A few of your audience and customers will not only follow you or be your avid reader and buy your products. They will also become your brand advocates. These are people who love your products or services and have put their faith and money in you no matter what. These are people who find you so friendly that they don’t mind returning the favor by telling everyone they know about you. They are your brand advocates.
A brand advocate is different from an advertiser in the simple sense that you don’t compensate them with money. Rather, you just got their trust. These people will be your voice, and they will defend your brand from bad criticism.
Brand advocates are also different from influencers. Influencers are not necessarily your customers. They may not even be part of your audience. But they are key people on social media that can carry your message across a larger audience. Then again, a brand advocate and an influencer can be the same person, and this becomes an important stage in influencer marketing wherein you’re able to market through and with an influencer.
You may not want to dismiss the importance of advocates, despite their limited reach compared to influencers and advertisers. 84% of customers take recommendations from friends and family members acting as brand advocates. In essence, brand advocacy is word-of-mouth marketing, the oldest way of marketing. It still works! In fact, it works much more effectively than traditional advertising.
Now the question is, how do you convert customers to brand advocates?
Reliable customer service is everything
Customer support is a tricky area of the business that should not be neglected. This is your opportunity to build loyalty. The relationship you build with them doesn’t end once a purchase is made. It’s just the beginning. How well you treat them after a sale is made determines how they treat you in return if they come back at all.
Appropriate customer support is consumer-centered, courteous, honest, and helpful. Consumers encounter issues with the products or the service. They may encounter issues with your site. They may have concerns and questions. They want to hear from you regarding their problems. They won’t bother sending you a message or posting on your page if they think you’re not that relevant.
Now in making sure you get the appropriate customer support, you have to invest in training your team. Your customer support team should be trained in handling a wide range of queries and complaints, showing respect, making honest responses, and providing helpful solutions.
Good social media skills earn you advocates
Social media skills are crucial whether you’re into content or influencer marketing. Companies are now relying on social media to not only create brand loyalty but also encourage brand advocacy. The most important reason is the cost. You can’t find a cheaper alternative to social media as a platform for digital marketing.
Social media doesn’t only offer an inexpensive platform where you can do marketing. It also gives you a broad reach. That means you can talk to and serve a wider audience. As you get up close and personal with your followers, you get to know their common issues. Addressing their common concerns earns you their approval. They will think you care about them. That solidifies your relationship with them.
A little over half of customers write complaints on social media pages of brands in general. But two-thirds of users aren’t just for complaints, but suggestions. We know from experience and observation how much satisfied customers are willing to post positive feedback. More people are willing to share their good experiences with your business once you have built rapport with them.
An important social media activity you should do is ask for feedback. Initiate surveys or polls. Ask questions. Talk to your audience.
Customers need assurance
Customers expect that you’ll do something about their feedback. When they ask questions, they expect an answer. When they raise a concern, they expect you to tell them you’ll do something about it. When they complain about your product or service, they expect you to make improvements. When they see you improving your service or brand as the months wear on, they will start having a positive opinion about you. That positive opinion is one thing you shouldn’t only encourage but also nurture.
Responsiveness is a key
The hugest mistake to make on social media is to delay responses. People online are always busy hopping from one post to another and checking one app after the other. This online behavior contributes to the ever decreasing attention span among young people, basically much of the buying class. No one likes to wait for an hour before getting a response. In today’s cyber bustle, long waiting inspires ire. Time between posting a message and getting a reply tells the difference between a satisfied customer and a lost opportunity.
Make business easy
This again has to do with the current norm in online behavior. People want to expedite things. Why make buyers click 5 times when 1 or 2 clicks will do? We don’t want to bother our customers with our own versions of thoroughness.
If you noticed anything, building brand advocacy has to do with one important factor: happiness. Satisfied customers are happy customers, and happy customers have a greater likelihood of coming back and telling other people about you. Well, unhappy customers may also tell people about you — they’ll tell them to avoid you.
As a matter of fact, brand advocacy is about providing value, something you should do whether you’re writing content or implementing influencer marketing.