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Huzzah! Four Ideas for Activating Your Brand Advocates

by Guest Blogger  |  
April 5, 2012

A guest post by Theresa Trevor of Amplifinity.

When people are making decisions about food and clothing, their debates often focus on quantity versus quality. For example, if we're buying apples, we ask ourselves, "Should I buy organic and end up with half a pound of pesticide-free, super-tasty apples, or should I spend less money and take home a dozen apples that aren't organic?"

Often, the decision is made by necessity. If you can’t afford an organic product, you’re not going to buy it, even if you prefer it. But if you had the choice, knew the facts, and had the resources, you’d probably always choose quality over quantity. Still... amassing a large quantity of anything has ostensible allure.

The same is true when it comes to Facebook fans. Having a ton of them seems like a great thing. But let’s look closely at the quantity versus quality debate in this case.

Definitions of Fan and Advocate

First, let’s establish the two camps when it comes to boosting your brand worth: Facebook fans and brand advocates. The two are not necessarily mutually exclusive, but they are different.

A Facebook Fan:

  • "Likes" your page

  • Probably doesn’t promote your brand in any measureable way

  • Runs the gamut from completely inactive in terms of promoting your brand to being an active influencer

A brand advocate:

  • Actively promotes your brand

  • Brings in new business

  • Writes reviews

  • Publishes testimonials

  • Talks online and offline about your brand

  • Acts as a volunteer marketer for your products

Again, having fans is not a bad thing---far from it! But having a huge number of Facebook fans is about quantity; having a group of brand advocates is about quality. Advocates are generally agreed to be worth two-and-a-half times more than an average customer.

The good news is that many of your Facebook fans can become your brand advocates.

Turn Fans Into Brand Advocates

You’ve got to activate your fans to become brand advocates. Activating your advocates requires that you do the following.

1.) Present your Facebook Fans with opportunities. Take a look at every way in which new customers interact with you---not just your fans on Facebook. You can create various communication strategies that reach potential advocates where they already are---purchasing products, checking their email, visiting your website, or contacting your call center. The possibilities are endless.

2.) Empower your advocates to refer other folks. Give your advocates the tools to take action online and offline through multiple channels. In just a few clicks, advocates can upload their contacts from any major email provider or post on any social network using templates you provide. Offline, advocates can keep referral cards in their wallet, hand out brochures at the front desk of their businesses, or send offers through SMS texts. All those methods spread brand awareness, generate high open rates, click-throughs, and impressions. They also prompt your fans to take action and become advocates.

Nurture your new advocates.
Acknowledging and thanking your new advocates is a surefire way to keep them satisfied and energized. You can provide your advocates with status updates throughout the process, send them targeted opportunities based on what you know about them, reward them with or without incentives (even a simple thank-you note can be motivating), and provide strong and consistent customer service.

Track and manage your advocate relationships.
Now that you’ve converted your fans into your advocates, you’ll need the technology to track and manage those relationships. Partner with a company that can provide key metrics that keep the momentum, such as web analytics, referral action and frequency, and customized reports.

Sure, we all want our investments to yield the sweetest high-quality fruit. But to get there, we need to active and nurture our advocates---only then can we see the benefits of our time and efforts.

(Photo courtesy of Bigstock: Child in Superhero Suit)

Theresa Trevor is the creative director of Amplifinity, a technology company that creates word-of-mouth and brand-advocacy programs for enterprise-class clients.

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  • by Gary Bembridge Thu Apr 5, 2012 via blog

    Great article and thought provoking. As you say, advocates are the key. A group of passionate lovers of your product/ service that are out actively recommending it. As we see growing distrust in traditional advertising, and the fact that people tend to trust their friends and those online they trust - this is becoming more and more important as people research, engage and even buy online.

  • by Gina Thu Apr 5, 2012 via blog

    We've seen success from our clients in nurturing fans and customers into advocates by engaging with them directly in a personalized way. When "community" spans more than just Facebook, like on your own site, it can be personalized and very engaging. This is magnified when companies reward and encourage engagement through the use of game mechanics. Customer are rewarded for their influence and develop a stronger sense of loyalty to the brand.

  • by Theresa Trevor Thu Apr 5, 2012 via blog

    We've found this to be true over and over again at Amplifinity too - people crave personalization in this day of automation. I think that, long-term, this will be the way not only to gain customers, but to keep them coming back. Thanks for reading!

  • by Theresa Trevor Thu Apr 5, 2012 via blog

    Absolutely, Gary. It's a changing consumer climate out there, and companies have to keep up if they are going to succeed.
    Thanks for your comment!

  • by Jane Finette Thu Apr 5, 2012 via blog

    Theresa, super article. Very much enjoyed reading and truly believe brands need to really take social engagement seriously beyond simply amassing fans. We've spent a great deal of time working on this at Mozilla Firefox; as a non profit with small budgets word of mouth marketing is key. We have several brand advocacy programs everything from an affiliates program, student reps, marketing volunteers reps, we even have people who volunteer to translate our social posts and newsletters into their language.

    At the other end of the spectrum, encouraging customers to take small regular actions on Facebook to share your news, tips and fun engaging content can really make a difference. I just wrote about this on my blog referring to your article:

    Thanks for your insights -- super valuable.

  • by Theresa Trevor Fri Apr 6, 2012 via blog

    Thanks so much, Jane. And you are so right about encouraging customers to take small actions - great point. Thanks for reading and sharing on your blog! Theresa

  • by Melva Mcrill Mon May 7, 2012 via blog

    Me, I really wishing I could write as you do, you are welcome to write more as you have a true fan here

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