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It’s simple fact that there is no better form of advertising than organic word of mouth marketing. There is no recommendation like the one that comes from a trusted or loved one – those that comprise your closest circle are the most powerful brand and product influencers.

This key fact is why the empowerment of the networked consumer is a powerful concept: Those with the largest personal network have the potential to have the strongest influence (via their personal connections) to the widest possible audience.

However, that concept asks the question: How do you find, target, and accelerate those specific individuals that will have this large, and impactul result on normal consumers who will then be influenced towards a particular brand. In a sense, such people are walking tailored advertisements, unwitting ambassadors for brands and services. They don’t know it, but they are, in fact, the most effective endorsement. Tiger Woods be damned.

CrowdTwist is cognizant of this, which has led the company to develop a method to discover, and then track leading individuals that can become these master ambassadors, all while the likely are unaware of their role. The Next Web presents a few ideas that may be employed to strengthen, and widen its net.

The Cutting Edge

Those who are trendsetters are those who pay the most attention to a products progression. Music fans, for example, are often pilloried as dismissive of what is current, and instead focused on what may come next. The dismissive anti-joke, ‘you probably haven’t heard of them,’ would not have hit the mainstream if this wasn’t the case.

Therefore, those who are identified as potentially influential will be keyed into exactly what is not current, but what is in the pipeline.

An example of this is well exemplified in Mountain Dew. The drinks brand once wanted to test a variety of new flavors. Instead of conducting random testing, it allowed fans to submit videos that showed off their creativity. Winning results were sent an elaborate tasting kit. In this move, Mountain Dew engaged influencers, and provided them with edgy, leading content.

It was a hit of a move. The company also brought in artists to decorate the kits, involving even more influencers into the promotion.

A fact for engaging the few: give them something that the many are not allowed to have. Yet, at least.

Exclusivity

Building off of that idea directly, exclusivity is a weapon that doesn’t require what is new, so much as it demands what is scarce.

Those who are on the edge of influence are aware of their status – the unaware brand leader is a rare person. Therefore, to have what is current, but hard to get, can put them not at the top of a future ideal, but of the current pyramid.

This concept can be exploited in the following way: A brand can create limited runs of its product, and distribute them to certain customers that will flaunt them, again innocently, to massive effect: “Have you seen what Earnest is wearing? He got them direct from $brand, they only made 100 pairs!” In this case, $brand has bought mindshare worth thousands for the price of a pair of jeans on the cost of shipping.

Interactive

In the age of Twitter, this is almost obvious. And yet it is undervalued. Here’s a fact: interact with those who value their self worth in the reflection of others, and they will reward you. In other words, retweet or respond or like a person who is self-aware, and they will re-propagate your brand by broadcasting your solid move towards them – be nice to someone who has a following, and they will tell their friends.

Those on the edge of what a brand might be want to show off. Placing your brand in a place to be that specific company can buy, digitally, the same effect as scarcity of a physical product (our previous point).

How to filter individuals, and find who to respond to? There are variety of tools that exist. CrowdTwist’s proprietary algorithms could easily be extended to fill this role.

What This Means for CrowdTwist

As was noted in Trend Hunter:

CrowdTwist’s platform technology works by tracking interactions such as purchases, check-ins, likes, follows, shares and others. Unlike most loyalty platforms, CrowdTwist tracks both online and real-life interactions, such as physical store experiences.

This puts the company on a footing in the right direction – it understands what must be done, but could employ a level of focus that could be amplifying. By investing directly in certain consumers that have the highest potential multiplication rate, higher levels of returns can be expected. More in, more out. By using the ideas contained in this short document, the company could further mine based on consumer reaction – and thus boost per-target ROI.

The digital word is not the future, it’s our present. Brands must realize that microtargeting is no dream, it is reality.

Image: Ashleigh290 via Flickr