In life, it always feels good to have someone on your team. This person is usually a friend who enjoys your company and shares a similar set of values or personality with you. In business, this is no different. When you are excited about what you do, and think you produce something great, it is rewarding when you come across someone who feels similarly. These people are your advocates. Advocate marketing is finding those people who truly love your product or brand and teaming up with them to spread the word. People who feel strongly about what you provide them with are probably already talking about you, but the key is to optimize this publicity. As consumers trust reviews from friends and family far more than paid advertising, it is important to capitalize on those customers who love your product, and want to expose others to it. Here are a few methods to get advocate marketing working for you.
Who are your advocates?
The people you would reach out to as business advocates are those customers who have had overwhelmingly positive experiences with your business and product and want to tell others about it because they genuinely believe in it. These are different from influencers, as Jure Klepic details. Influencers tend to be celebrity endorsers, bloggers, or pundits who mention a product to their audience in return for something. However, these kinds of endorsements tend to be less effective than hearing it firsthand from a friend. There are three solid ways to determine who may be a good advocate, says Derrick Kwa: Look for the customers who often engage with your business on social media i.e. like, or share your Facebook posts, customers who are active in customer forums assisting other users of your product at no benefit to themselves, and customers you would reach out to include as customer references. Once you identify who your customer advocates are, the next step is to engage them.
Engage your advocates:
Begin by establishing a personal relationship with those who present themselves as advocates. These people are friends to your business, so treat them accordingly! Reach out to them and ask them if they would be willing to like your page or share a post. Across the board, advocate marketers agree that it is better to find those customers who want to help you promote your brand because they believe in it, not because you are offering them monetary compensation. Offering this kind of reward will not attract genuine advocates. However, you should reward your advocates somehow. Kwa suggests offering your advocates a special status that gets behind-the-scenes looks at your product and its making etc. That way, you make those people who love your product really feel like they are apart of the team. Ekaterina Walter, a thought leader on advocacy marketing, suggests using gamification to entice your advocates, such as a point system that unlocks special rewards, as Nike+ has done with their shareable fitness stats. This makes your advocates feel involved and valued, while ensuring you aren’t accidentally attracting people who don’t know your product and are looking for a deal.
Measure your progress:
Walter notes that no matter what method you choose to engage with your advocates, you must also measure the impact your efforts are having. Is there one campaign that worked perfectly? Is there one that failed? What posts get the most traction?, etc. Customers who are referred by other customers have a 37% retention rate, so you want to make sure you are reaching these advocates in the most popular, positive ways, which you can discern through having substantial metrics.
Word of mouth can be one of the most effective strategies for spreading awareness about your brand. People who are passionate about your brand do exist. Walter uses the example of Apple and PC. To see a demonstration of brand loyalty all you need to do is tell an Apple user you want to purchase a PC. These passionate advocates will happily join your team and become brand ambassadors. Find out who your advocates are, engage them in a creative way, and measure the impact. This can spread your message using a medium consumers genuinely trust.
Amanda McGuinness is a Content Marketing Journalist at Repsly. A social media expert and avid writer, she believes in creating fresh, creative content to build brand awareness.