5 Steps To Build An Advocate Community
Are you trying to create an army of advocates to represent your brand? Are you looking for creative new ways to interact with these advocates? Building a community is an awesome way to engage your most loyal followers. A community targets only a small group of dedicated advocates who yield significant results. But how should you ensure that the people you invite are truly advocates? If not, they might be ruining the community for everyone...
With this article, we would like to share with you the know-how we’ve learned and recommend to our customers.
1. Who truly is an advocate?
A common technique used to get to know your advocates is the Net Promotor Score which allows your customers to rate their experience with your brand on a scale from 1 to 10.
We reuse the groups that can be deduced from such an NPS campaign and arrange your potential advocates in these groups. This way you can apply much of your existing knowledge about NPS to your advantage.
As a quick recap, let’s quickly go over NPS scores and segments used when evaluating an NPS campaign:
- Detractors those that are not genuine advocates. They will not be of value to your brand, they might even detract from that value. If we interpret this in the context of a community, these people will most likely not even sign up. And if they would we could imagine these people poisoning the experience inside of the community.
- Passives those who like your brand but are not very keen on the idea of sharing your content or providing you with references. These people will not result in added value through a community, but they won’t be detrimental either.
- Promoters the group of people from who you want to source your advocates. These are loyal followers who are willing to introduce you to new customers and are not afraid to share awesome content that you publish.
2. How to get started?
Now that we know the segment of people we are looking for, it is time to get to work.
Classifying people into these three groups is usually quite hard or even dull for your potential advocates. You could always classify your advocates using the earlier discussed NPS, but is this really related to the interactions you want from your advocates?
Let’s get started with a detailed guide that you can use to identify your advocates in a more robust fashion.
2.1 Start an experiment
To identify your advocates we suggest that you run a little experiment.
The experiment will closely resemble that of the experience your advocates will be getting once they are invited into your community. Asking your potential advocate to participate in a few small challenges first.
At Ambassify, we allow our customers to publish polls, vote and share challenges to landing pages which are publicly available. This allows them to test the reaction of their advocates against a subset of the content that will be available in their community.
In order for your results to be more robust as those that you get from an NPS, we suggest you do more than activation and look for those advocates that have an acceptable level of engagement.
You could, for example, send your e-mail database a vote and share challenge and additionally do an NPS.
Once your experiment is over you should have a clear indication as to which group a user belongs to. The value you attach to each of these individual challenges depends on the qualities you are looking for in your advocates.
If you are looking to create a retweet-army you are most likely going to attach more value to the share challenge. While a brand that is looking for input from their advocates might be giving priority to the advocates that respond to a poll.
2.2 Targeting your experiment
Not all advocates give you access to the same audience, for this reason, it is very important to align your goals with the segment of users you will be including in your experiment.
Are you looking to use your employees as the voice of your company? You should be targeting your employees with this experiment. Including your customers in your experiment could yield false positives or even shift your audience from your employees to your customers.
Finding the correct advocates for your message is very important as you could very well be disappointed by the results when your message does not align with the target. Not sure what segment you should target? Here are some audiences that are regular targets:
Keep in mind that a community is not only meant to provide value to you, your advocates will need things from you as well. This is something you can think about when investigating your audience.
Can you provide the audience with unique content, VIP access to resources or allow them to define the course of a product?
2.3 Using the right tool
It is hard to earn the attention of your advocates, especially when you are targeting your audience through e-mail.
For the optimal result, you should be using tools that take the pain out of e-mail campaigns, MailChimp for example. If you are an Ambassify customer you will have access to our Messages feature which takes all the pain out of these campaigns by integrating the entire experience with your advocate platform.
The action you are requesting your audience to perform should be crystal clear without any additional distraction, that is why Ambassify allows you to publish actions onto landing pages.
Landing pages are clean pages with a clear Call-To-Action for your future advocates to interact with for maximum results.
Integration with an analytics service will ease reporting on your experiment. You should include an appropriate level of tracking so that you can easily extract the data required to segment your audience as described above.
Whenever you use the landing pages generated by Ambassify, we will set up tracking for you, and all of the interactions will be saved to your account.
3. Selecting advocates
If the experiment has progressed up to this point you are most likely ready to start the selection procedure.
When using an NPS campaign, we’ll follow the traditional model and only select people from the Promotors group. But as discussed earlier, in most scenario’s you want to perform a more realistic test and include other campaigns such as a share or vote campaigns.
The criteria used on non-NPS campaigns differ significantly depending on the goals and audience you are trying to reach. However, in general, the level of engagement is a good indicator of the quality of your advocates.
The target audience of our community is the promotor segment and not the passives or detractors.
A person who is willing to share content or vote on questions relevant to your business is advocate material. After all, these are the kind of actions that will result in added value for your brand.
Before considering a person an advocate we usually want to see a 65% level of engagement with the campaign we send them. This will reduce your potential advocates significantly, but that is the goal of this experiment.
We want to find your real advocates. Those who are truly involved with your brand will thank you for it, as 54% of advocates agree that the smaller the community, the greater the experience.
When the value derived from each campaign is significantly different you can assign points to each interaction depending on the value of the campaign.
Summing up these points will again push you further in the right direction of finding the advocates that matter for your brand.
4. Manage your expectations
Can’t wait to get started with your advocate army? Don’t forget to be realistic and manage your expectations, our numbers shown that about 30% of our customers’ mails will be opened while only 10% will click through.
The good news is that of those that click through almost all will interact with the campaign. Let’s perform some simple math to find out what size community you can expect to create.
Reaching out to 1000 potential advocates will result in 100 entries for your campaign. We should always assume that not all of these people will leave a positive interaction and that some might not reach the 65% quota we set up earlier.
Our numbers suggest that about 75% of those that interact with your campaigns will eventually qualify for your community. So there you have it, starting of with 1000 potential advocates could gain you as much as 75 valuable advocates!
5. Activating your advocates
Now that we’ve discovered who your brand advocates are you might be wondering what to do next or how to get started with a real community.
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