Trying to spread the word about your brand to new audiences? Brand advocacy is a powerful aspect of your marketing that you can’t afford to overlook.
Brand advocacy uses people who love your brand (like customers, employees, or influencers) to support and promote your brand through word-of-mouth marketing initiatives.
People trust personal recommendations – and when you’re supplying your advocates with specifics on what you want them to say and do, it’s simpler to build a positive perception that draws new customers to your brand.
88% of people trust recommendations from people they know more than they trust any other channel. And in today’s hyper-online world, we feel like we ‘know’ influencers and celebrities.
Ready to capitalize on this phenomenon? Read on to learn who your brand advocates should be and how to set them up for success – theirs and yours.
Types of brand advocates
Your brand ambassadors and advocates don’t have to fit into a mold. There are numerous types of advocates that can help spread the word about your business. Take a look at four common brand advocate categories and how each contributes to cementing your culture.
Team members or employees
The first type of brand advocate to invest in are the people who work at your company – whether they’re executive leadership or your newest, greenest hire.
As employees, there’s a good chance they’re already invested in your company culture and the products and services you offer. In fact, they’re likely already serving as organic brand advocates – talking about your brand in everyday conversations.
With a little direction and guidance, they can become even more powerful to have on your side.
Partner with businesses that provide a complementary product or service to yours rather than a business that’s a direct competitor.
For example, if your business is an accounting software provider, you may consider partnering with an online platform that hires freelancers and other contractors who may handle their own accounting. You can cross-market to each other’s audiences, resulting in more traffic for both of you.
Partnerships aren’t limited to for-profit entities; you can also consider partnering with charities and nonprofit organizations.
Influencer marketing is growing increasingly popular, especially with micro-influencers with more niche followings. Micro-influencers see up to 60% more engagement than larger influencers.
For successful brand advocacy, focus on nurturing long-term relationships with influencers who are truly invested in your product and your brand.
Happy customers may just be your best brand advocates!
You might have to do a little digging to discover which of your customers are best suited as advocates. People who are already talking about your brand on social media or people who stand out to your customer success team might be good fits.
Your customer service department may also be able to point you in the right direction, as they are on the front lines in terms of customer interactions and may have positive customer success cases willing to participate.
Alternatively, you can also pay attention to who shows up in your social media mentions, or even consider sending out a survey via email to directly ask your customers if they want to get involved.
For people who opt in, create a new email segment where you can ask them to write reviews on third-party review platforms or share their experience with your brand on social media.
Once you get your lineup set in stone, customer advocates can potentially drive large amounts of new traffic to your website or storefront with shining, honest testimonials about your services.
Step-by-step guide for building an effective brand advocacy strategy
Get your brand advocacy campaign on the road by following these steps to set it up right.
1. Define goals and train your advocates
Every good business strategy starts with a little goal-setting. When it comes to brand advocacy, your overall objective is to generate more leads and a better reputation through people saying good things about your company.
Translating this into a quantifiable, time-bound goal might sound something like:
Create a brand advocacy program on Instagram, using influencers and customers, to generate 15% more web traffic within the next three months.
Once your strategy is set, invest some time in creating training materials for advocates.
Not everyone is a social media marketing professional. You’ll need to educate your advocates – from employees to customers – on what to say (and not to say) to paint your brand in the best light.
2. Build and distribute engaging internal content
Before you can get rolling with brand ambassadors outside your company, you must ensure your internal messaging is crystal clear. If you haven’t already, outline a style guide and messaging. This will help employees, influencers, and customers alike understand your brand and how you want others to perceive you.
Craft policies and guidelines for your advocates to follow. These materials could take the form of PDFs, ebooks, or short training videos that you distribute internally across your company and give to any external brand advocates (like an influencer).
Information on voice, messaging, hashtags, and similar topics will be helpful as they promote your brand on social media and beyond.
3. Target the right audiences
There are hundreds of thousands of influencers on Instagram, but not all of them will be an ideal match for your business. Similarly, just because someone has purchased from your company doesn’t mean they would be a good brand ambassador.
So, how can you determine who would be a good fit for your brand?
You need to choose brand advocates with a similar audience to your target customer. Otherwise, there’s no point in working with them: If you sell computer hardware and the influencer strictly produces fitness content, there’s not a significant enough overlap in your audiences for it to be a worthwhile partnership.
Research the audience of your potential brand advocates as best you can. Consider their audience demographic and how closely it matches yours. Then select the advocates who have an audience most similar to yours.
4. Make your content easy to share
The content you create and distribute should be easy to share on social media. The easier it is for somebody to tap that share button, the more likely they are to do it – and the more engagement, leads, and website traffic you’ll get.
What makes content shareable? Create content that’s more engaging across digital platforms by following these tips:
- Use numbers: Pull cold, hard statistics to add to an infographic or caption
- Tell a story: Focus on storytelling to make content with a beginning, middle, and end
- Get personal: Interview someone who loves your brand or include photos showing your employees’ faces
- Angle toward your audience: Figure out the beliefs, interests, and opinions of your audience, then share content that’s highly relevant
- Be useful: Teach viewers how to do something or solve a problem
- Jump on top of trends: Keep an eye out for industry trends and ways you could incorporate them into your content
- Rely on visuals: Add plenty of images and videos – not just text – to increase shareability.
5. Reward your top brand advocates
Provide an incentive for the advocates who perform best. This will vary based on the types of advocates you’re using. Influencers are most often paid via a lump sum of cash or in free products.
Customers might be content with the extra traffic on social media. Whether you provide a discount, free swag, or simply a social media shout-out, be ready to discuss what kind of reward might be necessary for different brand advocates.
Depending on the advocate’s audience size and how much they’re doing for your brand, you might consider one or more of the following rewards:
- Free product or service
- Free swag or merchandise
- Social media shout-out
- Gift cards
- Commissions on sales
6. Track, monitor, and optimize campaigns
Make sure you’re tracking and analyzing your campaign results so you know what to tweak moving forward. Brand ambassador metrics to track include:
- Brand mentions (and their sentiment)
- Website and app traffic
- Number of referrals
Tech such as a social listening tool or a customer relationship management (CRM) platform can help you keep up with the numbers you need to know.
Organizational benefits of a brand advocacy strategy
Businesses that invest in brand advocacy stand to see some major gains from a properly executed campaign. By setting up an employee advocacy or customer advocacy program, you can enjoy a range of benefits that will ultimately result in more revenue.
- Your reputation will expand and improve
- You’ll be more attractive to potential new hires
- Customers and leads will trust you and be more loyal to your business
- You’ll get valuable insights into what your audience truly wants and how you can deliver it
- Your traffic, quality leads, and overall sales will increase.
The power of brand advocacy with Workvivo
If you’re looking to increase word-of-mouth marketing, develop more positive brand awareness among potential customers, and get more user-generated content and positive reviews, brand advocacy needs to be part of your marketing strategy.
From employee advocates to influencer marketing campaigns to clients talking about their customer experience, several avenues exist to amplify your brand and gain even more loyal customers. But perhaps one of the easiest ways to share internal content and launch your employee advocacy program is with an employee engagement platform like Workvivo!
With Workvivo, you’ll gain a central hub that can serve as a knowledge base, helping internal brand advocates understand what you’re looking for. And, of course, you can highlight your company values and vision to increase brand awareness and cement your culture across the board. Get your free demo here.