Brand advocacy is a popular form of modern business marketing. Brand advocates promote the business through word of mouth. Their positive reviews about the company’s products or services help to promote the company to new customers. Brand advocates also create new content for the business by posting items on their social media accounts.
What is Brand Advocacy, and who are the Brand Advocates?
- Brand advocacy excites people both inside and outside the organization about your product or service.
- Brand advocates can be employees, customers, or influencers. They spread the word about a brand much faster than paid advertising would.
Employee Brand Advocacy
“I enjoy my work and find it fulfilling. My employer supports me gives me the tools I need to do my work well.” These are statements any supervisor would appreciate hearing.
This strategy works for both recruitment and sales. A positive comment from an employee about the perks they get, their flexible hours, or a delicious new ice cream flavor their company has launched is a valuable marketing tool.
In the digital world we live and work in, brands can no longer rely on paper advertising. Social media is the most effective form of communication that most people use daily. When did you last check your messages, notifications, or newsfeed? Was it within the last hour or two? Today, people are constantly checking their devices to make sure they don’t miss something happening that may affect them.
Adding a company intranet is one way to grow brand advocacy. It can contain brand advocacy apps to encourage employees to like and share content from inside and outside the company.
Customer Brand Advocacy
According to Marketing Charts, a Florida-based “hub of marketing data,” found that brand advocates are 50% more likely to influence a purchase. This could be through sharing by word of mouth or using digital media.
When we buy or experience something we’re happy with, we tell friends and family about it which engages them with the product or service. The constant use of cellphones and technology are promotional tools. If you went to a superb restaurant last week it’s so quick and easy to share the link with friends or a group. Then three of those people dine at the restaurant and share the link and so on… This is how brand advocacy works.
Influencer marketing works in the same way. If you get excellent customer service, sharing a picture of a product or the company’s logo on Instagram or Twitter plants a seed to draw attention to the brand. This kind of social mention can boost sales and is one of the easiest brand advocacy examples to achieve. The trick is to react fast, stay connected, and build relationships.
Why is Brand Advocacy so Important for Companies?
Brand advocacy can make a company stand out from the crowd. It‘s a powerful publicity machine that works for all types of organizations, from B2B companies to charities. A successful brand relies on how people perceive it. Brand advocacy contributes to this.
Here’s why brand advocacy is essential:
Keeps a Company Ahead of the Competition
Being the brand that everyone’s talking about because of a new product or unforgettable ad campaign keeps a company ahead of its competitors.
Encourages Customer Loyalty
Loyal customers return and repurchase. They name the brand in conversations and influence how and what others buy.
Building people’s trust is the key to creating a brand advocate. If someone trusts a company they believe in its values and how it treats them.
Boosts Content Creation
Advocates work as marketers for an organization without realizing it. Every time they post a video or share an article, they give the business free publicity. An invaluable marketing tool, asking guests to post on a blog, can boost brand awareness.
Promotes Business Growth
Brand advocates indirectly affect business growth as every new sale creates extra profit. Although difficult to measure, this form of subtle marketing should have a place in the marketing strategy as it’s as important as traditional marketing.
Helps Find New Audiences
Brand marketing has a target market. But what if that target market is saturated? How does an organization find fresh customers? Brand advocacy can find new audiences who may not be in the target category. For example, smartphone advertising aims at a certain age group. People outside that group may be encouraged to buy a smartphone if a friend or colleague they trust raves about it.
How to Build an Effective Brand Advocacy Program
The brand advocacy program should be included in marketing strategies. It should apply to both employees and external groups. This is the opportunity to encourage a passion for your brand and create something special. But how do you create brand advocacy programs?
1. Define your Advocates
Employee advocacy can’t be left to chance. From your customer and employee base, determine who your advocates are, as these people are loyal to your brand. You can do this by reviewing who engages with your posts. These people are going to help you improve your brand image. Look after your advocates and offer them rewards and incentives to keep them interested.
2. Make Sharing Posts Easy
Everyone is super busy in today’s digital world. How many times have you read an article or seen a product you want to buy and intended to go back to it later? But you didn’t get the time, forgot about it, moved on and something else caught your eye in the meantime. Make it easy to like, share, or repost your message when someone reads it. To do this, choose the best brand advocacy software that is easy to use, cost-effective, and reliable both for your intranet and website.
3. Be Consistent
Having a strong presence turns an organization into one that consumers trust. If you show up every day with a blog post or special offer people know you’re for real and care about what they think. They’re more likely to follow you and anticipate your posts each day. When customers spend money they like to feel safe, and a reliable organization nurtures this feeling.
4. Create Promotions
Everyone loves a great deal. Make special offers and discounts part of your brand advocacy program. Add to this referral programs, rewards, competitions, introductory offers and you’ve got a winning formula for getting people to support you.
5. Listen to your Employees and Customers
Your program should include asking employees and customers what they think. It’s easy to set up a website or intranet survey that only takes a couple of minutes to complete. Why not ask for testimonials and reviews? This kind of feedback can tell you if you’re doing things right. It’s also important to show you’ve listened by publishing results and opinions. This makes customers and employees advocates as they feel their opinion counts. You can also do this with a comments area – and always promptly reply to comments.
6. Be Real and Approachable
How often have you clicked away from a cold and boring website? No one wants to buy from a website that feels unfriendly. People like to see the actual employees they’re dealing with. This means posting biographies on your managers and team leaders. On an intranet, this can be a detailed profile that employees complete themselves so colleagues can learn more about them. Being real creates trust, which leads to advocacy.
7. Set Goals
Set measurable and time-specific goals. For example, to increase post shares on the intranet by 50% in the next three months, or to achieve a set amount of mentions on Twitter for a new product launch.
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How do You Measure Your Brand Advocacy?
Measuring the success of your brand advocacy program is important to justify any budget you spend and to review where to make improvements. The keys to measure brand advocacy are:
Consider your goals in detail and decide if they’re achievable. Keep reviewing them and identify what social media marketing works and what doesn’t.
Consider your Platform
Does your intranet or website give you the stats you need? Can it track and record views, likes, posts, etc., and present them in an understandable format? An efficient reporting platform is crucial to assessing your brand advocacy campaigns. A good platform:
- Is easy to use
- Has a user-friendly dashboard
- Can be tailored to suit your needs
- Contains clear reporting tools
Track and Collect Data
The way you monitor views and likes of a blog post or article is essential to measure your brand advocacy. This includes:
- What reach you’re achieving
- Who is liking/sharing a post
- Which campaigns work the best (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.)
The results will show whether your advocates are engaging with your brand. Do you see a pattern, or are the “likes” you are getting random? You may find, for example, that your Facebook posts aren’t doing as well as you expected. Could this be because your product is not right for your advocates on this platform? Answers like this allow you to create an impact with your brand and engage the people who are most likely to be interested in it.
Recording brand advocacy is a long-term action to include in your marketing strategy. This form of organic marketing is growing and to keep ahead of the game, it’s essential to monitor brand advocacy results consistently.
It’s also important to review who your advocates are and if they suit your market. As your organization develops so will your brand advocates.