How to Identify and Benefit from your Brand Advocates
Brand Advocates are getting a lot of coverage recently but just what is a Brand Advocate and how do you identify them?
Why are brand advocates important?
Your Brand Advocates are critical in this day and age of social media as these are customers or fans of your brand that willingly encourage their peers and social groups to try your products.
Many will take to social media to proclaim a great experience or even a negative one! Nowadays many brands are employing monitoring software to find potentially disgruntled customers and manage negative brand interactions.
There is an old saying that a happy customer will tell one person about their experience but an unhappy one will tell 7! So shouldn’t we be doing all we can to maximise the positive experiences and reward those that do interact positively.
The reward for many can be just as simple as acknowledgment via a retweet, reply or liking of a status. It doesn’t have to mean giving away free products, although I am sure this never hurts.
How to identify your brand advocates
Strangely enough they will present themselves, you just have to know where to look. For example in Twitter many users know to add the @ symbol to tag another user in the tweet. But if they do not know this or they do not know your twitter handle, then this is a missed opportunity and one that is not immediately obvious to remedy.
A simple look up for your brand via twitter search will help but ultimately this can be time consuming. So investing in a social media management tool will pay dividends in terms of time saving. There is a large variety of choice available both free and paid. So taking the time to look at your requirements will certainly pay off in the long term.
Review sites and your own on site reviews can help you identify potential brand advocates. To do this you could start with the relatively simple task of identifying those that have left the most positive reviews. From here you can then search online for the username as many will use the same username across many accounts, and then engage them, follow them, look out for them but ultimately look to reward that loyalty.
Another way to identify them is via blogs. Now this can be a little harder depending on your resources available but by running a backlink report you can potentially identify any blogs that have been written and have included links to you.
These blogs can then be included in your social media/outbound marketing strategy. Again look to reward them by sharing the links and sending traffic in their direction.
Your staff, team and colleagues
Your staff can be critical in helping you to build an identity on line. Whilst the last thing you want is for your team to spend all day on Facebook and Twitter. However by providing clear guidelines to support them on how to share content, how to respond to other users and so on will increase your reach hugely and allow you to develop new ambassadors for your brand.
5 Simple rules to follow
- Engage on social media
- Reply to email quickly and efficiently
- Appreciate and reward them
- Get your employees involved
- Be genuine
What brand advocates aren’t
Brand Advocates are not your friends or your family, they are not your suppliers or marketing agency. Don’t get me wrong leveraging these resources can pay off, but they are not genuine. Friends and family will only go so far and may not have the influence you want. Suppliers and other businesses that you work with will also on the whole only be advocates as long as you work together.
Whilst I have included using your staff on the list above, it also worth noting that they are not your true brand advocates in that you pay them and therefore from the outside that loyalty and allegiance is paid for and likely to be taken at face level.
Generally considered the market leader for most businesses and is used by a number of social media agencies, it allows you to manage multiple social platforms and has integrated reporting features with keyword/brand specific monitoring systems.
Very similar to sproutsocial in that offers multiple platform management and social listening but starts with a free offering.
Google Webmaster Tools
This is an often overlooked completely free tool from Google that essentially allows you to see what Google sees, this includes who is linking to your site.
MOZ is a monthly subscription tool that was originally developed for SEO but has grown to include brand monitoring services and its own social media tool called Followerwonk, plus coming from an SEO background includes a very comprehensive backlink tool.