Businesses have entered what marketers are calling the Age of Advocacy! It’s the perfect time to strategically embrace and encourage customer advocacy by creating opportunities for your customers to advocate on behalf of the brand.
To build a brand advocate, it’s important to break down what a brand advocate is.
Brand Advocate Defined
Simply put, a brand advocate is someone who loves your brand and wants to tell the world about it. Brand advocates and their word-of-mouth praise is really important for your brand. Only 18 percent of people trust brand influencers– the people paid to talk about your brand– but 92 percent of people will trust brand advocates.
Think about it: these brand advocates are their friends, their family members, their neighbors. In short, people they already trust in their daily lives.
“Awareness is fine, but advocacy will take your business to the next level.” Joe Tripodi, Chief Marketing Officer, The Coca-Cola Company
Customers can be a company’s largest untapped resource; these people have the information you want to spread and the power to share it in a valuable way; it can also be a fantastic low-cost way to market your brand. Tapping into this vast resource is as easy as building a brand advocacy program.
Connecting is as simple as introducing prospects to current customers; It sets in motion opportunities for real conversations to happen.
You can develop a program to get your brand advocates on-board and excited to talk about your brand. Offer rewards, gifts, or other incentives for reviews and promotions. Show them how taking part in your program will benefit them.
Loyalty and refer-a-friend programs work. Why? Because it makes things fun and your brand advocates look forward to hearing from you. Advocates can be motivated by competition. If they can earn 10 points for every friend they refer and at 100 points they earn a gift, referring 10 friends seems like an easy task.
Identify key industry influencers and build a mutually beneficial relationship with them. Can you offer them a discount for using your service and talking about it? Can you promote their product while they promote yours? How can you each benefit from a relationship. Remember, like brand awareness, the relationship must make sense with your brand.
Once you’ve built your brand advocacy program, you can begin to feature brand advocates on your blog and social media. The Skimm, a news aggregate service, features brand advocates who have signed friends up on their emails on their birthday. Panera features fitness bloggers with a large following on their Instagram to promote their product in a healthy light.