Brand Advocates. These representatives of your brand are exactly what they sound like: people loyal to your brand, who are willing to promote your brand on a more personal level. If that sounds daunting, it doesn’t have to be!
1. PROVIDE EXCELLENCE IN YOUR SERVICE OR PRODUCT
It’s first on the list because it really is the most important! If you want people to be willing to use their time, expertise and clout to champion your brand, you have to provide them with something they’ll be proud to recommend. All the strategy in the world can’t cover up for a subpar service or product. Focus on ways to make your brand stand out from the competition and emphasize what your brand offers that others can’t or don’t.
2. BUILD PERSONAL CONNECTIONS
Brand advocacy is all about the personal approach. In contrast with more overt forms of marketing and advertising partnerships, brand advocacy feels more personal. It’s all about eliminating the hyperglossy, inaccessible, or phony-sounding branding, in exchange for a more grounded approach. One 2018 study reported that 42% of people distrust messaging that comes directly from brands.1 When a brand feels personal, even if it’s something as simple as an authentic, interactive social media presence, the “false” or untrustworthy feeling of direct branding can be mitigated, which, in turn, creates loyal customers who are more likely to become brand advocates and continue the cycle.
3. PROVIDE A GREAT ONBOARDING EXPERIENCE
Convincing clients to be a brand advocate starts at the very beginning of your business relationship. When onboarding a new client, you’re getting a chance to make a big first impression that will color your future interactions. Use that significant opportunity to reinforce the benefits of your brand and of partnering with you, while also showing appreciation for your new client. Whether that’s with branded swag, exclusive offers, or other perks, rolling out the red carpet immediately makes new clients want to tell everyone they know about their great experience.
4. SEEK OUT FEEDBACK
Think about it: your brand advocates are supposed to be the people who are the most familiar with your product or service, with enough firsthand knowledge to expertly recommend it to newcomers. Who better to get honest feedback from, than the people who know your brand inside and out? Brand advocates don’t just help you sell your brand – they can also help you improve it. Use their in-depth knowledge and loyalty to make your brand better, and encourage (and reward) honesty. Your brand will be better for it.
5. FOCUS ON AUTHENTICITY
Honesty is one of a brand’s biggest assets. Customers are now savvier than ever. They will see right through traditional marketing tactics. The successful use of brand advocates, however, allows a brand to build a strategy that speaks person-to-person and feels more organic (and thus trustworthy). A whopping 75% of consumers consider word of mouth a key factor in their purchasing decisions. As a result, brand advocates are a major way for companies to harness that personal trust.2 Brand advocates, whether they’re customers, employees, or both, should be part of a broader strategy to humanize your brand and give potential customers someone to connect with and relate to.
6. FIND YOUR VOICE
Influencers, advocates and ambassadors are everywhere these days, so how can a brand hoping to succeed actually break through? One important factor is finding the right voice – which, as you might guess, also ties into the tips about authenticity! Avoid both extremes of the “voice” spectrum: formal, dry marketing-speak and overwrought, trying-too-hard “hip” lingo. Instead, aim for a voice that displays your brand’s values and demonstrates an understanding of your target audience and what they need and want.