A word-of-mouth recommendation is the primary factor behind 20-50% of all purchasing decisions (Branderati). This is the concept of brand advocacy. A company with a large following of loyal brand advocates will be more successful than a company that has to rely on always delivering its own brand message. It is very important to have loyal fans delivering your message for you. We’re going to help you use social media management strategies to create brand advocates.
What is a Brand Advocate?
A brand advocate is defined by how likely he or she is to recommend your brand. Their motivation is to help others. According to Branderati, brand advocates recommend because of good experiences and a desire to help others rather than an incentive to receive freebies.
Jay Baer, marketing keynote speaker and author of Youtility, defines brand advocates as a sustainable marketing force. He says that “advocates crave engagement from your brand [and] are eager to support, promote and defend your brand on a long-term basis.”
Why do we Want Brand Advocates?
There are a few key reasons why we want brand advocates:
- Unpaid/Organic: Brand advocates are naturally inclined to support our brand because they truly believe in it. We don’t have to spend any extra marketing dollars to receive their support.
- Word of Mouth: Advocates are highly likely to spread the word about our brand because they want others to have the experience that they have had. Again, free marketing!
- Trusted: Their peers trust their message more than they would from the brand itself. “Brand advocates are 70% more likely to be seen as a good source of information by people around them” (Branderati).
- True Supporters: They are true fans of your brand. You couldn’t pay for a more genuine show of support.
Tips for Using Social Media to Create Brand Advocates
Your customers want to talk to you. Remember that social media management is all about the “social”. Use the engaging nature of your social platforms to grow your fan base and draw in brand advocates. For example, you can try things like:
- Ask for their opinion: What would you like to see from us this summer?
- Test their knowledge: Fact or Fiction Friday and Today’s Trivia
- Stray away from your brand message: What are your weekend plans?
- Customer Service
Customer service is a big part of social media management. Many consumers visit brand Facebook pages or tweet at a company’s Twitter handle to bring an issue to a company’s attention. Listen for these complaints, be helpful, and if you fix the problem, you’re more likely to turn disgruntled customers into full-on brand advocates. Here are a few tips:
- Respond within two hours.
- Do not use automated responses. Make everything personal.
- Address the issue online and then take the conversation offline.
Provide them with something they need or want. This can be up-to-the-minute industry news, helpful blog posts, special insights, or quick DIY tips. Make sure they are getting something worthwhile from connecting on social media.
Do not make the mistake of overlooking your employees. They are some of your best brand advocates! Who is going to support a company more than the people who run it? Better yet, how is anyone else expected to support a company if even the employees don’t? A few things you can do and ask your employees to do include:
- Ask them to connect on social media sites. Like the company Facebook page, connect on LinkedIn, follow on Twitter!
- Ask them to share relevant company updates.
- Don’t cut your staff off from social media. Let your staff have some time during the work day to log into their social accounts. You cannot ask your employees to support your social sites then mandate that they do so on their own time.
- Exclusive Offers
Although your brand advocates are not in it for the free stuff, you can still show them you appreciate their dedication. Offer coupons to your biggest fans, provide limited time offers, or even send out samples.
Brand advocates are an absolute must for any industry and with social media there is no better and easier way to build them! Show your fans you care because without them, you wouldn’t be where you are!
If you need help with social media management or creating brand advocates, contact Informatics.