A brand advocate is someone you might run across on the Internet who’s effusively promoting a particular company or business. And if perhaps some of those advocates appear to be nothing but spammers on message boards, they aren’t all that way. Plenty of high quality brand advocates are out there who use more appropriate online tools to get the word out about a business. Who are these people, though? Are they getting paid?
The answers to the above two questions might surprise you when a small business asks specific customers to become brand advocates. And what they do in that role makes the difference in whether it’s worth all the effort.
What Makes for a Typical Brand Advocate?
A brand advocate will be one of your loyal customers who knows that your business is superior to any competitors. These denizens are usually willing to sing your business’s praises everywhere they go without requiring your blessing. They’re also the best people to approach if you’re actively seeking out brand advocates.
Through some eyes, seeing such effusive praise for a business online looks suspiciously like a compensated endeavor. In truth, a brand advocate should never be paid to make it legitimate. If word ever gets out that brand advocates are getting compensated, then few will ever take any positive statements about your business seriously.
Regardless, as free form as it is, should you give some pointers to your brand advocates to approach their advocacy in strategic ways?
Creating a Community of Information
If you have to give any advice to the brand advocates, it should be to engage appropriate conversation with others to try your business. That can work through a conversation with strangers in another store or through a casual conversation with friends. In the social media world, connections are limitless with opportunities to work in conversations about your business without appearing obvious.
This sense of community can get word of mouth going, which still has more power than you think in such a wired world. It also sets a mindset about your brand through the Internet that can help shape your brand far into the future.
Should You Attempt to Convert Negative Customers to Advocates?
Your existing brand advocates will attempt to change the mind of those who might have an opposite opinion about your business. Conversely, you might be able to bring in new brand advocates based on changes you made after an initial customer complaint. That’s why you should scope out negative reviews online or survey customers to determine what they don’t like about your customer service or products.
Quick action on fixing those issues will likely impress those who initially complained. They may align in your corner for being a business that truly cares about their customers.
Should You Still Reward Brand Advocates for their Hard Work?
Money should always be out of the equation in rewarding these very loyal customers. Nevertheless, giving them discounts and free products are mandatory as a return favor for their unpaid advocating work. There’s nothing worse than not rewarding them for the time they put in.
Remember to keep track of every one of your brand advocates. Otherwise, your busy schedule could mean ignoring them by accident and potentially causing quick misconceptions.