Every single one of us is an advocate for something or somebody. You (hopefully) advocate for your children, your significant other, and causes that are important to you.
You’re an effective advocate because (1) you have an emotional connection to the person or cause, (2) you understand the person or cause, and (3) you have an incentive for being an advocate.
When it comes to marketing your brand, you may feel that it’s a bit harder to find someone who is truly devoted to being an advocate on your behalf. The truth is, your advocates are likely already out there. You just need to connect with them.
So, let’s get down to some inbound fundamentals and discuss how best to get advocates on social.
3 Ways to Get Brand Advocates on Social
First, let’s talk about the difference between an advocate and an influencer. Typically, advocates are happy customers, employees, and friends. Influencers are celebrities, bloggers, and other industry professionals that may genuinely like your brand, but receive some sort of compensation for endorsing.
It’s important to understand the difference, since the FTC has recently cracked down on influencers not revealing that they are compensated advocates. A hefty fine awaits influencers and brands who try to skate by without using hashtags, such as #client or #sponsored in social media promotion.
So, to be clear, we’re talking here about advocates — unpaid people who promote your brand organically.
How can you get advocates on social?
1. Create an Emotional Connection
The genuine advocacy that springs from a strong family connection can be imitated in your brand advocacy program.
To do this, you’ll want to get your audience involved in your brand and in your story — make them part of your family. For instance, in the past few years, chipmaker, Lay’s has launched repeated initiatives to involve their customers in creating new flavors. The hashtag #dousaflavor allows customers to become part of the Lay’s family by suggesting new flavor creations.
2. Understand Customers by Listening
Customers, whether happy or unhappy, are typically eager to share their opinion on social media. However, if you’re not listening to them, they may stop talking.
Tools like Warble allow you to keep on top of mentions, keywords, hashtags, and phrases. This should be a daily practice. Conversations about your brand shouldn’t be one-sided. By being engaged and really listening on social media, you’ll create an natural relationship with your audience that will lend itself to creating advocates.
3. Provide Motivation for Advocates
If your customers have a fantastic experience at your restaurant, they may be eager to leave a review on Yelp or to mention you on social media. Why not reward that good behavior?
For instance, some businesses on Yelp offer incentives for checking in, such as a free appetizer, or a coupon. If there’s the promise of appreciation for being an advocate, that will be a motivating force.
So you’ve made it easy for people to talk about you on social media, you’ve created an emotional connection by involving your audience in your story, you’ve listened and responded to them on social media, and you’ve provided motivation for being an advocate. Your brand’s family just got a lot bigger!