It’s great when people talk positively about your brand, but how do you maximise this to ensure these great comments are reaching the widest audience? One way is to harness the power of brand advocacy.
A brand advocate is usually a trusted blogger or social media user with a strong fan base who is not officially connected with your business. An advocate is different to an ambassador in that they are not compensated for their activity, but may develop close relationships with a business and receive free products, discounts and other forms of gratitude for sharing positive content about the brand and its product or services.
Their role is to provide an authentic voice discussing your brand and add to the humanisation of your brand. It’s crucial to not interfere too much with the process – let them generate their own content in their own words.
Much like word-of-mouth recommendations can have a powerful influence on a buyer’s decision, a brand advocate can deliver these word-of-mouth recommendations but on a much wider scale.
Here are four ways to harness the power of brand advocacy:
1. Identify your brand advocates
It may sound obvious but many businesses don’t pay attention to what their customers are saying about them on social media. Your business may already have loyal customers who support your brand, but their activity may not be tracked or put to use.
Identify who is liking and favouriting your social media posts or tweets, who’s sharing or retweeting your content and who is commenting and conversing with your brand. Most social media platforms have analytics tools that can help you discover who is engaging with your business. Looking at customers who are already going the extra mile with your brand is an excellent way to start identifying potential brand advocates. Engaging these advocates in a sustainable way is critical to a brand’s success.
2. Make it easy for brand advocates to talk about your brand
Brand advocates are motivated to make decisions, solve problems and contribute to a pool of information. Smart businesses make it easy for brand advocates to share information about their brand. Provide relevant information through your blog, Facebook page or through exclusive emails and watch advocates share it.
3. Come up with a suitable reward system
Advocates love to talk about your brand but not all of them are entirely altruistic. Make sure that you reward them for their efforts, for example with free products, discounts or other incentives.
Advocates are also driven by a desire to help people make good decisions, and need this to be recognised. Other ways of rewarding loyal advocates include thanking them with a “Fan of the Month” shout-out on your business’s social media channels or sending them a written letter in the mail thanking them.
4. Are brand advocates the right choice for your business?
According to Social Media Examiner, advocates love to talk about their daily product and service decisions, with their top three topics being food or dining, personal care products and household products. If your company’s deliverable is not on this list, you may need to work harder at giving advocates a reason to talk about you.