Brand advocates championing your brand on social channels
Social media is a key part of any digital marketing strategy. However, if not planned effectively, the time and effort spent in exploiting these channels can be wasted.
Social media is not as easy to track as other forms of digital marketing. As a result, success is often measured by the number of followers or likes, or the number of retweets or shares you have generated.
Although there is value in measuring this information, it is important to dig deeper and look at the level of engagement and the types of interaction people are having with your brand.
Social media fans vs. brand advocates
As you begin to dig a little deeper and look at how people are talking about your brand, you may well find individuals that talk positively about the products and/or services you provide – a great scenario which could influence others to use your company in future.
However, now that you have identified these passive enthusiasts, why not work a little harder to develop a relationship with these people. In doing so, these brand fans could become brand advocates.
The power of brand advocacy
It is common practice to create and develop detailed social profiles and cross-promotions to get more social media fans – but what’s the point, if you don’t do anything with them?
Fans are great, and they may occasionally mention your brand to good effect, however, if these fans become advocates, then social media channels become a powerful marketing tool for any company.
Research shows us that brand advocates are 83% more likely to share information about your brand than standard fans.
Turning a fan into a brand advocate
SocialMediaExaminer.com defines a brand advocate as ‘a customer who has been officially commissioned to speak on behalf of your brand without compensation’ i.e. someone who is willing to sing your praises regularly, for free!
When it comes to turning your fans into advocates, you need people to make it happen and these people need to engage with fans on a personal level – therefore it requires a bit of time and effort. But, the end result is free advertising and influence… so it’s well worth it!
Here are some key considerations when turning your social media fans into brand advocates…
Deliver for them
Advocacy will only happen if you continue to deliver great products and services to your customers. By achieving greatness consistently, your customers will be consistent in singing your praises. So, make sure all departments are delivering quality.
Marketers place a lot of emphasis on associating a monetary value to every Facebook like or Twitter follower. That’s fair enough, however the most important consideration is often overlooked – nurturing these fans to actually increase their value and developing relationships in order to build advocacy.
When users find you through social channels, they don’t just want to hear about your latest good news story, they’re looking for an opportunity to connect with you on a personal and emotional level.
Brand advocacy comes about through developing digital relationships, so reach out and interact with your audience. Meet them at their level and make it part of your business culture to speak to your customers on an individual basis.
In order to generate a sense of community and purpose, many brands will label their advocates – for example, Walmart have their ‘Walmart Moms’ and Ford have their ‘Fiesta agents’.
By labelling your advocates in this way, they are made to feel valued and motivated to talk about you more on social channels.
Your brand advocates like to be (and want to be) recognised – in fact, they are 150% more likely to value being recognised as a source of information than standard fans.
Promoting them is the least your brand can do in return for their free advertising. So retweet their posts, share their comments and feature them on your website (see Walmart example).
By doing so, all parties are benefitting, which makes for a healthy and sustainable digital relationship.