A few days back, I decided to check out this newly-opened restaurant in Gurgaon that I’d been hearing about from friends. As I sat there, enjoying my breakfast, the restaurant owner walked up to me and started telling me about the restaurant. He showed me around the whole restaurant, told me about few of their special dishes and also gave me 25% off discount coupon for my next visit.

It was a great experience! I instantly made a Facebook check-in into the restaurant, posted a picture, and mentioned about my experience. Friends liked, commented and asked for more details.

I shared the experience with my room-mates, colleagues and a few other friends. A lot of them made plans to visit the place the following weekend itself. Suddenly, the ‘fairly new to town’ restaurant was in the visiting list of atleast a 100 more people now.

Did you realize the incredible power of Peer-To-Peer influence at play here?

This incident led me to realize the superiority of peer-to-peer influence over advertisements and other form of promotions. No ad blocker can hamper the kind of impact it makes as it is a direct communication between your current and prospective customers.

“Nothing sells like celebrity” –The New York Times declared in a 2008 article. Almost a decade later, Celebrity endorsements don’t pack the same punch they used to.

As trendsetting as they are, celebrities can’t totally persuade people that they actually like the products they endorse. That’s why their ads are being replaced by content created by real-world social influencers commanding a niche expertise. But even influencers can’t foster personal connections with your brand like a friend or family member. A recommendation from a person who can relate to is the ascendancy of personalized, genuine marketing. That said, forward-thinking brands are embracing Peer-To-Peer Influencer Marketing and hyperlocal retail sector is not spared from its impact either.

Earlier, the influencer marketing used to be considered useful only for global B2C brands but here we give you 4 Reasons which assure the relevance of Peer-To-Peer Influencer for hyperlocal businesses.

Authenticity -:  Peer-To-Peer influencer marketing is perceived as one of the most authentic marketing channels by the audience. No one has a script or makes an exaggerated video when they recommend a product to a friend. It’s just a normal conversation and that’s the beauty of it. Influencers who actually use the product to augment their everyday lives can add that much sought-after attribute of credibility which no other source can.

Relatability  -: Be it an outfit worth Rs. 2000 or an electronic device costing up to Rs. 20,000 , we tend to trust the recommendations of the people we  can relate to because they know our lives better than any celebrity does. Also, when a friend recommends a product or shares a referral, they can have a conversation about it more easily than a celebrity.

Cost-Effectiveness -: Since the cost to convert your happy customer into an influencer is substantially less expensive than a TV advertisement or hiring a celebrity, brands can benefit more by spending less. You can effectively incorporate your brand loyalists in your marketing strategy.

Highly-Targeted -:  For hyper-local retail, the ultimate aim is to bring footfalls into the stores. Marketing to a broad audience might raise awareness, but if you are using the customers to promote your newly opened boutique opened in a particular city, nothing works better than Peer-To-Peer Influence. Targeting your brand loyalists leads to targeting the audience most likely to be interested in your brand.

A wave of such findings about word-of-mouth recommendations and peer influence have given rise to retailers partnering with people who can sway buying decisions and product preferences.

Urban Degree, a South African clothing retailer, recognized this booming trend among customers sending dressing room selfies to friends, looking for advice on which outfits to purchase. Latching onto this existing user behavior, Urban Degree’s two-week #urbanselfie promotion gave $10 and $20 coupons to users who posted their dressing room selfies to the brand’s Facebook page with quirky captions. The brand has an almost exclusively millennial audience, so with an average of 319 friends each, those users’ #urbanselfies reached more than 34,000 like-minded shoppers.

This is one of the greatest examples of the different strategies retailers can use to make the best possible use of Peer-To-Peer influence. In the next edition, we will tell you different innovative ways to incorporate Peer-To-Peer influence in your marketing strategy and make a wow!

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