Online marketing and content creation are deeply intertwined. You already know that you can add value to your brand by frequently updating online content to keep your company fresh in the minds of consumers and maintain a sense of relevancy. But providing original, engaging content isn’t always easy. The problem is that content creation, at least, good content creation, is time-consuming and can be costly.
Rob Fuggetta, founder of Zuberance and author of Brand Advocates: Turning Enthusiastic Customers into a Powerful Marketing Force, states that 28-33% of marketing budgets are going towards content creation, which is a considerable chunk of change.
This is where social media brand advocates come into the picture, and you’ll probably like what you see. Brand advocates, or brand ambassadors, are consumers who genuinely love your company and products, and who actively promote your brand to their audience of peers, friends, and family. Sounds promising, but how can this improve your online image?
Brand Advocates Are Crucial To A Positive Online Image
You can leverage the value of brand advocates by making your content easily shareable via social media. And if you play your cards right, these advocates may even help create fresh online content for your brand and improve your online visibility. Brand advocates are quickly becoming an integral part of developing a positive online reputation for your company.
The top reasons companies should ‘Like’ their social media brand advocates:
- They sustain your online presence, even if your promotions team doesn’t have fresh content to post.
- Good advocates are equivalent to good references. They offer recommendations to their social networks, and their peers view them as credible sources because they aren’t paid advertisers.
- They reflect the best aspects of your brand and demonstrate that your customers are so happy they can’t help but share their experiences.
- They are loyal customers, often for life. Advocates are long-term consumers who not only generate new referrals, but offer their continued patronage.
- They humanize your business and are more relatable than traditional logos and symbols used to promote brand awareness.
- Consumers have more control over your online reputation than your marketing team would like to admit. More brand advocates means more positive coverage across various social media channels.
- If you’re lucky, 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.
Encouraging Your Best Brand Advocates
Since when did a large Twitter following and thousands of ‘Likes’ on Facebook equate to free marketing labor? It’s not quite that easy; just because many consumers enjoy and follow your social media channels doesn’t mean an equal number are willing to or capable of advocating for your brand. However, amassing a strong social media following is a good place to start.
If you can recognize which followers and fans are ideal brand advocates you can transform their normal online activity into an important promotional resource for your company. Start by identifying your strongest players and then focus your energy on them. To do this, you must ask the right questions or set up the best campaigns to determine customer loyalty. So, how can you harness the power of social media to seek out your most likely brand advocates?
Identifying Potential Advocates
- Ask the right questions: simply ask followers how likely they are to refer your brand to their friends and peers.
- Develop a fun social campaign that will draw out your most engaged fans.
- Spread your search across all customer touch points, from Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to your website and corporate blog.
- Look at your current brand advocates to discover which demographics are most enthusiastic about your brand.
- Keep an eye out for exceptional consumer stories and testimonials on social media sites and publicize that person’s positive experience.
If you’ve already taken the time to garner a large social media following, make it worth your while by identifying key members among your audience who can act as brand advocates. You should be able to leverage these advocates to create new high-quality content without touching your marketing budget.
Additional Tips To Turn Followers and Fans Into Promoters
- Make your content easily sharable across all types of social media platforms.
- Post original, interesting updates to engage fans and convince them to share.
- Launch a multi-platform campaign to widen your audience.
- Provide online tools for consumers to post testimonials, reviews, and feedback.
- Listen to what fans are saying about you to find your most passionate consumers.
- Respond to consumers via social media; this is an easy way to promote your brand and potentially turn more fans into active promoters.
- Keep it real: more consumers will spread the word about your campaign if you offer incentives (prizes or pay), but this type of promotion is less valuable than an authentic voice speaking out about their love of the brand. And the rest of your fans are smart enough to tell the difference.
Once you’ve cultivated a group of ecstatic brand advocates and made it simple for them to share their stories and comments online, begin promoting their content. Repost their recommendations and remarks on as many media channels as you have access to. This is the best way to leverage content created by brand advocates to boost your online image and brand awareness without spending a cent.
About the Author
Emily is a freelance writer based in Toronto, Ontario who covers a range of topics from technology to travel. She holds a Bachelor in English Literature and Business from the University of Waterloo. No matter how many projects she is working on, Emily always finds time for baking, reading, and yoga.Follow on Twitter More Content by Emily Bauer