Have you ever wondered how some businesses seem to generate massive brand awareness and word-of-mouth easily? You also notice their customers having great experiences, which they actively share on social media and elsewhere. There’s actually a powerful strategy behind this — and it’s called brand advocacy.
What Is Brand Advocacy?
Brand advocacy is a phenomenon in which customers and fans enthusiastically promote a brand, including its products and services.
A popular example of brand advocacy in action is Apple fans waiting in long lines during new product releases (iPhones, Macbooks, etc.) while showing their excitement to try the products. These advocates then take their enthusiasm to social media with their unboxing videos and reviews.
Besides these brand advocacy examples, the characteristics of effective brand advocacy are the following:
#1: Authenticity. Advocacy is most successful when it comes from a place of authenticity. It means that people are being honest and transparent about their thoughts, and they do it in their own words.
#2: The use of multiple channels. Various channels are involved in spreading the word about a brand. Social media is the most popular one. Others include online reviews, blog articles, videos, and even offline conversations.
#3: Valuable feedback. Brands can benefit long-term when they receive feedback from customers on areas they need to innovate. Using this feedback to improve will enable you to create offerings that meet their demands, creating more brand advocacy.
Why Is Brand Advocacy Important?
Advocates — which can include customers, super fans, influencers who’ve worked with the brand, partners, and even employees — serve as trusted sources of information. Their positive recommendations carry more weight than traditional advertising.
As New York Times bestselling author and global keynote speaker Dave Kerpen quoted, “Your brand advocates are more valuable than any advertisement you could ever buy.”
Through brand advocacy, any business can gain from increased exposure. Compared to traditional marketing campaigns (such as paid ads), satisfied customers and fans promote a brand organically, which makes brand advocacy more cost-effective.
And perhaps a lesser-known but valuable benefit is brand resilience. In situations where a brand faces challenges (for example, shipping delays and other technical issues) brand advocates tend to be more forgiving. This can be helpful in mitigating negative situations.
How to Build Brand Advocacy
Implement these strategies that will transform people into loyal brand advocates:
Focus on relationships.
This is an important first step toward creating brand advocates. Relationship-building is all about fostering connections — not just selling products!
For a brick-and-mortar store, here’s what building a strong bond with a customer looks like:
The customer walks into your coffee shop, then your barista takes time to remember their name and favorite drink. This may be a simple gesture, but it goes a long way in helping that customer feel acknowledged.
Another example, which we employ at UpViral, is featuring user spotlights. We share our users’ success stories where we demonstrate how they’ve accomplished their goals — such as increasing their subscribers and getting sales for themselves and their clients — through UpViral contests and giveaways.
Inspire and surprise customers and prospects.
Why not offer enticing incentives through a loyalty program or a monthly giveaway campaign? By having your audience refer their friends in exchange for rewards, you’ll be able to spread positive word-of-mouth. This brand advocacy strategy creates memorable experiences.
Down the road, those who get referred to your business can also become potential brand advocates. 💪🏻
Reward brand advocates' actions.
When people promote and actively support your business, make sure to let them know that they’re appreciated. There are several ways to reward them. One, which we’ve discussed previously, is offering incentives through referral campaigns (giveaways and loyalty programs).
Another way of rewarding them is by providing exceptional customer service. You see to it that customers’ issues are promptly addressed. This shows that you stand behind your products and services. As a result, customers are more inclined to share positive customer support experiences with others!
Measure the success of advocacy campaigns.
Don’t implement brand advocacy strategies without understanding their impact. Check important metrics, such as:
- Referrals (from customers and participants in your giveaways)
- Social media engagement
- Customer satisfaction ratings, surveys, and feedback
- Customer retention rate
- Return on investment (ROI)
Of course, you should always review the objectives you’ve set from the beginning. Adjust your strategy based on the insights you gather.
What Can Brand Advocates Do for You?
Brand advocates can contribute to the growth and success of your business in the following ways:
They leave positive reviews.
Authentic testimonials highlighting their satisfaction with your product or service will help build trust and credibility for your brand.
Using giveaways to encourage customers to leave reviews can be an effective means of increasing brand advocacy, but make sure you approach it with transparency. For instance, you can reach out to them on social media and email to announce the giveaway. Then, explain the purpose of the campaign, which is garnering reviews.
☝🏻How to use UpViral for this purpose: Choose UpViral’s Online Reputation Engine template, which lets you reward participants for leaving a review about your business on Yelp, Google, Facebook, and other platforms. If you need video testimonials, UpViral also allows you to capture testimonials in this format.
Here’s a sample screenshot of our template:
They create user-generated content.
Brand advocates also create content that showcases their genuine experiences with your brand. With a well-crafted campaign, you can run a user-generated content (UGC) contest where customers submit their best photos.
Let’s say you’re a brand that sells adventure gear. By running a giveaway that asks customers to submit their adventure photos with your products, they get a chance to win a free trip or one of your best-selling adventure gear.
☝🏻How to use UpViral for this purpose: Choose UpViral’s User-Generated Content (UGC) Collector template that rewards participants for submitting a social media post with your product. The more submissions they make, the higher their chances of winning!
See this screenshot of the template:
They increase your social media subscriptions.
Last but not least, brand advocates can motivate others to engage with you on social media through their recommendations. In other words, they create buzz!
One effective strategy is to organize a referral contest where advocates can earn more entries for every new follower or subscriber that they refer to your account.
☝🏻How to use UpViral for this purpose: Create a Custom Action, such as “Follow us on Instagram” or “Subscribe to our YouTube channel” and reward them with higher points for completing these actions. Feel free to add as many custom actions as you want that will grow your social media!
Word-of-mouth marketing, reviews, and recommendations from your brand advocates can significantly impact your business.
From increasing exposure to helping you maintain a positive brand image despite challenges, brand advocacy is a priority. This is especially true if you’re concerned with building long-term relationships with your audience — and not just short-term gains.
If you need a platform that’s proven to enhance brand advocacy, UpViral is here for you. Moreover, UpViral can be integrated into your existing brand advocacy programs, which will strengthen your entire strategy. Explore our features right here.