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Good Influence: taking “word-of-mouth” and supercharging it

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Good Influence: taking “word-of-mouth” and supercharging it
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As a Loyalty Truth reader, you may already be aware of the importance of identifying and nurturing “brand advocates”—that core group of customers who are so pleased with your products or services that they tell others about it. What makes brand advocates so valuable? Their ability to boost sales.

It has long been established that word-of-mouth advertising, where I tell friends and acquaintances about your product or service, is more likely to lead to a sale than paid advertising. And today, with the proliferation of social media, there are more ways than ever for your brand advocates to spread the good word, creating social loyalty, if you will.

That’s where Zaptitude, a small company out of New Jersey, came up with a simple, but smart idea: What if you used the power of social networking to “amplify” the word-of-mouth of satisfied customers, enabling brand advocates to spread their word further and more powerfully than ever? It’s the concept behind their social media platform Good Influence.

Make a purchase at a site that uses Good Influence and, along with your order confirmation, you’ll see an iframe that invites you to share your purchase with the social media vehicle of your choice—be it Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etcetera. The greater your social reach, the greater your potential value as a brand advocate.

But that’s just part of the Good Influence story. I talked to the company’s founder, Dan Lynn, and he believes there are two key attributes that set the platform apart:

  1. The flexibility to test outgoing messages in real time to see which are pulling the most shares and click-throughs—allowing them to tweak the messaging as they go to maximize effectiveness.
  2. The ability to monitor what Lynn calls the “ripple effect” and measure just how far a customer’s social media posting travels and how their activities result in additional sales downstream.

Additionally, Good Influence has the ability to attach points to social media activities and reward customers for sharing, as well as engagement and conversions that result from that sharing. So marketers can potentially use the platform to create an old-school-style loyalty program with a tier-based reward system based on the total number of points a customer accumulates.

The platform generates a ton of data that helps identify which brand advocates have the highest value. For instance, if a customer named John makes a $10 purchase, Good Influence can tell you his connections bought in say $100 worth of incremental sales, while their connections bought in an additional $85 in sales. So, while John is a $10 customer, in this case he brought in $195-plus in sales through his social currency.

One example of the Good Influence platform in action is a recent campaign for Office Depot’s 2013 “Back to School” effort. Office Depot partnered with the pop group One Direction in a “Together Against Bullying” campaign that asked fans to get out an anti-bullying message via tweets, Instagram messages and Facebook shares. The top 50 fans, based on who drove the most total clicks to a contest Web page, were rewarded with special campaign merchandise.

The results: Over 10 million visits to the campaign Web page and almost 500 million impressions driven across social and digital channels. It also resulted in an increase in Office Depot sales, while potentially creating a large new group of Office Depot customers. (Admittedly, it helps when your campaign features the world’s most popular teen pop band, but the results were impressive nonetheless!)

Stop and think about your brand or the brand you work for. Are you making the most of your brand advocates? Is there a way to make them an even more powerful selling tool than they already are?

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