Why Advocates are Your Brand VIP’s
According to research conducted by social marketing company BzzAgent and the University of Rhode Island, a brand’s advocates are 83% more likely to share information about a product than typical consumers, and 50% more likely to influence a purchase. The study also found that brand advocates tend to enjoy solving problems and helping others make better purchase decisions. Thus they are 75% more likely to share a great product experience and three times more likely to share product opinions with someone they don’t know.
Harnessing that power to convert fans into die-hard advocates who embrace your vision and embody your brand, can return more than your marketing dollars ever could. But before you can do that, you need to understand what a brand advocate actually is.
Defining Brand Advocate:
The simplest definition for brand advocate, or what we like to call “Internal KOL,” is a fan of your brand who is willing to share his or her thoughts about your products, services, and overall brand identity with the world. And no, your mom does not count unfortunately.
In fact, many of the people who come to mind first as your brand’s biggest fans may not be the ideal advocate. Before you direct message the last person who followed you on WeChat, ask yourself a few questions:
-Has this person participated in and shared my campaigns and posts?
-Does he or she fit my brand’s buyer persona?
-Has he or she actually purchased my products?
Depending on your brand’s digital marketing channels and strategies, there are a variety of ways to identify true advocates. Generally speaking, you can conduct Social Listening by paying attention to what people are saying about your brand on the internet. Third-party review sites, marketplaces like JD and TMall, social media, and even your company’s website will all give you hints as to who’s talking and how they feel about your products. Clues to watch for include:
-Social Media Mentions (Twitter, Weibo, Facebook)
-Highly rated reviews on third-party marketplaces and your company site (Amazon, eBay, JD, TMall)
-Reviews on personal blogs
-Likes, Reads, Shares of WeChat content
-Comments on blogs, social media, and reviews from other users
When it comes to the closed environment of WeChat, one way to identify advocates is to use third-party analytical tools. JINGsocial has a Follower KOL function that identifies your brand’s most influential followers based on their engagement, sharing, and activity patterns. The tool also visualizes each Internal KOL’s influence map, which shows the quantity and identity of influenced followers.
After you have determined which of your fans have healthy followings, significant influence, and dedication to your brand, you have one more step. Your brand advocates won’t be too effective if they don’t support your brand’s overall vision, goals, and identity.
Don’t forget your colleagues!
Who do you think have the most intimate knowledge of your brand culture and business? Your colleagues are without a doubt some of the most untapped, organic fans for your brand! Do not let this valuable resource go to waste.
There are numerous benefits for cultivating a high level of internal “buy-in” before introducing any new product or service is to the market:
-Consumers love brands who love their employees.
-They also favor organizations with positive corporate cultures — one that is punctuated by employees who seem happy to be part of the team and proud of their contribution to the product.
From a marketing perspective, once you have made the team the center point of a couple of campaigns, you will find colleagues more eager to share and promote company-related content on social media and with friends and family.