Many consumers rely on recommendations to inform their purchases. Simply using advertisements to promote your products and services often isn't enough. If you don't have anyone talking up your business, your brand could be missing out.
That's where brand advocates can come to your rescue. These individuals can recommend your brand through social media, to friends, family, and other connections. Their recommendations are more likely to be seen as trustworthy than direct marketing, which enables you to attract new traffic and raise your business' profile.
In this article, we'll explore what brand advocates are and how they can benefit you. Then we'll look at some tips on what you can do to recruit them. Let's get started!
An Introduction to Brand Advocates and Their Benefits
A brand advocate is anyone who is vocal about their love for your company. They can be an average, everyday person who promotes or recommends you on their social media profiles, or someone with an existing following.
Brand advocates can include happy customers, business partners, employees, and even influencers:
By advocating for you, these individuals are organically spreading brand awareness. Even ordinary customers with small social media followings can be beneficial, as you'll be reaching their friends, family, and acquaintances through them.
After all, people trust the people they know most, and are more likely to listen to their best friend or favorite influencer as compared to traditional advertisements. With that in mind, let’s look at how you can gather more brand advocates for your business.
4 Tips for Attracting More Brand Advocates
While influencers often look for some kind of payment in exchange for their endorsements, that certainly isn’t the only way to gain advocates. By applying the right strategies, you won't necessarily have to pay your followers to spread the word about your business. Here are four of the best steps you can take.
1. Thank Your Customers With Unexpected Rewards
It's natural to like the idea of being rewarded for doing or buying something. Whether that’s getting a discount on their next purchase, receiving a thank you note, or being offered a free gift, customers want to be thanked.
This can be a small expense, and is often well worth it. By giving something back to customers directly, you can instill brand loyalty by nurturing a more genuine connection.
One of the best ways to foster a meaningful relationship is to take the time to personalize your gifts. That might mean including each customer's name on a card or email, or giving them a specific discount to their favorite product.
When a customer is happy with your company, they’re more likely to positively promote you on social media and by word of mouth. Ultimately, the good opinion of customers can be invaluable in spreading brand awareness organically.
2. Create Hashtags for Social Media Users
Of course, there are methods for improving your own brand awareness. In fact, one popular technique is to craft a unique hashtag for your company. Hashtags are easily searchable across social media, and are therefore a great way to promote your products:
As a first step, consider how many hashtags you should use on each social media platform. For instance, Twitter and Facebook posts tend to do better with one or two. In contrast, Instagram campaigns thrive with as many hashtags as possible.
In addition, try to keep your specific brand hashtags short and to the point. This makes them easier to remember. At the same time, it's important to be unique if you want your hashtags to be shareable. So don't be afraid to get creative, and include informal and even humorous hashtags.
3. Encourage Feedback Through User Reviews
People often turn to those they know to get recommendations for the things they need. At the same time, people are also relying more heavily on online reviews. With that in mind, it can be beneficial for your brand to maintain a presence on relevant review websites.
After all, people use many different platforms. So by spreading your presence out, you’re increasing your chances of positive feedback:
Online reviews give you a platform to address any negative commentary. By responding to concerns and helping to address problems in a helpful and prompt manner, you can turn once-dissatisfied customers into new advocates.
On the flip side, positive reviews act as free promotion for your brand. To take advantage of this fact, try to make it as easy as possible to leave a review. You can do that by using multiple social media and review websites. Then, you can take the best testimonials and display them on your site.
4. Offer a Rewarding Loyalty Program
Finally, offering a loyalty program can turn customers into brand advocates. In a nutshell, a loyalty program provides rewards to customers each time they use your business.
Companies like Starbucks use points that can add up to free drinks, food, or merchandise. Sephora does something similar. Every time you buy something, you get points. Then when you have enough, you can use them to get a free gift each month.
By offering something genuinely desirable, you can encourage your customers to come back to you time and time again. This loyalty can translate into a customer referral program, to further spread brand awareness among family and friends. When you have happy customers, they'll be more inclined to become advocates.
Brand advocates can be a valuable asset for you. They can promote your services and influence their family, friends, and followers. Once you have them in your camp, it will be the brand advocates who will do much of the legwork for your company.
Let's recap some of the steps you can take to enlist more brand advocates:
- Offer your customers rewards or recognition, to nurture a connection between them and your brand.
- Create hashtags on social media to encourage user-generated content.
- Encourage customer feedback to build trust and develop potential advocates.
- Offer a loyalty program that rewards and grows the relationship between you and your customers.
Do you have any questions about brand advocates? If so, tell us in the comments section below!