Surprise! You've got influence.

Surprise! You’ve got influence.

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to be a major online celebrity or have a massive following to be an “influencer.”

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The truth is, influence exists in almost every interaction we have - every day... “What app should I download to help keep me organized?” “What about books for productivity?” “What’s a good restaurant to try?” (I ask this one a lot) The conversations we have naturally impact the opinions and decisions of others (and of course, our own).

If you love a product, why not talk about it?

There are over 34 million reviews on Amazon and 121 million reviews on Yelp. More often than not, these reviews are written by everyday people who want to share their personal experience(s) and advice.

On the flip side, there are many people (including myself) who turn to Amazon, Yelp, and other platforms for reviews and recommendations. Not to mention, there are also people who seek advice from those around them (friends, co-workers, family members), hoping to learn more from their experience.

Point being, influence can be as simple as making a recommendation or sharing an experience; these nuances are powerful in validating or changing a buyer’s purchasing decision.

3 tips for recommending products

1. Keep it personal

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Think back to the last time you recommended something to a friend. Maybe it was an app; perhaps a restaurant; doesn’t matter -- it could be anything. What were some considerations you had before making the recommendation? You might have thought about the person’s preferences; what they liked and/or didn’t like; something they mentioned.

Being an influencer is just like being a friend: you wouldn’t recommend something to your friends unless you knew they’d like or enjoy it.

Often times, your recommendations are carefully thought out and made with the person in mind. As an influencer, this shouldn’t be any different. Whether you are a blogger, consultant, business owner, friend (you get the idea), think about who you’re talking to and create messages that align with their interests, values, and preferences. Providing your own experience can also be valuable in helping others understand how a product might work for them.

2. Start Small

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Not sure where to start? Start small. Focus on people you already know (friends, family members, coworkers, clients, etc.) and make recommendations that are relevant to what they’re doing (personally and professionally).

While one-to-one interactions may not give you the same level of exposure as sharing your link online, the time and support you dedicate to these interactions can be highly effective for converting users.

Remember, these are people you’ve already established relationships with and maybe even worked with; they trust you. Not convinced? What if I told you that word of mouth makes up 20 to 50 percent of all purchasing decisions.

Think about it - are you more likely to purchase something you saw on TV (that you may know little to nothing about) or something recommended to you by a friend (who has been raving about it for weeks)?

Often times, advertisements present product features and situations that may not even be relevant to you; it’s a one-size-fits-all approach. Your recommendations, however, are backed by research, credibility, and positive intent.

3. Be patient and follow up

So you’ve started sharing your link online and with your network. You’ve given it a week but noticed that nothing’s happening… what gives?

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Don’t sweat it if you don't see crazy results right off the bat -- part of being a “successful” influencer is having patience and perseverance. While there are people who instantly know if a product is right for them or not, some need more time and research before making their decision. Also, keep in mind that some companies and services offer free trials, so purchases may not happen until later.

More importantly, don’t forget to follow up with the people you’ve connected with. Send them emails, shoot them a message and ask if there is anything you can help with. Provide articles and case studies to help them quickly learn more about the product. Your knowledge and support is more valuable than you think and can help create an enriching experience for users.

In the digital age of things, recommending products can happen instantaneously. Be trustworthy, always consider who you are talking to and be persistent, and you will find great success!