According to Hootsuite's 2015 Social Media Glossary, "a brand advocate is a customer that is so satisfied with your product that they go out of their way to help you market it. They do work on their own, but often become an even more valuable resource when you connect with them, engage them and empower them."
Wow. I don't know about you, but I could always use a little more help marketing what I'm trying to sell to customers. Not to mention, help from people who will basically do it for free!
The big question remains though: How do you create brand advocates? Luckily, we've got some great tips to get people to start becoming more than just customers to your business.
The first step in creating loyal brand advocates is more easily said than done. You have to stand out from the rest of the competition in your market if you hope to have any chance of getting good advocates. That means, promoting yourself through advertising, promotions, social media, and maybe even charity work that people care about. Just get out there, and make yourself known to your demographic.
Being memorable doesn't necessarily mean finding a gimmick that will set you apart from everyone else. It simply means to think outside of the box, whether that be through the tone of your advertising copy or social media posts, or the way you package your products (hint, think more modern appeal). Customers love to promote products and companies that they think are cool or hip to the current trends.
Creating brand advocates isn't about providing the best deals to your customers, it's actually more about creating meaningful relationships with them. Sure, customers DO love getting a good deal, but they can probably get a deal that's just as great from your competition. Get to know your customers. Find out their interests, wants, needs, and passions. You'll find that customers are more likely to freely promote you if they have a solid relationship with you.
Sharing is caring, right? But seriously, if you have customers that are willing to share your products, whether it be through social media or old-fashioned word-of-mouth marketing, then you're on the right track for creating brand advocates. You want brand advocates to share your content without even having to ask them to do it, but it never hurts to encourage people to tell everyone they know about you!
Never stop working on your customer service. I promise you, if I'm contacting a company with a problem I have, and they don't speak to me with kindness and understanding, I will never come back to that company. Conversely, if a company does treat me right, I'll most likely be back time and time again. If a customer calls, emails, or tweets at you with a negative comment, resist the urge to fire back at them. This only creates more hate and negativity directed toward you. Treat your customers right, and they'll want to tell other people about your kindness.
Do your customers like to leave comments on your blog posts, tweet at you, or leave comments on your Facebook page? Don't ignore them, engage them! Customers love to see brands "like" their comments or tweets. And if you have someone with a wonderful sense of humor running your social media accounts, let them use that humor to your advantage! Brands like Babybel, The Belk Bowl (football), Taco Bell, Old Spice, and Oreo handle humor with professionalism and relatability.
Brand advocates can be some of the most helpful customers that you can have, and they are more than willing to promote your business. Follow these tips and start recruiting some brand advocates of your own.
This post was originally published on FGmarket.com. Check out their blog for more awesome marketing tips!
Contributor Caleb Hennington is a 23-year-old writer, who manages the Atwill Media and FGmarket blogs. He graduated from Arkansas State University in 2014 with a bachelor's degree in journalism.
When not writing, Caleb enjoys camping, running, collecting comic books, and binge-watching shows on Netflix.