There are scores of reasons why you should aim to turn every one of your customers into a brand advocate - repeat business, countering bad word of mouth, getting your brand in front of audiences you didn’t think of yourself, and so on.
Of course, it’s idealistic to think that a majority of your customers will go to any lengths to promote you - having just a handful of brand advocates is more than enough to tip the scales in your favor.
Here are 7 reasons why brand advocacy works and is considered low-investment-high-yield marketing tactic:
Boosting Inbound and Content Marketing
Brand advocates will go out of their way to tell people about you - they will participate in online conversations, write reviews and comments on social media sites, leave positive feedback where they can, and push your own content so it gets more eyeballs.
Brand advocates are 50% more likely to create content about your brand and share it online. That type of content (user-generated) has a bigger impact than anything you could write about your products or services and other potential customers are much more likely to believe it.
Humanizing Your Brand
A lot of big companies (and some smaller ones, especially in the SaaS and technology industries) get completely defaced as time passes. Big departments take place of individual representatives and a personal touch gets replaced by company policy. Customers are aware that this is the case and usually won’t penalize you because of it - but that doesn’t mean they have to like it.
Imagine a customer’s surprise when they ask a question on your social media site only for it to be answered by a flesh and blood person using their own account? They were expecting a copy-paste answer from a customer representative (or even a bot) - instead, they were approached by another customer (a brand advocate) who is willing to answer their questions and take the time to explain things. Of course, you will want to participate in that conversation and make sure to answer technical questions, but this sort of interaction just put a face on your company and the possibility for a positive outcome skyrocketed.
Boosting and Safeguarding Your Online Reputation
Every review left online is an asset for your company. That asset can be either good or bad - a good review will push potential customers towards you and a bad one will push them to your competition. Satisfied customers don’t have a problem leaving a glowing review if you make it easy. Brand advocates, on the other hand, will go out of their way to find exactly where they can talk you up. They will jump on an opportunity to go to review sites and contribute their two cents. All you need to do is give them a slight nudge and, sometimes, you don’t even have to do that.
The key difference between satisfied customers and brand advocates is that the latter do true advocating work. They put out online fires that might damage your reputation. You can call on them to address a bad review or a bad comment and share their own stellar experience of your company with others. That’s why they are worth their weight in gold.
Increasing Your Social Media Reach
Let’s face it - business social media accounts can get a lot of likes but, sooner or later, most people mute or hide them - they are just not that interesting, especially if they are not artfully dealt with. On the other hand, brand ambassadors are real people with real friends and real interactions. When they are motivated, they will communicate with just about anybody about your brand; their relatives, friends, and even complete strangers.
In fact, they are 3X more likely to share information over social media sites with people they don’t personally know. They enjoy the conversation and meeting new people and most of the time, they take great pride in helping others solve their problems by recommending trustworthy companies. Their comments, shares, likes, and reviews have the potential of reaching thousands - something you would spend tens of thousands of dollars accomplishing. The difference here? In comparison, you’re getting all that exposure for peanuts.
Supercharging Positive Word of Mouth in Online Conversations
Around 8% of online brand conversations are negative and a vast majority is either indifferent or slightly positive. In fact, an older Keller Fay research indicates that up to 66% of those conversations are positive. However, they are largely misdirected and lack focus. An organized group of brand advocates can target where they drop your name for the highest net gain.
With a steady trickle of mentions and conversations, your brand name will gain a solid online foothold even if you’re not doing the bulk of the work in that area. The only thing you need to do is set overall goals and provide guidance to your brand advocates, so they know exactly what they’re supposed to do.
Credibility, Credibility, and More Credibility
People don’t trust brands. They may like them, they may buy them but they still take all corporate communication with a grain of salt. In fact, 84% of millennials don’t trust advertising and that renders what you have to say through conventional marketing absolutely useless for that demographic.
However, they trust their friends and their colleagues; they trust their family. And they trust the collective wisdom of other customers. Your brand advocates are trustworthy because they can relate personal experiences and are not compensated for it (though sometimes they will be incentivized). It’s not their job to say nice things about you but they still do and that’s what clinches it for people.
Ease of Deployment and Low Costs
Online brand advocacy platforms such as Ambassify can be used to streamline your advocate onboarding process and to keep the cost relatively low. It’s cheaper than traditional marketing because you’re tapping into an asset that already has a firsthand experience with your product. Brand advocates are likely to recommend your brand to their like-minded friends (which are often your ideal customers) and that usually results in higher-percentage conversions. The bottom line is, your cost of acquisition for those new customers will be at an all-time low - and you didn’t even have to work very hard to get them!
Advocacy Marketing - The Verdict
Hopefully, these 7 points will clear up any and all doubts you might have had about advocacy marketing. With overall cost being so low and the gain so high it would be foolish to disregard it as a valuable marketing tool that can be used to complement your overall marketing strategy. In fact, you should strive to make it an integral part of it - the benefits you’re going to reap will most likely surprise you!