Brand Advocates: Your Secret Social Media Weapon! Part 2
I hope you enjoyed Part 1 of the series that was published yesterday. If you missed it, please do have read of it first and then return here.
As mentioned, Part 2 is all about showing you how easy it is to find and nurture relationships with fans so you may find your brand advocates. It is time consuming, but the rewards and benefits as you will see make this a must have in your digital marketing arsenal if you have an active highly engaged fan base.
Finding your brand advocate
You do not gain brand advocates by simply being awesome on social media channels. Neither do you build brand advocates by producing awesome content – unless your name is TechCrunch or the Huffington Post of course. The root cause of gaining a brand advocate is by delivering a remarkable, satisfying product and service consistently. Not hard is it? After all, that is what all businesses strive towards.
So now that all that ‘hard work’ has been done and you have identified a potential brand advocate, what do you do?
Firstly, are they creating content about your brand or doing the same for other brands? You need to be dedicated to finding these advocates and paying them special attention; it is time to get personal and to become the stalker (almost). It is wise to first investigate a little about them; who they are, what do they do? Do you think they will resonate with the demographic that you are selling to? Do they have strong opinions that may crossover and upset others? In simplistic terms you need someone who is passionate, has the ability to create content and is a ‘good egg’.
You bend down on one knee… Oh no, sorry, wrong blog post. No, you don’t bend down on one knee, but you do put a ring on them. In the case of Twitter you add them to a private list named something original such as ‘brand advocates’. Strategically you could create multiple lists and you move the people from one list to another as they become more receptive to you. Example of a Twitter list:
- Brand advocate
The difference between them could be that the Engaged list is those followers that retweet and reply (depending on how much noise there is around your brand this may be less useful). The VIP list is made up of those that you are paying attention to who are showing potential to then move into the brand advocates list.
There are social media tools emerging that will allow you to monitor Facebook in a similar way, and there is of course good old fashioned bookmarks and the Excel spread sheet for keeping a list of URLs of these people manually. If you have a Community Manager, they can always become friends with Facebook fans one-to-one and reach out to these people this way. Due to Facebook Fan Pages’ inability to become friends with fans this would be my recommended choice.
As the relationship builds you need to start recognising them, and making the relationship more public. If they write a blog, create a video review, or tweet a good word you need to pass the love on. Remember a brand advocate is a fan who goes the extra mile by creating content about your brand (often) without you having to ask. They are the person who turns up at a conference or your open day and then creates a blog about what you said, and how much they enjoyed themselves. It is essential that you recognise their work and validate them.
Go with the flow
Sometimes an advocate will come out of nowhere, and you will just have to accept it. Remember that they are their own entities; you don’t always get to pick and choose who your audience resonates with most. It should never be about favouritism either. Each brand advocate should feel equal, have their part to play and when their paths cross they feel part of the family rather than adversaries.
The benefits of brand advocates
Building a community is hard at the best of times, but with brand advocates on board you essentially have a mini marketing team for the price of one person interacting with them – a secret weapon that your competitors may not be taking advantage of! You couldn’t ask for a better way of spreading the word of the awesome work your business is carrying out.
As quality unique content has become a priority in search marketing, you have the added benefit of it positively impacting your SEO campaign. You couldn’t ask for a better backlink profile then multiple pieces of content written by brand advocates on their blogs linking back to your website.
Social media marketing
Socially, your message and content will get distributed further than would normally be expected. As many brand advocates actively create a fan base of their own, you can effectively extend the reach of your brand much further. Granted, you don’t have full control of the message and content, but the way you conduct business will influence it for sure.
As mentioned previously, if you form relationships with multiple people, you essentially have a mini-marketing team at your disposal. This should essentially mean they are one of the contributing reasons to an increase in revenue as people trust their word and also buy-in to your marketing messages as they get reinforced by the brand advocates.
By no means complete or finished…
This series is just a snap shot into the hard work that goes into such a social strategy. You can put a lot of hard work into a relationship for that person to suddenly disappear of the radar due to personal circumstances or a change of heart. This is about living out the life of your company socially. Forever engaging with new people, spotting the opportunities to connect with the right people, drive engagement levels through the roof and enabling people to fall in love with and trust your brand.
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