Who are your brand advocates, you ask? They’re the folks in your community who evangelize your product or service to their own audience simply because they love it. They can’t be bought or gamed, but their social activity can booster your brand online and help you to find new customers. eMarketer recently told the tale of why brand advocates are here to help, which featured some fantastic takeaways for small business owners to learn a bit about the people motivated to help them.
To help you take better advantage of the advocates that rest in your own community, below are four truths they want you to know. Because the more you understand your advocates, the better you can reach out to them.
1. They’re Regular Joes
Sure, it’s easy to use social media as an ego game. When creating influencer programs we look for the people with the most followers, the biggest audiences, and the highest Klout scores. We believe that it’s these high-impact influences that are most worthy our time. But the truth is that’s not necessarily the case. A powerful brand advocate doesn’t need 10,000 Twitter followers; just a genuine passion for your brand.
When trying to identify brand influencers, look deep within your own community. ‘
- Who are the faces frequently commenting on your blog?
- Who is giving you daily RT’s?
- Who is Liking and Sharing your content on Facebook?
- Whose pinning your content on Pinterest?
- Who is linking to your site or social media assets most often?
- Where are you getting customer referrals from?
Make notes of these people and create a spreadsheet to help you keep track of them. Most often, these are the people you want to work on engaging. Not the folks on Twitter with the high follower counts but who have never interacted with your brand.
2. They’re Motivated by Good Experiences
If your brand advocates aren’t motivated by money, what are they motivated by? eMarketers compiled information aggregated by Zuberance, a company which works to identify brand advocates, and found that 87 percent of brand advocates are motived by one of two things:
- Good experiences with a product or service – 50 percent
- A desire to help others (e.g. wants friends to make smarter purchase decisions) – 37 percent
And that’s often why those Regular Joes are the most powerful brand advocates. Because their goal isn’t to increase their Klout score or earn a commission, they’re simply trying to help a friend make a more informed decision. And because the recommendation is coming from a friend, people are more likely to believe it, to give your company a shot, and then recommend you to others if/when they have a good experience with you.
As a brand, this is where going above and beyond to serve your customers becomes so important. It used to be that one person would tell 10 others about their experience with your brand. Now they have the power to tell thousands with just the push of a button. Focus on creating good experiences with your product or service and you’ll also be empowering people to talk about and share your brand.
3. They’re NOT Motivated by Money
Take another look at the graph represented above. Just one percent of respondents said they recommend brands to get incentives and/or rewards. I think many business owners would be surprised by that. We think that in order to get reviews or to get people talking about our business, we need to pay them. But this survey shows this is not the case. Your customers are motivated by their love of your brand and by the desire to share that experience with other people. Give people a reason to take ownership over your brand and help them to feel invested. If you can do that, you put yourself on a good path to attract advocates.
4. Brand Advocates Frequently Recommend Products/Services
Brand advocates are obsessive. They don’t just recommend one brand, one time. They actually seek out opportunities to educate other people about the brands they love. In January 2012, found that 38 percent of Internet users in the US made a recommendation about once a month, with 12 percent doing so several times a week.
For users who enjoy evangelizing products or services, it becomes a habit. As a business owner, you want to work to identify these people, understanding their needs and expectations, and then doing your best to exceed them. because if you leave that person with a good taste in their mouth about your company, you can be certain that they’re going to share it and the experience may go viral within your community.
To attract brand advocates, you have to think like a brand advocate. Above are four truths that I think every business owner could learn from when looking to identify and reach out to the folks passionate about their company.
Advocates Photo via Shutterstock