Are word of mouth influencers made or born?

By Ted Wright June 3, 2019


word of mouth influencers

By Ted Wright

First, let’s be clear on what we’re calling an influencer in this headline. When I say “influencer” you’re probably imagining a YouTube star selling energy drinks or Kim Kardashian pitching cosmetics.

That’s not what I’m referring to here. I’m interested in natural, organic story-sharers that come from having a certain personality type. These people love to find relevant, cool stories and tell them to their friends. In fact, they organize their lives to discover and tell those stories.

This demographic is the true engine for word of mouth marketing success and that elite group of sharers represents about 10 percent of the population. So, to separate these special folks from the pop culture notion of influencers, let’s call them advocates.

All of the research about advocates indicates that they’re pretty much born that way. The literature on the subject tells us that a person’s personality is set somewhere between age zero and age 15.

The word of mouth influencers and personality

Most important to this discussion is recognizing the three key personality traits that characterize these organic advocates:

  • They like to try new things because they’re new.
  • They love to share stories with their friends.
  • They’re intrinsically motivated.

To succeed at word of mouth marketing, you need to cast your net far and wide to find and attract these natural storytellers. You need to offer relevant, interesting, and authentic information and make it easy for them to get to it. The more barriers you can take away, the better off you’re going to be as far as selling more stuff.

Trust the system

To win at word of mouth marketing, you can put faith in the power of these conversation starters because overwhelming evidence shows it works. That means you can drop the lead nurturing and all the other stupid and annoying stuff we do to bother people. If you need that all that stuff, your story probably sucks or you’re assuming your customer is stupid.

Take it on faith that a consumer is able to direct their own joy, and find their own customer journey. You’re not responsible for that any more.

If you allow people to organically interact with a brand and spread your story because they love your story, you’ll win every time.

So in general, advocates are born that way, but there is always room to improve those abilities through practice.

At Fizz, we routinely use precisely-placed marketers to spread stories to ideal audiences. There are a lot of ways we can optimize that practice, but that’s a blog post for another day!

Born or made? A little of both!

Ted Wright

Ted Wright is the founder of Fizz, the world’s leading word of mouth marketing (WOMM) agency. Ted is also an acclaimed WOMM keynote speaker and the author of Fizz: Harness the Power of Word of Mouth Marketing to Drive Brand Growth

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