Ninety percent of marketers planned increases in their influencer marketing budgets and Instagram influencer marketing spend was expected to reach $8 billion in 2020.
But what if there was already a group of people close to your customers that impacts them significantly more than influencers?
Friends and family are some of the biggest influences on consumers’ opinions about brands. If a significant percentage of your customers spreads the good news about various attributes of your brand, you will benefit overall.
Brand loyalty is an important thing and when your most engaged customers evangelize for you by telling their family and friends, they make your job that much easier.
When consumers try brands and have great experiences, they tell their family and friends, and a halo effect occurs that sparks ongoing widespread loyalty.
How Important Are Brand Recommendations From Family and Friends?
According to the 2022 Customer Loyalty Data Study: What Are the True Drivers of Loyalty in the Minds of Consumers?, 76% of consumers say opinions of family and friends impact their loyalty to brands.
In fact, family and friends have more influence over brand recommendations than paid endorsements (44%). Consumers value the opinions of family and friends for brand decisions more than anything else, including price.
People trust their family and friends so they welcome recommendations from that group and are eager to try new brands based on them. Brands always try to create emotional connections with their customers, so if they’re recommended by family or friends, those connections exist from the start.
When consumers become loyal based on recommendations from family and friends, they will engage regularly and make those brands part of their daily lives.
How Consumers Act Between Purchases Significantly Impacts Loyalty
Brands are always trying to figure out how to increase engagement with their customers, especially in the time between purchases.
This period between purchases is when your best and most loyal customers function as brand advocates and help grow your customer base. Creating a sense of community is important for any brand and triggers customer engagement between purchases.
When a brand creates a feeling of community among its customers, it also creates a halo effect between transactions. Customers feel excited and energized about your brand and want to share their thoughts and sentiments with others within that community.
While the study identified price (17%), convenience (6%), and product quality (27%) as three key factors that determine customer loyalty , the interactions with the brand and other advocates develop emotional connections that leave lasting impressions.
These actions spread your brand messaging and build significantly more customer loyalty.
Create a Customer Engagement Solution That Your Members Want to Tell Everyone About
Loyalty programs and creative engagement strategies are great ways to get your customers excited about sharing.
Combining transactional and experiential loyalty helps fuel your customers’ engagement levels. Filling your loyalty program with incentivized engagement methods (sweepstakes, contests, offers, rebates, and social kickbacks) heightens the excitement around your loyalty program.
For example, if you have a loyalty program that uses incentivized engagement, members might submit purchase receipts to redeem sweepstakes entries. When members reach certain thresholds, they find different prize tiers. They also can earn more chances via trivia, polls, or app downloads, and inviting friends to join.
Your brand can also invite customers to share several types of stories on social media and you can reward the best entries. This is a wonderful way for customers to spread your brand messaging.
Give customers a reason to engage in incentivized engagement through watching educational videos, answering profile surveys, taking polls, opting-in to brand communication, and following a brand on social channels.
Family and Friends Are Your Biggest Influencers
Family and friends are the biggest influencers for consumers and brands should encourage that halo effect of sharing.
Consumers are influenced by friends and family. If consumers have good experiences, they tell their friends and families.
It’s important for brands to think holistically about their customer loyalty and engagement strategies and try to offer something for their different customer groups.