Inspire Customer Advocates to Promote Your Brand

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Dave Hawley, SocialChorus
Dave Hawley, SocialChorus

Many marketers today agree: Brand advocates can drive success across a variety of different marketing programs. From propelling new product launches to maximizing awareness and increasing social engagement, advocates can help brands achieve a variety of goals.

Building relationships with your advocates has significant business benefits for your brand. Not only do you have the opportunity to create life-long customers, but acquire new customers, as well. Customer advocates can be your brand's best marketers and are often willing to share your brand's story, especially if you make it easy and rewarding for them.

Consequently, traditional “one-way” marketing and advertising is no longer the most effective way to market to consumers. Business leaders today need to realize that by  leveraging brand advocates to share their story they will discover a more credible and valuable way to reach even more customers.

So, where do you start? The following are six tips for motivating your customer advocates to share your brand content:

1. Identify and maintain relationships with brand advocates: People are increasingly using social media, so narrow your focus and find out not only who your prospective customers are, but also who it is among your followers that already shares and promotes your content.

2. Keep brand advocates regularly engaged. Comment, reply, share, and email are all great tactics to keep your advocates on board: Respond quickly to their comments, make an effort to reach out, and thank people for sharing your content. Show publicly that you value their opinions.

3. Give advocates good reasons to do meaningful things for your brand: It usually takes more than just a polite ask to get your advocates to do something meaningful for the brand. You need to give them a reason to take action, and what better way to reward them for their efforts than with your own products or services? Create contests where each month you feature someone who has been sharing a lot of your content. Provide content that is funny, entertaining, educational, or provides some sort of value to your customers. Pictures, videos, infographics, and behind-the-scenes footage drive excitement about your brand and lots of engagement.

4. Always offer diverse content: It's important that brands provide advocates with a variety of content to share. Remember: All advocates are different, and you want to provide them with a wide range of appealing content and opportunities to share.

5. Keep it simple, yet fresh: Provide advocates with new content and opportunities every couple of weeks to ensure that they have new things to share. Make sure to inform advocates when there are new opportunities available so that they can share them. Customer advocates have busy lives; however, if you make it easy, they're much more likely share.

6. Be open-minded: While it may be tempting to tell your advocates exactly what to say and share, it's important to allow them to speak about what's on their minds. Telling advocates exactly what to say will be less credible and undermine the true value of powering others to tell your story. Let your advocates create their own messages. They know their audience best and will construct messages that will be most effective.

It's important to keep in mind that customer advocates are in it for the long haul – and it's especially important that brands recognize their importance if your are to build lasting relationships with them. Empowering advocates allows the brand story to be told by others, which is one of the most effective ways to spread your company's brand message.  

Whether your company is large or small, every brand has a story to tell and valuable communities of fans, followers, and supporters to help you tell that story.

Dave Hawley is senior marketing director for SocialChorus.

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