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BizReport : Social Marketing : September 08, 2008

Online communities must have influencers

So, you've begun - or are thinking of beginning - an online community surrounding your brand. Good decision. Now, before launching that community make sure influencer programs are in place to assist other community members. According to a recent report companies with influencer programs have a higher rate of loyalty.

by Kristina Knight

Forum One Networks commissioned the study which finds that for both growth and engagement levels, influencers are a must-have commodity.

To date, too many brands have begun social platforms like community networks with very short term goals: they wanted to have the latest trends readily available or wanted to be the first to have the latest technology. In doing this, they have forgotten that without influence, an online community is little more than a space for people to talk - and not necessarily about your brand.

Influencer programs give brands a better edge over the competition because they reward the biggest influencers in the network because the influencers are given a stake in the community, therefore the brand. In today's social sphere, a community network, rather than being a short term campaign hit should be thought of as a long term way to build loyalty and engagement; the payoff may not be as big or as bright as straight forward campaign but the rewards will be better.

Tags: brand engagement, loyalty marketing, online community, social networking

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