Transform your customers into influencers

In today’s world, we are overwhelmed by choice. With the rise of online shopping, brands and retailers can no longer rely on their in-store sales staff to do the ‘hard sale’ anymore. They now have to go the extra mile to educate, build trust and convince online shoppers.

“Businesses need to adapt to stay relevant. Creating a piece of content and pushing it to all your marketing channels belong to the old age. Brands need to find new authentic ways to engage, build trust and connect with their audience.”
Rob Bennett, CEO Rehab agency.

The main question is ‘How?’

The importance of third-party influence

Online research is a huge part of our decision-making journey, especially when we are parting with a lot of money as it helps us establish trust and filter out brands and products.

Take a smartphone, for example, we may start on the brand or retailer website, go on YouTube and flick through the various “tech influencer” videos, read customer reviews and articles from tech magazines, all before making an informed and thought-out purchase decision.

Businesses today have a tendency to invest a disproportionate amount of money on the Mega influencers (Following base of more than 1M subscribers). A recent study shows that almost 20% of companies spend half of their budget on influencers. In their eyes, it’s an expensive but effective way to get content in front of millions of potential online shoppers. This is true but there is “BUT”.

Influence vs Advocacy

Although working with Mega Influencers continues to be very successful for brands, it is slowly diluting the sense of advocacy which was once the main reason for the collaboration. Nowadays you rarely see influencers endorsing a brand (unless sponsored). They are becoming more professional, almost acting as journalists to inform their followers rather than creating advocacy.

“The confusion between influencers and advocates is common. To be an advocate you need a deep connection with the brand, its products and services, which is often only achieved by being a loyal customer.”
Alexandra Dunn, Social Media Specialist and Founder of Common.

Customer advocacy has never been more important and Brands need to find it elsewhere. Going back to the smartphone example, if you speak to an Apple or Samsung smartphone owner, you’ll soon find that they are passionate about their choice of brand and will try to convince you to switch.

Customers are your new influencers

Customer influence is not something new. Businesses over the last 10 years have been using tools to generate text reviews from their customers. Shortly after an online purchase, the retailer often sends a “How was your purchase?” email and requests a review.

This works great for many businesses.

But something is still missing.

Marques Brownlee (10.5M subscribers) didn’t gain his popularity by writing reviews. He did it by creating great video content and leaving his audience wanting more.

It’s part of a growing trend that sees more people turning to video for information on products they are interested in. In recent years, YouTube videos with ‘review’ in the title had more than 50,000 years worth of watch time on mobile alone.

Why businesses need to invest in generating video reviews

Many definitions of the term “customer review” still state that it is a ‘written reflection of a customer’s experience with and feedback on a company’s products or service.’

But it’s time to change this to include ‘video.’

  • Seeing is believing
    Going back to the point made at the start on the increased importance of building trust online to convince shoppers – video reviews add an extra layer of trust. They are naturally a more personal medium than text, as you are able to see the reviewer’s facial expressions, their body language and hear their tone of voice. This deeper connection of trust between the viewer and the reviewer will be associated with the brand, encouraging a purchase. In fact, 64% of shoppers are influenced by videos to make purchases vs. text reviews (Forbes, 2018).
  • People prefer watching over reading
    Our attention spans have lessened, as has our willingness to read. If you have both video and text on the same page, 72% of people will watch the video to learn about your product or service rather than read the text (HubSpot, 2018).
  • Encourages more engagement
    It is easier for customers to watch a short video than absorb a lengthy product review. According to Forbes, the average user spends 88% more time on a website with video (2018).

So what’s next?

To help build trust and convince online shoppers, businesses need to connect with their customers and unlock their influence through video. However, it needs to be easy for the customers to record those videos and they need to be formatted with quality control to be hosted on a business website. Many will struggle to find a platform that allows their customers to create quality content that others can consume easily and use to make an informed decision.

That’s where a company like Veview can bring technology to bridge the gap. Veview helps brands and retailers to activate their customer base via an easy-to-use app, transforming them into influencers by hosting the content on their website. Find out more here.

Businesses need to diversify their marketing activities and cover multiple touchpoints. Every marketer knows that they should invest both in “above the line” and “below the line” advertising. It’s the same concept with influencers, marketers should invest both in Mega influencers and Customer influencers.  

Gillian is the founder and CEO  of Veview an innovative video review platform to help Brands and Retailers to transform their customers into influencers.

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Veview Group Limited 71-75, Shelton Street Covent Garden London WC2H 9JQ