More and more we are hearing of ‘communities’ on social media, with big brands creating campaigns to build that community following. Examples such as; giving offers to regular users or members, or using content generated by that community to promote their brand. A community on Social Media works really well because each member is an equal – there isn’t a brand speaking down to the followers. Instead, everyone speaks the same voice and through a community, the members can promote the brand or product that is being discussed.
We all respond better to our friends or family telling us how great a product or a venue is, over the product or venue telling us themselves, so it makes sense to attract advocates who will shout about you, instead of you having to do it yourself. These advocates will then spread your message beyond your reach to all of their own networks, or communities.
Advocate marketing is different from influencer marketing, as you are building relationships with current customers who then promote you to their contacts. Stats show that only 18% of the general public trust influencers whereas an enormous 92% trust advocates, so you can’t afford to ignore nurturing these advocates.
So, how about some stats?
- Marketing-induced Consumer-to-consumer word of mouth generates 2x more than the sales of paid advertising
- Customers referred by other customers have a 37% higher retention rate
- 25% of people choose to engage with brands because they want to join the community of brand fans
- 73% of millennials feel it is their responsibility to help friends and family make smart purchase decisions
- When it comes to community size, 54% of consumers agree that the smaller the community the greater the influence
So the first place to start your advocate marketing is within your community.
It is a move away from the advertising and promoting that businesses are used to, and it can be a tricky thing to master. So how can you become involved in a community, or even better – create your own, and build your own advocates?
Above all, it is about trust. Think about how you build your relationships offline. As you know, building a valuable connection is a slow process, building engagement and keeping regular communication. It has to be reciprocal and it has to involve listening to what is being said within your industry.
Firstly, you need to decide what the purpose of your listening is;
- Are you building community for your brand?
- Are you wanting to form your own community?
- Are you wanting to join a community?
Who are the people you are trying to attract?
- Do you already know?
- Where are they?
- Can you speak to them?
- Are you already engaged?
To build a strong community on social media, make sure that communication goes both ways. Let your community share ideas and feedback with you, and share useful information with them.
Over the next few blogs we will be exploring different ways to build communities within your social media activity and therefore build your own brand advocates. Next time we will look at Facebook groups.