Social Influence Marketing is a technique that employs social media (content created by everyday people using highly accessible and scalable technologies such as:
- Message boards
- Social Networks
- Social Influencers
(Everyday people who have an outsized influence on their peers by virtue of how much content they share online) to achieve an organization’s marketing and business needs.
When designing websites it can be easy to forget how people actually buy although you should display banners and push your Web site listings higher up in the search engine rankings to promote and sell products.
It can be easy to assume that the potential customers are people who are on their own using their computers late at night choosing what products to add to a shopping cart and isolated from the real world and their family and friends. But in reality, that’s not how people purchase online today. Although it might have been the case in the early days of the Web, those days are over now. Using the Internet has become a mainstream social activity.
Consumers approach purchasing online differently, too, and as a result, you need to approach your marketing online differently as well. Your approach must incorporate social influence marketing.
Understanding the fundamentals of influence
To understand how social influence works, you need to look at how people are influenced in the real world, face to face. Social influence isn’t something new. Long before the Web, people asked each other for advice as they made purchasing decisions. What one person bought often inspired another to buy the same product, especially if the original purchaser said great things about the product. That’s how human beings function; we’re influenced and motivated by each other to do things. We’re social beings, and sharing information on our experiences is all a part of social interaction. Is influence bad? Of course not as more often than not, people seek that influence. People ask each other for advice; they share decision-making processes with friends and colleagues; they discuss their own experiences.
When discussing social influence marketing, colleagues often ask me whether this means that they should add product review features to e-commerce Web sites or advertise on social networks. Yes, product reviews and advertising are important, but there’s more to social influence than those two things.