Acquiring new, passionate customers is the goal of any marketing strategy. What’s even more important is whether or not your passionate customers are willing to share their love for your brand with their friends and followers — enter advocacy marketing.

What Is Advocacy Marketing?

Advocacy marketing is a powerful word of mouth strategy that involves activating your brand fans to advocate for your product or service. Having a strong advocacy marketing strategy allows your brand to market in a way that feels more fun, authentic, and customer focused.

What Is An Advocate?

An advocate is a customer who lives and breathes your brand. They not only believe in your product or service, but also in your values and ethos as a company — which most likely align with their own values. This passion turns into a more natural form of word of mouth marketing, in which that trusted customer becomes an advocate for your brand with or without very little incentive. They are intrinsically motivated to talk about and recommend your brand within their sphere of influence.

Your advocates are driven solely by their passion for your brand and the desire to share that feeling with others. This creates a greater sense of authenticity, humanity, and relatability for your brand that is essential for growth in today’s marketing landscape.

Turning Customers Into Advocates

So, how do you turn your customers into advocates to get the most out of your advocacy marketing strategy?

Personalize Their Experience

Create more personalized touch points to communicate with your brand fans, and be sure to keep your messaging upbeat and friendly. Customize any messaging based on purchasing patterns and geographic location, so your customers feel a stronger, personal connection to your brand. You can communicate through email, text, social media, or even creating stronger omnichannel experiences for your customers.

Use Social Media Correctly

Treat your social media channels as extensions of your customer service and discovery to solve any and all customer-related issues. It’s important to be transparent. Solving customer issues publicly with a willingness to listen and improve helps improve communication between you and your customers while building a greater sense of loyalty with your customers.

Ask For Feedback

Tap into your brand fans to collect meaningful feedback. Incentivize and pay attention to the reviews your community is posting about your products, encourage commenting on social media posts, and conduct post-contact surveys to gauge customer thoughts and opinions.

Offer Incentives

Create challenges for your customers to participate in, in exchange for some reward. This can be an exclusive discount, free merchandise, or another prize that strengthens their connection to your brand. These challenges can simply involve customer participation through social media.

Utilizing Advocates

Referral Programs

Incentivize customers through referral programs that have benefits for both the referrer and the referee. Offer several different pathways for referral to maximize your reach and utilize your brand advocate’s connections.

Loyalty Programs

Give customers the ability to earn points by leaving reviews, tweeting about a new product, or reposting content on Instagram. Then, offer exclusive experiences or products to those who have earned a certain amount of points.

Collect User Generated Content

Focus on the social channel with the most traction, and encourage customers to post their own content about their experience with your brand for a chance at a repost, possible use on your brand’s website, or even as content for future marketing campaigns.

Ambassador Communities

Invite your advocates to join a dedicated brand ambassador community for a more robust offering of incentives and challenges that will encourage them to more completely represent and promote your brand. Creating a home for your advocates allows you to strengthen their connection to your brand, steer word of mouth messaging from the inside, and gain new customers through a low cost acquisition channel.

This post was originally published here.