Turning Clients into Brand Advocates
In today’s online (and offline) world, peer-to-peer recommendations are one of the most powerful forms of advertisement. Your own advocacy will never be as persuasive as the advocacy of somebody that is a true and genuine supporter of your brand. Therefore, you should consider working on gaining the brand advocates who can spread your brand’s awareness and even increase the amount of your potential (and existing) clients.
What Are Brand Advocates and How Do They Differ from Social Influencers?
Brand advocates are your clients, who genuinely love your brand. They are eager to share your content with the world, talk positively about their experience with your services, promote you on social media and recommend you passionately in their daily conversations with their peers. The most incredible part of it all, is that they do it out of their own free will and they don’t expect reciprocation.
Social Influencers, on the other hand, are people like bloggers, journalists, industry enthusiasts or celebrities, who are followed by thousands or even millions of social media users. They may be regarded as an authority in a certain field and very often have an extraordinary amount of persuasive power that encourage people to act in certain ways, including buying a certain product that was recommended in a blog post. In contrast to brand advocates, influencers may not be fans of your product, yet rewarding them with a free gift or payment encourages their willingness to promote your brand or product to their enormous audience base.
Although social influencers may be persuasive, a staggering 92% of consumers trust brand advocates, not influencers. Your company’s truest fans’ motivation to spread a positive message about your company or product is about helping their friends and not growing their audience. Even if you do plan on working with an influencer, your goal should be first to convert him or her into a brand advocate. It is important to keep in mind that the amount of followers may not always translate into influence.
Why you Need Brand Advocates for your Business
As already mentioned, thanks to brand advocates you can expand your brand awareness on social media and thus attract more people to use (and eventually buy) your products and/or services. Any paid campaign or your own recommendation of a product will never be as trustworthy as a like, share or mention from a satisfied and loyal customer.
Every business can benefit from the activity of a group of true and devoted customer advocates on a social media platform. Although building, engaging and sustaining relationships requires a lot of effort, in contrast to a typical ad campaign, it’s virtually free. It’s a low-cost, high-return investment that you should take advantage of.
How to Identify Brand Advocates?
Before you can build a relationship with your clients and turn them into brand advocates, you need to be able to identify how a true brand advocate behaves and who your most committed customers are. This can be easily done with a social media monitoring tool like Unamo Social Media, but you can also start by doing research, including reading blogs and different publications or following various social media channels. Understanding who the main influencers / advocates are and what type of activity, including content creation strategy, they’ve implemented, is really crucial here. You should also monitor mentions and interactions on a topic that you find relevant to your business. Make sure you track your most active followers, such as those who are already promoting your content. This can be a vital source for your success.
Start monitoring who is linking, sharing and commenting the most on the content you feature on your social channels. By going to Leading Authors in Unamo Social Media, you'll get a list of those people and profiles which have the most interactions with what you put online. You will also be able to check the number of people who follow them, potential reach and popularity.
Make sure to also take a closer look at the sentiment of the mentions a specific author posted on a social media channel. The fact that someone is passionate about writing about you doesn't mean he is satisfied. That is why it is best to read every mention a specific client is writing. By filtering the Mentions Feed according to author and popularity, you will get a list of all the recent mentions, which will give you a great overview of the particular client's engagement and attitude towards your brand. This will be also a great opportunity to learn more personal things about the person, which will help you in making your first interaction with them more personalized.
How to Turn Your Social Clients into Brand Advocates?
In order to turn your clients into brand advocates reach out and connect with them. This can be easily done by replying to a comment, sending a personalized email or engaging with the content your customer is sharing. The key to making any of this interaction beneficial is personalization. Your goal should be for the customer to feel recognized and appreciated.
You can also acknowledge and reward them. There are a few creative ways to go about it, e.g. you can offer them a discount. Every client would also surely feel truly special if they got your company mug or T-shirt with a handwritten letter delivered from their postman. You could also feature them on your site or social media page. Your followers and supporters will appreciate it.
Remember that you want to keep your customers and brand advocates engaged in your content and your community. Make sure you also listen to them carefully, analyze their feedback and do what it takes to understand their pain points. Be as accessible as possible too.
To sum up, turning your clients or the influencers in your niche into your brand advocates can bring you some tremendous results in the form of increased brand awareness or sales. All it takes is an exclusive approach to a client, who by having an exceptional experience with your brand will want to recommend it to their followers.