Why You Should Invest in your Brand Advocates
If you have scrolled through most of the leading marketing blogs, then you must have seen an abundance of blog articles on content marketing, PPC, advertising, and SEO.
While these methods work great for acquiring customers, they do take time and money before you can see substantial results.
Word-of-mouth works very well and remains the most effective way you can market a brand.
In addition to being extremely effective, word-of-mouth is free and often happens without your direct input.
When a customer is promoting you or your business, you can spend your time undertaking other tasks towards your business goals.
Another reason why word-of-mouth is a perfect marketing strategy is that with it, comes social proof.
Remember, the best social proof is a suggestion or recommendation from a friend you trust.
Available statistics show that 80% of all Americans ask the people around them for recommendations before they buy anything.
To encourage their customers into joining a word-of-mouth campaign, marketers use brand advocacy initiatives.
In these programs, marketers contact a brand's best customers and request them to use a portion of their time to promote a product they already love.
There are many ways to attract your best customers into a brand advocacy program.
Instead of just giving the customer a special discount or a referral code and hope that this gesture gets them to sing about your brand to the people around them, a brand advocacy program continuous for an indefinite time and therefore requires a proper investment.
The purpose of this program is to give you long-term results.
The following are some of the reasons why you should consider investing in your brand advocates:
1 – Influence the opinions and purchases of their friends
When planning how to bring in a brand advocate, look for certain types of people, top among them connectors and mavens.
Connectors and mavens enjoy connecting people who have similar interests, they are storehouses for information and enjoy sharing what they know.
These characteristics make for the perfect brand advocate.
Indeed 70% of brand advocates are often seen as sources of reliable information.
The idea of creating content is quite familiar to them, and therefore they would have no problem forming some material for you that would influence people to purchase your products or services.
Instead of spending a fortune trying to convince people to buy your products, consider investing in a brand advocate who will do the same task but be more effective and ultimately, the whole initiative will cost you less.
2 – Create unforgettable memories
One of the reasons why Taco Bell is quite good at customer retention is its ability to create unforgettable memories among its customers.
While the company's product must be good to get customers to keep wanting more, it is not all in the food.
The company often uses social media to do campaigns that make their customers brand advocates.
They conducted one such campaign a few weeks to Valentine's Day.
The campaign dubbed “Love and Tacos” took a die-hard brand advocate to Las Vegas for six days.
To win, the brand advocate needed to tweet about Taco Bell regularly.
He and his fiancee enjoyed a fully-paid holiday and VIP treatment in Las Vegas for a week.
The couple then did their wedding at a Taco Bell wedding chapel in the company's flagship restaurant.
By creating these unforgettable memories, Taco Bell has injected itself into the lives of these people who will be talking about the company for years to come.
This newsjacking method ensures that every time the life story of the couple is told, Taco Bell is mentioned.
And every time they are craving for fast food, you can bet which company will come to their minds.
You can do the same with your brand.
Think of ways you can insert the story of your brand into certain special moments of one of your die-hard customers and brand advocates.
Consider weddings, birthdays, and such other events that usually carry fond memories.
3 – Love to talk and are probably already talking about your brand
People who qualify as a brand advocate share information 83% more than the average internet user.
Instead of the idea of sharing information being a chore, they see it as a way to relax.
Typically a brand advocate will be motivated to make a decision, solve a problem, or make a notable contribution to a pool of information.
Market savvy businesses streamline the whole process of brand advocacy, simplifying the process through which these brand advocates share your enterprise information.
Make sure that relevant information is readily available for them to use.
You can add this information to your Facebook page or blog or send them exclusive emails.
In their very nature brand advocates love helping others.
Instead of hoarding information with the intention of using it to inflate their egos, brand advocates prefer being seen as helpful and useful.
They enjoy meeting new people via social networking sites and have no problem expanding their circles of friends.
All the same, it's important to note that brand advocates are not altruistic.
They do want to get something from this arrangement.
Therefore, be flexible and willing to give them what they might be looking for, including giving them free products and such other incentives.
While they might already be motivated by the idea of helping people make better decisions, it would help to appreciate them in some other ways, perhaps through rewards or discounts.
However, before you do this, find out if they would be interested or might find your gesture inauthentic or offensive.
If an advocate feels like you're forcing him to praise you, they will criticise you and your brand.
They prefer to retain their freedom so that they can voice their concerns and critique your brand objectively.
5 – Ask for suggestions
Instead of just dictating what advocates should do when marketing your brand, ask them for suggestions.
Many entrepreneurs just the feeling that they know what the audience needs, sometimes finding themselves delivering an entirely different solution from what their target market wants.
In any case, it's important to understand that customers may have wanted your solution in its present form sometime back, but their preferences may have shifted.
That is why it makes perfect sense to keep communication channels between you and your customers open so that you can understand these shifts and redesign your solutions to meet the emerging needs of your customers.
The reason why asking brand advocates for their suggestions works is because they represent a small portion of your customers.
Because they are in constant communication with other customers, they may understand something that you don't.
Call them or send them emails and ask them what they think you can do to improve your product or address the customers' pain points.
Remember, to retain customers your brand must consistently give value.
Your aim should be to offer your customers solutions that go over and above their expectations.
Indeed, it is possible to turn a customer into a loyalist for life by offering an excellent experience whenever they contact your customer support.
Imagine a customer support representative staying on the phone with you for hours trying to fix your problem.
Alternatively, a customer support representative who connects you to the people who can help within the company while keeping track of the progress you are making until you find the solution that works for you.
These gestures can go a long way to finding and retaining customers.
Moreover, there are no better people to understand these dynamics than brand advocates.
They can help you through the process of humanising your brand making people warm towards it.
Make these changes and deliver value to these customers while etching your brand deep in their memories.
When talking to a brand advocate, ensure that you understand the frustration that your customers might be going through in the process of using your products or services.
Then take time to create and publish content that can help them better use your products or services.
Ask any brand that has worked with brand advocates, and they will tell you that addressing pain points is a big part of brand advocacy programs.
By addressing these points, you will be solving the issues that most of your customers would have you discuss.
6 – Talk about your product choices
Most advocates enjoy talking about the products and services they use on a daily basis.
That is why you will find them often discussing personal care products, household products, and food and dining.
If your product is in any of these three areas, then it should be easy for a brand advocate to incorporate your business in their marketing efforts.
If your product offering is not one of these three, then you might need to work a little bit more closely with your brand advocates to find a unique and authentic perspective from which they can talk about your brand.
The bottom line is that you have to work closely with them to find how they can use their influence to help you grow your business.
For instance, Instagram-based brand advocates can give you some Instagram marketing tips that can better align your brand in a way that the brand advocates intervention would not forced and unnatural.
They can give you some ideas on how you can bring them on board without your partnership seeming like you are trying too hard.
7 – Loyal to brands with which they have a relationship
Loyalty is an excellent characteristic of a brand advocate.
They are generally loyal to every brand with which they have a relationship, not because of the rewards and incentives but because they appreciate becoming trusted agents for your business.
A continued relationship with your brand is essential to them.
So instead of taking advocates like your employees, see them as your friends.
Before they can speak positively about your brand, they need to know that you place value on your friendship.
Therefore, keep showing them love in all the ways you can think of and give them the space to be the best brand advocates that they can be for your business.
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