You have probably heard the term brand advocacy being thrown around, but what does it mean? A brand advocate is basically a customer that is so satisfied by a company’s product/service that they spread the message to their friends, relatives and others who are part of their social network.
By making these special customers part of your digital strategy plan, your business can benefit in the short and long run. Advocates are highly valued assets for businesses that can bring in new customers without the need for expensive campaigns.
Word-of-mouth is a traditional form of marketing that still has a hold on consumers like for instance ‘recommend a friend’ offers that are abundant in many industries. After all, it is only human nature for us to trust those close to us rather than strangers. Brand advocates can thus empower creative digital marketing for businesses and convince customers more effectively than other methods.
Still not convinced? Well, we’ve got a prime example being Apple who have been doing this for years. Even Google take advantage of their brand advocates for marketing their products and services instead of using paid advertisements.
Brand Advocates differ to other customers that like your brand, the difference is that advocates give out recommendations without expecting a freebie. They genuinely love your brand and put the effort into making others have the same passion. Given the opportunity to receive digital ideas for brands and businesses for free, brand advocates are also perfect for small businesses.
Some studies have shown that consumers are more likely to ignore paid advertisements and trust their friends’ recommendations. Facebook is your friend in the business world, now more than ever people are depending on social sites; consumers are using Facebook’s recommendation features in order to find what goods suit their interests. It’s as easy as a click of the button for friends to view your recommendations and reviews of products and services.
We have compiled a list of different ways to entice and retain Brand Advocates:
- Offer an excellent product/service – I know, it’s obvious however you will only get brand advocates if you offer them something to be passionate about. Whether it is how you deal with customers or the end product, make sure it’s nothing but the best!
- Don’t fake it ‘til you make it – If your business is going through some tough times then don’t make your Facebook page full of positivity since brand advocates can sense fakeness.
- Be real – Try not to sound monotonous and robotic with posts and comments, it can often deteriorate personal relationships with brand advocates. Instead be authentic e.g. “Thanks John! We’ll try our best to maintain the great service”.
- Ask, Listen, Speak – Asking for opinions from customers can often make them feel valued. By individually asking your brand advocate what they think about products and services then they can feel like an important part of your business. In addition, asking questions and acknowledging customers’ opinions, the company is can be viewed as being highly engaging with their fan base Before you post anything, think about whether your post will demonstrate the company as being reassuring and reliable.
- Be nice – Often treating your brand advocates as equals can strengthen the personal relationships. Talking down to customers and ignoring comments isn’t good for the company image instead retweet, ‘like’ comments and be gracious to followers.
Source: Robert Walker, Managing Director of Xcite Digital Ltd