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Understanding and Building Brand Advocacy

Hillary Gawlik.

Sometimes brands can get so caught up in acquiring new fans they can leave out the social piece of social media marketing. Acquiring fans and followers is a key part to successful social media marketing. But then what? You need to engage your community and turn your fans and followers into brand advocates.

We decided to take a step back and get back to the basics of brand advocacy, because if you don’t fully understand the who’s, what’s, and why’s of brand advocacy, it’ll be hard to make it an integral part of your social strategy.

What is Brand Advocacy?

Brand advocacy is building relationships between a brand and its consumer. When there is a substantial bond or loyalty between brands and consumers, the consumers may become brand advocates. Brand advocates go above and beyond to show their enthusiasm and dedication to a brand. Their devotion to a brand can not only last a lifetime, but can encourage others to follow in their footsteps.

Word of Mouth Pic

An Advocate Among Us

Some brands still seem to focus too much on gaining new customers than maintaining the loyal ones and this can be a big mistake. They get consumed with the amount of likes and retweets a given post gets rather than focusing on who is sharing that information. What's the real value of a fan or follower if they really don't give a hoot about your brand or product. Spoiler alert: it's not much. Don't get me wrong, fan acquisition is a good thing but you have to look beyond the numbers to see the true potential of your community.

Why Is It Valuable?

Irfan Kamal, global head of data, analytics, and products at Social@Ogilvy, claims that “advocacy provides two sources of value: extending the reach of existing campaigns through fan and customer base marketing, and driving increased rates of conversion and action through recommendations.” So it can only help a brands following and success by engaging with your costumers online and showing them that you care. Show your community that your brand isn't just a corporate entity, but an experience that people will what to talk about, and even better, share with their friends.

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What Are the Different Types of Advocates?

There are different types of advocates and each can be an essential part of having a successful campaign. So knowing the difference between advocates is important. “Because any company that is not actively grouping and engaging advocates to perform targeted sales activities is wasting money and losing business,” said Mark Fidelman, a contributor to Forbes.com.

Socialchorus.com made a great infographic to show the different types of advocates.  I am a Passionate Pilgrim for some of my favorite brands. Are you an advocate too?

FireShot Screen Capture #103 - 'The 7 Brand Advocate Types You Need To Know (Infographic) - Forbes' - www_forbes_com_sites_markfidelman_2013_07_29_the-7-brand-advocate-types-you-need-to-know-infographic
[Click to enlarge]

Build Relationships to Cultivate Advocates

By simply making an effort to reach out to each individual.  Your loyal customers do not become advocates just because they buy your brand's product on a regular basis, you need to build relationships. Brands need to respond to their messages and comments and acknowledging their presence. Advocates are real people so you should treat them as such. This should be an everyday occurrence and not just surrounding special events, like the Super Bowl or the Emmys.

Does your brand have strong advocacy and what measures have you taken to gain it?


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Comments
  • http://www.eBizROI.com Rick Noel, eBiz ROI, Inc.

    Great post Hillary. I couldn't agree more on your points regarding treating people as real people. Empathy and sincerity are key.

    I love the infographic with various advocate types and most closely relate to the Curious Curator for some of my favorite brands.

    Happy New Year!

  • Hillary

    Glad to hear from a fellow advocate! Brands should really see their costumers as people and not just a number and I wanted that to come across.