In your opinion, what is that one reason that inspires people to buy things online or follow a brand?
Yes, you guessed it right. They usually do so because it comes highly recommended by their peers or social media celebrities. That’s when the entire concept of clout kicks in. Not sure? Read on to find out.
What is Clout, Anyway?
As we discussed, people would happily spend more money on things if they are endorsed by people they trust. If you endorse a product, your friends and families would trust it. But when you have millions of followers, your sphere of influence is much bigger. When you recommend something, the click rate of that product is likely to go gaga. This is what is called clout in social media marketing.
According to Harvard Business Review, surviving in the aggressive nature of online marketing and brand competition is impossible by simply trying to generate sales. Companies need to change their focus from generating sales to creating long term relationships with customers. This way, they have lifelong followers of products and services who are open to future products.
To create lifelong relationships in online marketing, you need clout. The bigger your sphere of influence, or clout, the higher your chances of attracting the right people for your brand at the right time. You can tell them what to think or feel or do.
How Do You Get ‘Clout’?
Clout comes from creating content that people want. Simply having a brand name is not enough.
Take for example the story of Victoria’s Secret vs. Fenty Beauty feud. Victoria’s Secret has been dominating fashion and lifestyle trends for decades to a generation of women with their trendy lingerie and in-vogue fashion.
Yet when Fenty launched, being a brand by Rihanna, people already had high hopes for it. Fenty took it to the next level by breaking out the age-old idea of beauty that companies like Victoria’s Secret have been peddling, and made fashion in-vogue for women of all shapes, colors and body types.
Fenty did this through the creation of a body positivity movement, fashion shows, and content that millions of people related to worldwide. While Victoria’s Secret kept falling out of favor, Fenty Beauty captured a market share while showcasing plus-sized and non-conventionally beautiful women in all their rightful glamour. The rest is history.
The key takeaway: Content is what makes people connect to a brand. Create the right persona, story, and content for your brand, and people will spend time reading your story and listening to what you have to say.
Yet the content cannot simply be anything. You need content that creates a major influence on people. Something people can rally behind and can relate to.
The majority of transactions, shopping, and reaching out from the brands to customers happen online nowadays. Businesses need to take the opportunity to create the right kind of content which can generate clout. To do so, here are a few tried and tested formulas.
Best Ways to Generate Clout
Reach Out to Influencers
Whether they are twitter verified accounts with millions of followers or Instagram celebs — influencers make a lot of decisions for people. Many of them look up to influencers to understand the viability of a product, and the influencers fill that void by providing product reviews, brand ratings, DIYs, and so on.
Influencers have networking skills, which is why they have garnered millions of followers. If you want to become an influencer for your brand, start by following up on what they are doing, because they have clout.
Build a Presence
Building clout takes time. You have to be available on every social media platform all day long. Posting a couple of tweets or one Facebook post in a week will not give you influence over customers who are looking to get engaging content from you. You can hire a social media manager to handle your media handles.
Interact, Interact, and Interact
Clout on social media comes from interacting with your audience. Posting engaging content will take you half the way, you have to finish off the race by ensuring you keep in touch with people who are writing, tweeting, mentioning, and tagging your brand.
If anyone has a complaint, respond to them immediately. Mistakes happen, but people are ruthless about brands that do not take customer complaints seriously. Don’t ignore anyone, and don’t engage in arguments.
Keep your response light, funny, or professional. The more you interact; the more people will begin trusting your brand for being reliable. So, the next time you put out a post on a product, they will take it more seriously.
When in Doubt – Blog
Blogs are a great way of creating your content. You can be adding a lot of value to the lives of your customers. For example, if you are a fashion brand, create a blog with the latest trends, colors, celeb wears, and styles. Relate it to your brand and people will be more likely to buy from you.
The good thing about blogs is that you can also ask veterans in your industry to leave guest posts for your brand in exchange for products or rewards. Bloggers are very open to the idea of guest posts and they will help promote your content, which means you can bank on their clout.
Follow People Who Have Social Media Clout
To be someone, you have to know the right people. And many have had the same questions that you are having as a new brand. You can find someone who has the same experience and audience you are aiming for and follow their social media. You get to see what they promote, how they tweet, and how they are creating an influence on social media. Then emulate the best practices in your brand and you have the perfect recipe for success.
So, All Set?
As a new brand or business, it is insanely difficult to generate a position of influence. The only surefire way of making it to the top is to rinse and repeat, learn from the mistakes others have made, and make sure you are listening to your audience. After all, your clout is only as big as your following.