How to Create a Successful Advocacy Program for Your Brand?
2016 November 30
What is a brand advocacy program?
A brand advocacy program is a sustainable model that allows your existing and loyal customers to get engaged in your promotional activities and willingly recommend your product or services to their friends and peers. According to Hootsuite, almost 92% of the people trust brand advocates as against 18% who trust brand influencers.
In this digital age, peer-to- peer recommendations are the most effective. Advocates, backed by brands, can create strong, vibrant communities and share vital information available with them about the brand, a new product, its launch date, a special feature, etc. Very often, it is just the “love” for the brand that motivates them to create shareable content critiquing the brand and at other times, there could be incentives or the lure of monetary rewards.
The same Hootsuite article also shares another interesting statistic. Surveys have shown that 9 out of 10 online consumers believe recommendations from their friends and family is the most trusted form of promotion while only 2 out of 10 find traditional advertising trustworthy.
How can brand advocacy help you?
Brand advocacy may take a little time to develop but it is most effective way to build brand loyalty. Moreover, it gives you a chance to convert your one-way marketing efforts into multiple promotional channels and get your customers involved. By leveraging your brand advocacy programs, you can create strong brand awareness and facilitate multiple customer feedback loops. You can also command a greater market share, higher sales and enhanced visibility.
Since advocates, who could be your existing or past customers, employees, suppliers and contractors are usually highly motivated, the messages have a kind of self-assurance and force that ordinary advertising messages or even content generated by influencers often lack.
Some essential elements of brand advocacy
1. Planning carefully and setting measurable goals:
Usually in this interconnected digital age, most brands are active on the internet. This keeps its fans and advocates busy as well. In order to build a strong brand advocacy program, you will have to screen and induct the right participants into your program, turn to the right influencers and also leverage the most efficient employee evangelists. You will also need goals that are measurable and time-bound. Decide on the ROI you expect and set a time frame for achieving your goal. Some of the common metrics in your advocacy network could be as follows:
- Who is creating most of the content?
- Who is creating original content?
- Who is engaging, sharing, and referring your branded content and brand name?
- Which social networks are being leveraged or utilized mostly? You could support the advocacy efforts with traditional marketing and influencer marketing efforts to create a short-term buzz and/or treat it as a long-term relationship building exercise.
- Look at social proofs to identify how much impact the program is having on the purchase intent and actual sales. Galvanize your sales points and connect them to your advocacy networks. For example, use testimonials in your sales copy or create a page on your website where you share the feedback and response of your customers. It creates awareness and also as a motivation for the customers in question.
2. Sustainable model of interaction and advocacy
When you are trying to leverage the brand loyalties of your customers, try to utilize those channels that offer a chance to make the interactions interesting and memorable. Host contests for them and offer special discounts, cash benefits, etc. to the most active members of these communities. Also, share important piece of news first with the most influential members. Make these offers exclusive and make these members feel special. All these actuate levers that create trust and partnership.
If you are looking for a strong exposure and publicity for a limited period of time, brand advocacy is probably not right. However, if you are trying to create a strong relationship with your customers, employees and other stakeholders so that they feel a part of your venture and jump on onboard voluntarily, brand advocacy could be the glue to hold the relationship in place.
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Posted In: Social Media and Digital Marketing