Understanding the Brand Advocate (and How to Find Them!)

Content marketing has become an integral part of successful marketing campaigns for all companies. The creation of new and engaging content keeps your brand top-of-mind for the consumer and helps to maintain a sense of brand relevancy. The biggest problem facing marketers today is content creation. Not only is it time consuming but it can also be very costly. This is where finding and developing your brand advocates can come in handy.

Brand advocates are consumers who love your company and products/services, and who actively promote your brand to their peers, friends and family. So you know that these brand advocates are out there, but what exactly do they do for your brand?

Here are 7 ways brand advocates benefit your brand:

  • They help to maintain your online presence, even if you don’t have fresh content to post.
  • Advocates are great references. They share their opinions and recommendations with their social networks. Brand advocates are viewed as credible sources because they aren’t paid advertisers.
  • They reflect the best aspects of your brand. They show that your brand’s consumers are happy and eager to share their experiences.
  • Brand advocates are loyal customers and are long-term consumers who not only generate new referrals, but offer their continued patronage.
  • They humanize your brand. They share with their peers their experiences, which are more relatable than traditional logos and symbols used to promote brand awareness.
  • Brand advocates fight for your online reputation and, as you know in this digital age, consumers have more control over your online reputation than you’d would like to admit. More brand advocates means more positive coverage across various social media channels.
  • Brand advocates can be internal. Enthusiastic employees may also act as brand advocates through social media, which creates a positive image of your corporate culture as well as your consumer culture.

So where do we find these brand advocates?

Social media is a good place to start. Although starting a large social following won’t guarantee a network of free brand marketing, it does allow you to sift through your networks and determine the leaders among your followers who are good candidates for reliable brand advocates. Start by engaging your social networks to determine which of your followers can become your brand advocates. Here are some ways you can identify your potential advocates:

  • Be direct and ask the right questions. Sometimes the simplest way to determine whether or not a person is a brand advocate is to simply ask them how likely they are to refer your brand to their friends and peers.
  • Develop a fun and engaging social campaigns that will draw out your most engaged fans.
  • Search across all social platforms including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, etc. This will also help you to determine where your fans are most engaged with your brand.
  • Analyze the demographics of your current brand advocates to determine the age, gender, ethnicity, and behaviors common among your greatest followers.
  • Monitor your social networks and forums for success stories and positive experiences. Share these across your other social networks.

So now that you know what a brand advocate is, what they can do for you and how to find them, it’s time to learn ways we can turn more of our fans and followers into brand promoters.

  1. Make your content easy to share across multiple platforms. Hint: Incorporating social share icons on your blog posts can help make sharing really easy.
  2. Be original. There is nothing more important to be timely and original with the content you develop. The more original, the more engaging and the higher the share-value.
  3. Utilize multiple platforms to interact with your followers and fans.
  4. Provide an online area where your customers can provide reviews, feedback and recommendations. This is also a great way for customers to share success stories.
  5. Listen. It’s a crucial component of finding the biggest advocates for your brand.
  6. Respond to comments and social shares. This is another key component to maintaing a strong relationship with your customers through social media.
  7. Be real. Your fans and followers can tell the difference between a social share for a prize/reward and a social share from the heart.