As a company, it’s important to promote your brand. You want customers and potential customers to recognize what it is that you do and your values as a business. When someone sees your logo or hears the name of your business, you want their association to be positive. One of the best ways to build trust in consumers is through brand advocates.
Brand Advocates and Ambassadors
Brand advocates, also known as brand ambassadors, are like cheerleaders for your company. They are customers who love your brand and what you do so much, they’re keen to tell everyone how great you are! They most often sing your praises by posting on social media and through word-of-mouth recommendations. Brand advocates are NOT influencers because they aren’t being paid to promote your business. They’re simply talking about the positive interaction they’ve had with your brand. As it turns out, this kind of organic promotion has a lot of advantages.
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Another workout look for ya friends 💪🏼 . . Whole look is @lululemon, anyone else obsessed with their fit and style? I can run, lift weights, and even hike in them! Shoes @converse . . Lashes are lash extensions by the way. Love to get them done for day to day, vacations, and outdoor activities!
The Advantages of Brand Advocates
Having brand advocates stand up for your company is advantageous in a number of ways. The visibility of your brand increases as they spread the word about your good work. It’s also free advertising! And if you listen to what your brand ambassadors are saying, you can gain insights about your target market. Finally, other people are paying attention to this form of social proof. Recommendations from colleagues, friends, and family carry significant weight for consumers. In fact, people are more likely to believe unpaid advocates than direct marketing from a business. Check out these stats:
- 90% of customers trust recommendations from friends and acquaintances
- Employee-shared content gets eight times more engagement than content from brand channels
- Brand advocates are loyal and spend twice as much as average customers
- 67% of shoppers spend more money online after seeing recommendations
Earned, Owned, and Paid Media
One way to evaluate brand advocates is by talking about digital marketing. Within this realm, there are three types of media: owned, earned, and paid. If people are talking up your brand, that’s counts as earned media. This kind of free, organic promotion is an important and influential piece of a digital marketing strategy.
- PAID MEDIA is advertising bought and placed by a marketer: display ads, paid search, sponsorships
- OWNED MEDIA is branded communication making a direct connection between a brand and the consumer: websites, social media accounts
- EARNED MEDIA is any communication about a brand that isn’t managed by a marketer: brand ambassadors
Hip Hip Hooray!
Great first shopping experience at the brand new @WholeFoodsONT Sheppard & Yonge location. #wholefoodscanada Great store, friendly staff!
— Ken (@tweetabletalk) September 23, 2014
How do you cultivate your own cheer section in the form of brand advocates? First of all, you need to give people something to cheer about. Providing a valued product with good customer service leads to happy customers who will tell others about their experience. Make a goal of building ongoing relationships with your customers through engagement by asking consumers what they want, listening to their feedback, and answering their questions. Before you know it, these satisfied customers will start providing user-generated content and talking about your business. Here are a few ways to reward that behavior and perpetuate brand advocate actions:
- Send critics and loyal customers a free sample of your latest products, or give them complimentary service so they can review your business.
- Be responsive. Engage on social media, answering questions and responding to comments. Share user-generated content.
- Customer loyalty programs can lead to even greater loyalty and advocacy. Offer a return customer a discount or let them earn points toward a free gift.
- Start a referral program and reward customers who refer others.
Good for Everyone
If you start with the philosophy that being a great business is its own reward, you’re well on your way to having brand advocates. When you provide good service and a good product, people will naturally spread the word. It’s a circle of positivity that benefits the customer and the business. By the way, your employees can also be brand advocates—but more on that in another blog.