How To Create Social Media Advocates For Your Brand

social advocates

Research suggests that up to 80% of reach from marketing campaigns now comes from network amplification through advocacy. This means brands that can’t generate substantial advocacy will simply pay more to market less efficiently than those who make advocacy a brand priority. – Social@Ogilvy

A recent study from Social@Ogilvy evaluating brands and social media posts by consumers reveals that most brands are falling far short of achieving social advocacy among their satisfied customers. This is a big deal. If four-fifths of marketing reach comes from customers spreading the word through their networks, then not facilitating this sharing means a brand will essentially be doing less with more. Spending more in this case will not achieve the results that matter. Greater social reach is achieved by working smarter, not by simply shelling out more money for ads.

We all know that you don’t have to do much as a brand to cause dissatisfied customers to talk about you on social media. You just have to screw up. Even a small screw up will often do the trick. But, positive word-of-mouth can be a little more challenging. Customers must be inspired to share something from your brand with their friends. Here’s how to make it happen on social media itself:

Give customers a reason to talk – Compelling content is the key here. For fans of your brand to share with their friends, they must feel like what they’re sharing is interesting to these friends. Funny posts and cool product videos are nice, and can definitely work at times. But, what about giving people something more than a brief chuckle? Offering something of value (an exclusive coupon, giveaway, etc.) that can’t be obtained anywhere else works because it’s worth something to everyone that sees it. People have a natural inclination to share when they can be the first to pass along a great deal to friends and be recognized for it. It feels good.

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Provide the tools to spread the word – I can’t tell you how often I still see online material that is not easy to pass along. There’s not much worse than having satisfied people leave great content after consuming it because sharing requires a step too many. Sharing is what social media is all about. In order to get the most out of it, your brand must not only encourage sharing, but facilitate it in an easy manner. All of the social apps my company builds make ease of sharing a top priority because it is that important. Those that know what sharing is really worth demand it. Your brand’s blog probably has sharing functionality enabled, but does this extend to your other digital assets? Or, even other pages on the website? You don’t want anyone receiving branded content from you without passing it along if you can help it. So, make it happen.

Reward loyalty and advocacy – Let’s say you are offering an incentive on one of your products. You could offer the incentive itself as the very first reward. In other words, require a customer share the offer they want in order to receive it themselves. You may think this is counterproductive. But, if the content is compelling enough (and you tell the customer what it is ahead of time), most will have no problem doing what they were going to do anyway (share) ahead of time. But, it’s important not to stop there. You now have a relationship with this customer that needs nurturing. The rest of the experience must leave a positive impression, and any follow up needs to build on that first interaction. Knowing exactly who your loyal customers are, and acknowledging them with words and additional incentives provides that reciprocation needed for satisfied customers to become loyal, social advocates for your brand. And, having vocal advocates on your side will bring in many more customers than you ever could on your own.

You can read more of the study’s key insights and view their infographic on how to build a global passion brand here.

Comments: 3

  • Great article. I really liked the part where you have mentioned about giving customer a reason to talk. Being into business, our major priority should always be made on the content part.Rightly pointed that offering something value is worth sharing.

  • Sarah Mordis says:

    Great tips for creating brand advocates at any degree. I think that sharing tools are huge, as well as giving away something of value. The backscratching should be mutual. I’d like to add another great way to get people behind your brand is to resolve any issues or answer any questions as quickly as possible. While you’re doing this, be as kind and grateful for their business as you can. Just being empathetic goes far most times!

  • Sean Grace says:

    Thanks very much for the kind words, Ajay and Sarah.

    And, Sarah, I absolutely agree with you about offering quality customer service through social media. Many customers will use social networks to quickly reach out to brands if they have an issue. This is great! It gives brands a way to respond publicly to bad experiences, creating more goodwill if the situation is handled correctly.

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