Social Media Advocacy: How to Build a Brand Advocate Program. We’ve put together a guide to getting started with using social media for advocacy, including some brand advocacy examples and best practices. What is social media advocacy? And nine out of 10 online consumers say recommendations from friends and family members are their most trusted form of advertising worldwide, while only two out of 10 trust online ads.” A social media advocacy program is a structured strategy for building a network of brand advocates. Why do brands need social media advocacy programs? How to set up a social media advocacy program The key to building a strong social media advocacy program lies in leveraging your existing communities. Who do they engage with on social media? But do customers really trust people who work for your brand? Ways to incentivize (not bribe) employees include: Promise to follow them on social media from corporate and executive accounts to boost their network Retweet or share the most creative messaging tweeted by employees from the company account Create a contest where everyone who shares a piece of marketing content is entered to win a prize Keep track of consistent sharers within your business and provide that information to managers as evidence of the positive contribution they make to marketing Acknowledge frequent sharers in company meetings Successful social media and brand advocacy program and campaign examples From global juggernauts to challenger retail brands, every enterprise large and small can benefit from a social media advocacy program. Social media advocacy tools Use a tool like Hootsuite’s Amplify to help your employees share content from your brand as seamlessly as possible.
While you can boast about your own product and service, social media advocacy is a better way to spread the word. It involves using third-party cheerleaders, known as brand advocates, to promote you through their own social media channels.
It’s an extension of that age-old tactic: word-of-mouth marketing, and it’s a great way to generate those all important meaningful relationship moments.
Building your own social media advocacy program and recruiting brand advocates doesn’t happen overnight. We’ve put together a guide to getting started with using social media for advocacy, including some brand advocacy examples and best practices.
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What is social media advocacy?
Social media advocacy means leveraging the social networks of the people who like you and/or are invested in your continued success: your customers and employees. For many companies, these two groups are their biggest untapped resources as well as their biggest fans.
By turning as many of these people as possible into brand advocates—people who proactively talk up and advocate for your company to their own networks—you can extend your reach and generate greater brand affinity.
That’s because brand advocates will work for your brand and share positive sentiments with their community. This can be more credible than company-led advertising methods, including influencer marketing. Because the best brand advocates either work for you or are already customers, they generally have a deeper connection with your brand than brand influencers, who are often for hire to the highest bidder.
In fact, while 18 percent of people trust brand influencers, 92 percent trust brand advocates. And nine out of 10 online consumers say recommendations from friends and family members are their most trusted form of advertising worldwide, while only two out of 10 trust online ads.”
A social media advocacy program is a structured strategy for building a network of brand advocates. Instead of simply taking advantage of the free exposure and marketing potential of these advocates, a social media advocacy strategy involves taking their feedback and engaging with them in a mutually beneficial relationship.
Why do brands need social media advocacy programs?
A social media advocacy program is much more effective than relying on traditional advertising methods. In the digital age, peer-to-peer recommendations are the most powerful advertising tools available.
By leveraging existing fans, and employees, you can increase brand awareness, develop strong customer loyalties, and facilitate valuable customer feedback loops.
Google found that 60 percent of business technology customers rely on the reviews and testimonials of other consumers when making purchasing decisions. Brand advocacy is ranked even higher than influencer marketing. According to the previously mentioned Forrester Research Inc. study, 18 percent of consumers trust influencers while a whopping 92 percent trust brand advocates.
Deciding to launch a social media brand advocacy program involves activating advocates all over the globe. When done right, fostering brand advocacy can lead to many company-wide benefits, including an increase in sales and positive brand sentiment, as well as a greater share of voice in your industry space.
Ready to get started? Here’s a quick guide to getting started with building your own social media advocacy strategy.
How to set up a social media advocacy program
The key to building a strong social media advocacy program lies in leveraging your existing communities. You can do this by:
- Sourcing the right fans
- Targeting strategic influencers
- Leveraging employee evangelists
1. Plan ahead and set goals
First, you need to consider what you’re trying to achieve with your social media advocacy program. What kinds of brand advocates are you looking to build your community with? What kind of ROI are you aiming for?
Use the S.M.A.R.T goal setting program to help set the most effective goals possible. That means setting goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely.
For example, one goal could look something like this: “Create a brand advocacy program that will help grow my Twitter following by 15 percent over the next three months.” With a clear goal in mind, you can focus on working towards it as you begin getting brand advocates onboard.
Deciding to develop a brand advocacy program doesn’t have to mean starting from scratch. If your brand is active on social media, then…