mouse had a club. Some brands placed a huge emphasis on providing excellent customer service and a customer-centric culture from the start. It wasn't long until marketing departments got into the action with programs that focused on customer advocacy or word of mouth along with their advertising campaigns. But the media landscape changed with the advent of social media. People became empowered to publish their own content, opinions and experiences. Marketing directly from companies became less influential. People naturally trusted the opinions of friends, family and respected authorities more than what a company claimed about itself.
In 2007, we started our own influence marketing program. We were privileged to meet and work with smart, engaging, influential people from all over the world. Over time, our relationships with this community deepened. We involved them at every opportunity from meeting with engineers for product feedback and featuring them as webinar guest speakers to speaking to The New York Times.
Years later, we're still connected to our network of influencers. We continue to be just as passionate about creating a culture where customers matter most and their stories are featured first.
We're ready to help more companies create an influence marketing program that becomes the hub of their culture, brand and company success.
We welcome you to Social Scouters and look forward to hearing from you.
Our Social Scouters Influence Marketing Blog covers influence marketing, brand advocates and social media.