How to Reach Positional Influencers to Succeed with Your Social Media Marketing Campaign - dummies

How to Reach Positional Influencers to Succeed with Your Social Media Marketing Campaign

By Shiv Singh, Stephanie Diamond

One category of influencers you want to consider for your social media marketing campaign are the positional influencers. These are the people who are closest to your customers and influence them the most at the point of purchase.

Because they are the people who have to live with the purchasing decision, they are the most vested in it, too. But they’re not celebrities, so they’re not always noticeable and can be the hardest to find. They’re important, but marketing to them can be similarly difficult.

What makes tapping into the positional influencers harder still is the fact that how big a role they play in a purchasing decision varies dramatically by the purchase. For example, if you were to buy a desk for your home, your spouse or significant other would have a huge impact on the purchasing decision. That person’s opinion would heavily influence where you shop and what you choose.

On the other hand, if you were purchasing a laptop for professional use, that person would play a much smaller role in the purchasing decision. This is because the choice doesn’t impact that person significantly and the product isn’t of interest to him or her even though it’s a high-consideration purchase.

Without a doubt, positional influencers are important. Identifying them can be challenging, as can developing an understanding of the weight they may carry.

Separating the referent influencers from the positional influencers can be hard sometimes, especially when you’re marketing on a social platform. In those cases, separating these two types of influencers doesn’t matter as much. What matters is to give your customers incentives to bring their influencers to you so that you can market to them as well.

Focus on getting your customers’ influencers, and the right influencers will be influenced, and then they’ll do the influencing for you!

Understanding the circles of influence around your customers

It is important to understand who will be most impacted by the purchasing decisions of your customers. That alone will tell you who the positional influencers are and how important their influence is. For example, with first-time car purchases, family members are very important positional influencers because they’ll be riding in the car and, in some cases, driving it, too.

Letting consumers shape and share the experience

Reaching positional influencers may be hard, but your customers will reach them for you. Make sure that your e-commerce website or even your campaign-centric microsite allows for the sharing of content and posting to Facebook and other social platforms.

Let the consumers shape and share the experiences in any format that they want. Make it easy for customers to pluck information, such as product sheets and e-books, from your website and carry that information elsewhere and to their positional influencers.

Articulating your product benefits for multiple audiences

You probably always assume that you’re selling a product to your target customer, ignoring the fact that social influencers play a big role in the purchasing decision. If you know who the influencers are, articulate your product benefits so that they resonate with the influencers, too.

Regarding the example of purchasing a car: If you’re selling a car to a college student demographic, tout the safety benefits, because the students’ parents will most probably be involved in the purchasing decision. Don’t ignore them.

Fishing where the fish are

Marketing to your customers where they spend their time online is a cliché in social media marketing, but the point holds strongest in the context of positional influencers. Because these influencers are the hardest to find yourself, you need to make sure that you’re marketing and selling your products where these positional influencers probably influence your customers.

So it goes without saying that you need to have a deep presence on all the social platforms where your customers and their influencers are congregating.

But locating your positional influencers also means that you need to design your website or your presence on the social platforms to encourage your customers to reach out to those influencers. You need to include the built-in share functionality that most website and blog platforms have — that is, functionality that lets users take product information from your website and socialize it with their influencers. You can allow users to share your website info.


Offering friends and family incentives

When talking about social influencers and the role they play in brand affinity and purchasing decisions, you can easily forget that many marketers have been practicing these concepts in the physical world for decades. One of the most popular examples of reaching out to social influencers is in the form of “friends and family” incentives.

For example, AT&T has a special family plan for its mobile phone service. If your whole family uses the service, you get discounts on the monthly plan.

The best way to engage the positional influencers around your customers is to have your customers engage them for you. You get them to engage the positional influencers by giving them incentives to do so or by converting the purchasing decision into a group decision.