Advocate marketing is one of the most powerful tools you can use to gain awareness and customers for a brand or business. Without advocates, leveraging social media channels like Twitter and Facebook is an uphill climb for almost anyone.
That said, correctly identifying advocates is also challenging. Given the fluid nature of social media, what’s the best way to identify advocates worth targeting? Once you have have them, how do you get them to advocate for you in a way that doesn’t alienate customers?
Many brands struggle to create an effective advocate strategy. And that’s a problem, because potential returns from customer advocates is too strong to be ignored.
But no fear. Here are three simple and effective strategies that transform advocate marketing from a headache to a key driver of ROI.
1. Know How To Search
Finding advocates starts with knowing how to search for them. Start by filtering the traffic a site gets for time and frequency. This uncovers the users who visit a site most frequently, as well as those who spend the most time browsing or interacting with it. If a user scores high for these variables, it’s a strong indication that they enjoy the site.
In addition to measuring connections and browsing durations, it’s important to inspect actions that indicate a user is getting value from the site, as well. This might take the form of content downloads or multiple purchases over a period of time. Remember, advocate marketing is not just about getting traffic - it’s about getting monetized traffic.
Whatever a brand’s monetization pipeline looks like, filtering for users who follow it results in a better ROI from potential advocacy efforts down the road.
2. Know Who To Ask
I know what you’re thinking. Just because a user enjoys a site doesn’t automatically make them a good customer advocate. Advocates need to be active visitors to, sure, but they must also be inclined towards interactive behavior.
After filtering for those who spend a lot of time on site, look deeper at what they do while connected. Do they simply browse around? Or are they constantly exploring new products, leaving comments or product reviews and then telling people about it on their own blogs or social media channels?
Users who already show an ability and willingness to share their experiences are your golden targets.
3. Know What’s Going On With Your Advocates
Maintaining strong relationships with your current customer advocates is one of the most important strategies a company can deploy to find new ones.
Advocates by definition have a following, and very often their followers do as well. The social network of any advocate likely has influence within your industry, and since personal introductions are the most effective way to start partnerships, every current advocate is a line to dozens, if not hundreds, of other people with influence in the same community.
Maintaining up to date relationships with advocates can be as simple as giving them a discount on a product or service or a shout out on a social media channel. For advocates with a lot of influence, personalized treatment such as keeping in touch via email or meeting up for a drink if possible can go a long way towards making sure they stay onboard.
Customer Advocacy Is About Respect
At the end of the day, identifying advocates is a two part process. The first involves the use of filters and numbers to identify a few people to court. But once that easy work is done, customer advocacy becomes a game of offering service to the influencers that your brand wants to work with.
This can start online but it doesn’t need to stop there. After all, influencers got where they are by interacting with other people in a way that earned their respect. Brands that treat their advocates in kind will go a long way towards building a profitable relationship together.