Every company wants its customers to rave about its products or services. Whether it’s the benefits they receive from using your products or the excellent customer service you provide, you want people to view your brand positively.
When current or past customers share their positive experiences, love your brand, or promote your products and services, that’s known as brand advocacy.
Brand advocacy is one of the most effective ways to attract new customers and cut down on marketing costs. Since most brand advocates share their experiences or love for a product for free, your company receives free advertising and can reach a wider audience.
Before we dive deeper into brand advocacy, let’s look at what a brand advocate is and how you can identify them.
What is a brand advocate?
People are known to be heavily influenced by the opinions of people in their network. So nurturing brand advocates can be a powerful way to grow your company or brand.
Creating brand advocates is a powerful way to seriously grow your exposure. It’s also a relatively organic form of promotion, which means it can be cheaper than other forms of advertising.
How do you promote advocacy?
Brand advocates can be either a customer or an employee of a company that continuously supports a brand by sharing their products or services with their networks. Depending on the size of their networks, a brand advocate could help you reach thousands of potential customers simply by sharing your products on social media.
Identifying your current brand advocates
Generally, there are two types of brand advocates — those who buy from your company and those who work for your company. Each plays a vital role in your overall brand advocacy strategy.
A company’s customers or clients are the biggest components of your brand advocacy strategy. They’re often your company’s biggest cheerleaders and usually account for most user-generated content that focuses on your brand.
Most customer brand advocates love your product or service and want to tell the world about it. It’s common for these individuals to post pictures of themselves using your product on social media or recommend your brand to others online, looking for advice on what company to choose for a product or service.
Companies need to acknowledge and thank brand advocate customers for their continued support. An occasional thank you post or responding to one of their comments will go a long way in establishing a relationship with these key individuals.
Employees can also play a vital role in your overall brand advocacy strategy. While they aren’t using your products or services, they are intimately involved with your brand. This closeness to the company makes them a go-to when a potential customer thinks about using the business for service.
Many customers will ask employees what they think of the organization or review information shared online.
If employees are constantly posting positive things about their company, it helps create a positive sentiment amongst customers.
Why are brand advocates important?
Brand advocates are crucial for any type of organization. Consumers are known to rely on the experience of others before purchasing a product or service from a business. By nurturing the relationship between your company and brand advocates, you gain access to a powerful resource.
Here are a few other ways brand advocates can benefit your organization.
Organically grow your brand
When it comes to increasing traffic to your website, organically is seen as the best possible option. Organic traffic is cheaper than paid traffic, but it also provides better long-term results.
Brand advocates can be a great way to supplement your current organic traffic strategy. Not only do brand advocates love your products, but they can also push those products in front of hundreds of their connections. This ultimately helps you save thousands of dollars by avoiding expensive paid advertising on social media platforms.
Garner more attention
It’s a well-known fact that the more people talk about a topic or brand, the more coverage that brand will receive from media outlets. As you gain more brand advocates, you’ll notice that your company has more opportunities to be mentioned in publications and news articles.
As we have touched on before, having brand advocates can help you broaden your reach exponentially. Marketing to larger audiences can be extremely costly, especially in different geographical locations. However, if you can establish relationships with brand advocates in various regions, you can expand your reach and brand into new territories.
Showcases the value of your products or services
Before buying, most potential customers will look for product reviews or testimonials from other customers. It’s a proven fact that people will trust other people more than they will the actual business. By showcasing your brand advocates and their thoughts on the products or services you offer, you provide potential customers the opportunity to connect with a real person.
Fosters customer loyalty
It goes without saying that brand advocates tend to be loyal customers. However, it’s important to nurture these relationships as you don’t want to lose one of your biggest supporters. Offering benefits to your most loyal customers is a great way to show your appreciation for all that they do to help spread the word about your brand.
How do you promote advocacy?
Now that we see the importance of brand advocacy, how do you encourage your customers to promote your brand?
The easiest way to promote brand advocacy is through your products.
If customers love using your product or it helps solve a problem, they are more likely to share their experience online.
Here are a few proactive ways you can encourage your customers to promote your products or services:
- – Make it easy for customers to share their experiences online
- – Offer incentives for customer referrals
- – Engage with brand advocates on social media
- – Include brand advocate in promotions and advertisements
- – Utilize consumer data to create a personalized experience
Are there any challenges in establishing brand advocacy?
As with anything, there are challenges to establishing brand advocacy amongst your current customer base. One of the biggest difficulties businesses face is identifying customers who can be converted to brand advocates.
Many companies think that just because a customer actively engages with a brand, they should be an advocate — however that isn’t always the case. In fact, brand advocates are the customers who support the brand and promote it and broadcast it to their connections without being prompted by the brand.