Francis Kwok | March 1, 2012
Customers in Hong Kong and China are expanding their “sphere of influence,” through social networks and web tools. They are both actively contributing and seeking out purchase recommendations from friends, bloggers, influencers, and followers via online channels. Let’s apply effective digital strategies to reduce cost, time, and resources while securing better returns on member-get-member schemes.
According to our company’s research, over half of Hong Kong and Chinese respondents revealed they usually share promotional eDMs and messages if the content is from friends’ and relatives’ interests. Seventy-three percent of respondents have shared eDMs with their friends while 41 percent forwarded one to two eDMs every week. The most popular product categories in eDMs are food and cuisine (66 percent), travel and hospitality (45 percent), and apparel (44 percent). Interestingly, they feel a responsibility to help friends and family make wise purchase decisions. A growing number of customers influence friends and family to buy – or not buy – a product or service on a regular basis, thus they regularly influence other people’s purchase decisions.
Trend Developers – Swamped With Ideas and Create Followers
In the past, trends were based on a multitude of TV and magazine ads and inspiration from leading corporate. Individuals in the society are often neglected and have little impact on the trend development even if they are creative and swamped with ideas. Instead, most young people followed the trends. However, these all seem to shift and the younger generation these days have become the ones who make the trend and share them all over online media. It is no surprise to explore their creativity and the unique ideas on all sorts of social media on the Internet.
Trends Evolution – Spotlight on Influencers
The Internet is no longer a source of entertainment or a tool for youngsters to stay connected with social networks. It is also a platform where they are able to find out about trend updates, exchange ideas, and gain a better understanding of the products of their interests. More importantly, the Internet allows these teenagers to create and recreate. They are willing to share with others what they find interesting online simply because they enjoy doing so as opposed to seeking any monetary benefits.
How to Seek Key Influencers and Create a Snowball Effect
Undoubtedly, smart marketers identify the key influencers and trend developers by reviewing the continuous open and click rates in previous campaigns. Marketers need to analyze the preference and campaign types ranging from event invitations and promotional offers to new product updates that key influencers mostly pay attention to. Incentive stimulation programs include attractive rewards embedded in eDMs that mostly encourage key influencers to create a snowball effect. The incentives are connected with compulsory terms that further trigger key influencers to make more purchases. Moreover, the influencers tend to promptly refer more new potential prospects. The valid referrals will be secured through signing up in online registration forms and double opt-in procedures.
Meanwhile, social networks (Facebook, Weibo, and online forums) as well as social reviews have played a vital role in this rise in purchase influence. A growing number of prospects and users tend to read through reviews concerning a product and user experiences on websites, forums, and social media. They would recommend a specific product or service to friends and might further trace the product history and background on official websites. When Internet users asked for opinions on products on Facebook, they would purchase a product based on a social recommendation that was posted on a status update. Make good use of word-of mouth strategy and key influencers.
Last but not least, as we observe from our research, it is highly recommended that marketers should embrace demographic distinctions – for both gender and age – to reach influencers and showcase their brands in the best light. Marketers not only target demographics, but they should keep the influencer in mind when developing campaigns and social media programs.