You probably have at least one marketing specialist in your company. If not, I assume you’re a marketing manager yourself. Somebody has to, right? But what if I told you, that you could have 50 or even 500 marketing people, working for you? No, not in your office. How would they would fit in there?
They’d work online, all over the world. Well, maybe “work” is a too big word. They’d create awareness about your brand, writing about it and recommend it to their friends. Sounds tempting?
But who are they? How can you find them? Well, these people are called brand advocates. You already know them, because they’re your customers.
But before I go any deeper on how they can help your business, first you need to identify them amongst your clients.
Identifying brand advocates
One of the greatest ways to identify brand advocates is NPS (Net Promoter Score). NPS is a customer loyalty metric. It’s the opposite of the surveys with tons of questions customers are not really willing to answer. NPS bases on the one and only question: “How likely are you to recommend our company to a friend or a colleague.”
To answer this question, customers choose a number between zero and ten. They can also leave a comment explaining their choice.
Answers from zero to six mean they’re distractors. Pay closer attention to this group because they’re at the highest risk of leaving. Answers from six to seven mean that customers are passive about your product. And 9-10 means that they’re promoters! Voila! You just found your brand advocates.
So let’s talk about what they can do for your business.
Brand advocates spread good word of mouth
Good word of mouth starts along with a great product and service. Low price is one factor, but it’s not enough to give you the advantage over your competition.
Let’s say you sell cheap frozen pizza. People may talk about it once they find out, but only until they try it. Because once they do and it turns out that taste is not what they expected, they won’t buy it again. And that’s when your good word of mouth ends - and negative one starts.
So, a great product and even better service are a foundation of every good word of mouth. People love to talk and share. They talk about the products that are useful for them. They recommend doctors and hairstylists who are good at their job. A lot of these conversations happen in real life. But brand advocates can also take the conversation to social media.
They use tons of social media
Twitter, Instagram, Facebook - your brand advocates use these platforms to recommend your product whenever such chance appears. They love you and they want to spread the love. Where can they have a wider reach better than social media?
I personally love the Contigo and Joseph Joseph brands. It’s because their products are extremely practical and beautiful at the same time. When I got Contigo’s mug and Joseph Joseph’s lunchbox as a gift I wanted to let these brands know that I absolutely adore their products.
The first thing that came to my mind was Instagram. Luckily they use Instagram, so I easily tagged them on a picture. A moment later both of the brands liked my picture. I think as a brand advocate, that’s all I needed.
I don’t need any benefits to promote the companies I love. The benefit for me is how convenient my life is with their products. And I just wanted to let other people know.
They write online reviews
Brand advocates are easy going, it’s no problem for them to write an online review about your product. They can easily promote your business online. When you have happy customers you don’t need to encourage them too much to talk about their experience with your product or service.
Online reviews are important especially in the SaaS industry. We know it ourselves. Customer reviews are very powerful. They can make you the market leader. Customers can give you bad reviews and create you bad word of mouth, which most likely will decrease the number of new customers.
When you try to choose a product or even a hotel, you read online reviews. It’s natural. You also ask friends, but they’re so many hotels in the world, it’s unlikely that your friends have been to the one you want to go. When choosing a hotel, I always check reviews on booking.com. And when it comes to choosing a restaurant I read reviews on tripadvisor.com.
Opinions are everything. Who can I trust if not the people who already tried the service? They have no reason not to be honest, unless they are from a competitor but that’s another subject.
You can learn from them
It’s not like you can only learn from unhappy customers. Sure, they help you understand the flaws in your product and what they dislike about it. Their feedback is priceless. But happy customers, your brand advocates, can help you improve your product. They know it so well, that they can give you insightful advice that you can use to develop your product.
For example, one of our customers gave us a score 10 in the NPS metric and commented “it’s great.” Since there’re no conclusions from a praise like this for us, we decided to dig deeper. We asked this customer how we could improve our product. It turned out that he came up with a new interesting feature for our product. He sent us some screens of how the whole thing should look like. It was a great idea so our development team started working on it and we released this feature within a month.
High satisfaction means customer loyalty. Brand advocates do a lot for you and I’m sure they’re willing to stay. But it’s not like they stay if you don’t do anything for them too. What I mean is that you can’t take them for granted and you need to keep them engaged over the years.
You already know them well, so it’s good if you tailor your communication. You can segment your customer base and send them emails based on their preferences. You can use social media channels to nurture relationships with customers by engaging them in conversations on their social media sites. You can also make them feel important by personal approach. Think about some benefits like special offers and discounts or hand written thank you notes to appreciate their loyalty.
I’m sure once you’ll manage to show them they’re important, you’ll be able to live happily ever after with your customers.
Recognize your brand advocates
Brand advocates are your most happy and satisfied customers. They’re willing to do free marketing for you. You should recognize them and appreciate their efforts. This way you motivate customers to spread good words about your company.
Having brand advocates also helps you to build credibility and earn trust for your business.
Back to you
Are you working with brand advocates? Or perhaps you're a brand advocate yourself? Either way I'd love to hear your thoughts about the topic. Please use the comment section below to share your thoughts and views.