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Advocate Marketing Revolution: Rethinking Customer Engagement Strategies

© by Vecteezy

Ever purchased something after hearing a friend rave about it? That’s the power of word-of-mouth marketing! Customer advocacy takes this phenomenon a step further, transforming your most enthusiastic customers into brand ambassadors. Imagine an army of fans spreading the word and boosting your products – that’s the magic of advocates!

This guide unveils how to find true customer advocacy meaning and build a program that skyrockets your success, all with the help of brand champions.

Identifying and Segmenting Brand Advocates

A great program that rewards people who refer your brand is all well and good, but how can you identify the best people to do so? The first step is identifying your biggest fans. Look out for  those who:

  • Rave about your brand: These are the ones leaving glowing reviews, commenting on social media with genuine enthusiasm, or singing your praises to anyone who listens.
  • Actively engage: They regularly interact with your brand on social media platforms, attend events, participate in online discussions, or proactively contact your customer service team with valuable suggestions.
  • Are happy campers: These customers go beyond simply being satisfied and express a sense of delight or brand loyalty. You can find these people by tracking customer satisfaction surveys.

Not all fans are created equal! Once you’ve got a list, categorise them based on their online presence and influence. A tech-savvy advocate might excel at creating viral social media content, while an industry professional with a large network could have major sway within their circle. Understanding these differences lets you tailor your approach for maximum impact.

For instance, a micro-influencer with a dedicated following in a specific niche could be perfect for promoting a new product targeted towards that audience. Meanwhile, a well-respected industry leader could lend credibility and authority to your brand through testimonials or co-created content.

Aligning Advocacy Goals with Business Objectives

Before diving in, define what you want to achieve with your customer loyalty program. Do you want to increase brand awareness and reach a wider audience? Boost sales and customer acquisition? Gather valuable customer insights to improve your products or services? Knowing your goals helps you design an advocate program that delivers tangible results.

Here’s how advocates can help you achieve your business objectives:

  • Spread the Brand Love: They can leverage their social media followings, participate in influencer campaigns, or co-create engaging content with your brand to get your message in front of more people. Positive word-of-mouth recommendations from trusted sources are far more credible than traditional advertising, fostering a sense of authenticity and trust.
  • Supercharge Loyalty: By creating a community of advocates, you cultivate deeper connections with your customer base. Advocates feel valued and appreciated, fostering a sense of consumer loyalty that goes beyond simple transactions. This not only increases customer retention but also encourages advocates to become repeat buyers and vocal promoters of your brand.
  • Fuel Sales Growth: Advocate programs can be powerful sales drivers. Referral programs that incentivise advocates to share their positive experiences with their network can bring in new customers. Discount codes or exclusive offers specifically for advocate followers can further incentivise purchases and drive sales.
  • Unlock Customer Insights: Advocates can provide invaluable feedback on your products and services. Their real-world experiences and insights can help you identify areas for improvement, understand customer needs and preferences better, and stay ahead of the curve in a competitive market.

Strategies for Identifying Potential Advocates

There are several strategies you can employ to identify potential advocates:

  • Social Media Listening: Adopt the practice of social media listening using customer advocacy software to monitor brand mentions, track conversations about your products or services, and identify individuals who are actively engaging with your brand and expressing positive sentiment.
  • Customer Satisfaction Surveys: Integrate satisfaction surveys into your customer service touchpoints. Look for customers who consistently provide high scores and leave positive comments. These individuals are more likely to be receptive to participating in an advocate program.
  • Net Promoter Score (NPS): Utilise the Net Promoter Score (NPS) metric to gauge customer loyalty. NPS surveys ask customers how likely they are to recommend your brand to others on a scale of 1 to 10. Customers who give a score of 9 or 10 are considered promoters and are prime candidates for participating in types of loyalty programs.
  • Run Contests and Giveaways: Organising social media contests or giveaways that encourage user-generated content (UGC) can be a great way to identify brand advocates. Look for participants who create high-quality content that showcases their enthusiasm for your brand.

Building Relationships with Brand Ambassadors

Once you’ve identified potential advocates, it’s time to build strong relationships with them. Here are some key strategies:

  • Personalised Communication: Avoid a one-size-fits-all approach. Tailor your communication to each advocate based on their interests and preferred communication channels.
  • Show Appreciation: Thank your advocates for their contributions! Send personalised messages expressing your gratitude for their support. Offer exclusive perks or early access to new products as a token of your appreciation.
  • Provide Exclusive Content and Opportunities: Advocates crave a sense of being “in the know”. Offer them exclusive access to behind-the-scenes content, early product previews, or invitations to special events. This fosters a sense of community and exclusivity, making them feel like valued members of the brand family.
  • Open Communication Channels: Create a dedicated communication channel for advocates to connect with you and each other. This could be a private online forum, a Slack group, or even regular webinars. This fosters a sense of community and allows advocates to share ideas, offer suggestions, and feel like their voices are heard.

Providing Tools and Resources for Advocacy

Empower your advocates with the tools and resources they need to be successful brand champions. Here’s how:

  • Advocate Portal: Develop a centralised advocate portal containing everything your advocates need in one place. This could include brand guidelines, talking points, social media content templates, product information kits, and access to exclusive content like product demos or training materials.
  • Social Media Toolkits: Equip your advocates with pre-made social media posts, graphics, and hashtags they can easily share with their networks. This makes it easier for them to promote your brand without having to create content from scratch.
  • Tracking and Analytics: Provide advocates with access to basic tracking and analytics so they can measure the impact of their efforts. Seeing how their advocacy translates to brand awareness and engagement boosts their morale and motivates them to continue participating.

Leveraging User-Generated Content (UGC)

User-generated content (UGC) can go hand-in-hand with powerful marketing advocacy software. It’s authentic, relatable, and resonates with audiences on a deeper level than traditional advertising. Here’s how to leverage UGC in your advocate program:

  • Run UGC Contests: Organise contests or challenges that incentivise users to create content featuring your brand. Encourage advocates to share their experiences, product reviews, or creative uses of your product or service. This not only generates excitement and brand engagement but also provides you with a treasure trove of valuable UGC to utilise in your marketing efforts (as we expand on below).
  • Feature UGC on Your Platforms: Showcase user-generated content on your website, social media channels, and in your marketing materials. This validates your advocates, encourages others to participate, and provides potential customers with a glimpse into real customer experiences.
  • Repurpose UGC for Marketing Campaigns: With your advocate’s permission, repurpose high-quality UGC in your marketing campaigns. Positive testimonials and visually appealing user-created content can significantly increase the effectiveness of your marketing efforts.

Encouraging User Testimonials and Reviews

Testimonials and reviews hold immense power in the digital age. Positive reviews can significantly boost customer confidence and influence purchasing decisions. Here are some things to consider:

  • Make it Easy to Leave Reviews: Make it easy for customers to leave reviews on your website, social media platforms, and popular review sites. Include clear calls to action and streamline the review process for maximum impact.
  • Incentivise Reviews: Consider offering small incentives like discount codes or building customer loyalty points for customers who leave detailed reviews. However, ensure the focus remains on encouraging genuine feedback, not just incentivised reviews.
  • Showcase Testimonials: Feature positive testimonials from your advocates on your website, landing pages, and marketing materials. Highlight success stories and the positive impact your brand has on your customers.
  • Respond to All Reviews: Take the time to respond to all reviews, both positive and negative. Thank customers for positive feedback and address any concerns raised in negative reviews promptly and professionally. This demonstrates your commitment to customer satisfaction and builds trust with potential customers.

Organising Advocacy Events and Challenges

Building a vibrant advocate community goes beyond online interactions. Consider hosting in-person or virtual events to connect with your advocates and boost engagement.

  • Advocacy Summits: Organise annual or bi-annual summits where you bring together your top advocates for an exclusive event. This provides opportunities for networking, learning about upcoming product launches, and offering valuable feedback.
  • Virtual Advocacy Events: If in-person events are not feasible, consider hosting engaging virtual events. Webinars, live Q&A sessions with company executives, or virtual product demonstrations are great ways to connect with advocates and foster a sense of community even across geographical boundaries.
  • Advocacy Challenges: Run engaging challenges that encourage advocates to participate in specific activities. For instance, you could create a challenge where advocates need to share product reviews on different platforms within a set timeframe.

By taking into account the points we’ve covered in this blog post, you should now have a better idea of how to identify potential advocates, build relationships, and leverage user-generated content, all as part of a successful advocacy program.