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How businesses can harness the recommendation power of peers

Say what you will about your product, but the consumer will be more willing to trust their friends' feedback than a marketing campaign – here's how businesses can grab hold of that trend to harness the power of the peers.
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In recent years, brands have cottoned on to the power of peer-to-peer recommendations. In fact, studies have shown that 92 per cent of consumers trust recommendations from family and friends more than brand marketing.

Some of the most popular forms of peer-to-peer recommendations can be found via social media, video and mobile. All play a key role within the purchasing process of any product, whereby buyers now have the ability to check reviews, ask a friend and search for competitive products whilst in the shop in question.

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Since an endorsement pushes a customer down the purchasing channel like no other, how can brands turn their customers into advocates?

Get creative

Whether it’s video or an image, create fun and engaging ways for your customers to interact with your brand online. Getting customers involved with campaigns is a great way to make them feel a part of the brand and, in turn, increase the chances of turning them into advocates.

For example, an art organisation can increase brand awareness by asking consumers to socially share their favourite pieces of work, with the customer that receives the most amount social engagement winning their chosen piece. This earned content becomes an endorsement of the brand and promoted across their customers’ social channels.

Focus on influencers 

Another way to gain peer recommendations is through a brand influencer campaign: a select group of influencers is identified and sent a free product or experience. This VIP experience increases enthusiasm about the brand and persuades them to share their experience/product on social.

For example a soft drinks provider, who is launching a new flavour, can give this product to the most socially influential individuals in the beverage industry. Receiving the new product first makes the individual feel valued and special, consequently improving the chances of them endorsing the product across their social channels. This type of campaign is great for brands wanting to target socially influential people without paying for the advert.

Invite storytelling

Creative social sharing can also be a platform on which brands are able to create and utilise peer-to-peer recommendations. Inviting buyers to tell their stories about the brand, or their use of it, can be a great way to share recommendations without paying for it. Harnessing these stories across social platforms can be an effective way to motivate consumers down the purchase channel. 

Generating engaging content motivates your customers to socially share and, in doing so, brings your brand to the forefront of their peers’ minds when making a purchasing decision. There’s no denying the power of peer recommendations and taking steps to build social connections with your customers will ultimately increase the likelihood of a positive customer review.

Fabrice Etienne is the marketing director at Lithium Technologies.

Image via Shutterstock.

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