Helping content marketers more confidently navigate the world of brand storytelling.
May 18, 2021

Ways to Use Customers in Your Influence Marketing Plans, episode 29

Ways to Use Customers in Your Influence Marketing Plans, episode 29

Is influence marketing right for your brand? Part 2 of Sarah’s influencer series, Sarah shares more about one of her 6 categories of influencers: your customers. Should you use them? How to use them? And why the data backs this up.

Remember, influencers are 100% right for your brand as long as you’re focusing on influencers who actually influence your audience. Thus, influence marketing.


  1. Is influence marketing right for your brand?

  2. Difference between influencer and influence marketing.

  3. Refresher on Sarah Panus’ six categories of influencers

  4. Why Sarah’s relationship with curly hair is the perfect example of customer influence marketing

  5. Stats about Word-of-Mouth from AdWeek, Forbes and TheProducersPerspective

  6. Different ways you can engage your current customer base (list below)


  1. Use them in your content. Gather quotes, testimonials, their experiences. Make them the hero in your stories. Because the audience you’re talking to is going to relate to seeing themselves in your customer’s story. This can be stand-alone feature type videos or stories or even live video conversations. OR, just putting a quote here and there in your next blog story from real customers helps humanize your content. Find ways to include real customers across all your channel content where it makes sense. Image carousels, quotes, full-length or short-length.

  2. Dedicated email section or story about one of them. Make this a regular part of your email storytelling.

  3. Ask your customers to write/create content for your brand. UGC is real, authentic. Could be short video clips you mash up into a collaged video.  Could be images, or a blog post, or an opinion piece on a topic that matters to your brand.  You will be surprised by what they create. There’s a lot of tools to help easily capture UGC and make this easier than a bunch of emails back/forth too. I like Greenfly’s technology.

  4. Poll your customers to get insights/ fill gaps to inform future content or just get gut check on something you’re thinking about.

  5. Ask them for their opinion before you launch something. Treat them like an advisory board where you trust their insights.

  6. Enhance your loyalty program by activating your audience to share your content w/their audiences. Benefits beyond points per purchase. How about points per engagement on content that’s of value to you and your customer.

  7. Interview them on your brand podcast.

  8. I guarantee there are larger influencers within your current customer base that you can mine for.  Who has larger reach online that you could tap for even more reach?


  • According to AdWeek, word-of-mouth generates 3.3 billion brand mentions and 2.4 billion brand-related conversations every day in the U.S.

  • The average US citizen mentions different brand names 60 times per week. 9 out of 10 times that happens offline.

  • 92% of consumers trust referrals from people they know.

  • Friends’ social media posts influence the purchase decisions of 83% of US online shoppers.

  • Consumers referred by a friend are four times more likely to buy.

  • When referred by other customers, people have a 37% higher retention rate.

  • Referred customers’ lifetime value (LTV) is 16% higher than that of non-referred customers.

  • Word of mouth affects the purchase decision of 54% of consumers. It’s the most influential psychological driver for purchases.

  • A single person’s opinion has the power to reach thousands (maybe millions) of people.

  • Word of mouth affects the purchase decision of 54% of consumers. It’s the most influential psychological driver for purchases.

  • A Forbes article says word-of-mouth recommendation plays some part in 80% of all B2B and B2C deals.  80%!!!!!


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Sarah Panus is a brand storytelling marketing strategist, podcast host, Minnesota mom, and owner of Kindred Speak, LLC, a remote consultancy that helps corporations attract upper-funnel leads that drive bottom-funnel results through storytelling. Her mission is to add value to the world by humanizing brand+consumer connections. Her online courses teach content professionals inside corporations how to think like Editorial Directors to drive stronger results while enjoying their jobs more. She’s spent the last 20 years helping brands including Sleep Number, Starbucks, Nestle Waters, Christos Bridal, Game Crazy, Cone Inc, and others, speak a kindred language with their audiences, driving brand advocacy and millions in revenue and brand engagements. Learn more at