While exploring different methods of marketing your business you may come across the term influencer marketing. Most small businesses dismiss this as something only the big companies do but even small businesses can do it.
However, there could be a better method than influencer marketing. Brand advocacy is something similar but differs in a couple of ways from influencer marketing.
What is a brand advocate?
Brand advocates, unlike influencers, are genuine users or customers of your business. A relationship with an influencer is a clear transaction. You pay them and they promote your business. With a brand advocate, it isn’t necessarily about the money.
Brand advocates are already customers of your business who are happy to tell others about their experience.
How can brand advocates benefit your business?
Brand advocates and influencers are effective marketing tools because they offer personalised recommendations to others. People are far more likely to use a product or service if it has been recommended to them by someone trustworthy.
However, we’ve got to the point where even influencers are seen with a certain level of scepticism. We all know how it works now and so the recommendation will always feel a bit less than genuine.
With brand advocates, as these are already customers with real experiences, the recommendation holds a bit more weight.
Where can you find a brand advocate?
The first stop to find a brand advocate is to dive into your customer data. If you have salespeople, you should speak with them to find customers who are especially happy with the service and then contact them yourself to ask for a review.
If someone leaves glowing feedback about your business, it could be worth approaching them over a brand advocate deal. In some cases you can even find customers with negative reviews, resolve them and hopefully turn them into happy customers.
It’s definitely worth keeping an eye on your social media accounts to try and identify potential brand partners. Is there someone who regularly interacts with your posts or shares them a lot? Perhaps they would be willing to help you promote your business a little more.
How do you approach a potential brand advocate?
The first step is to make a personal connection. If you’ve found them on social media, spend some time responding to their messages or send them a direct message thanking them for the support.
Sometimes an upfront email is best. Make sure you say you’re grateful for the support or customer reviews and ask them how they feel about becoming a brand advocate.
Even if a brand advocate is happy to give you a shoutout on Twitter, it’s nice to offer them something in return for their time. Perhaps a freebie or a discount on future purchases could be a way to say thank you.
When to use brand advocates
If you have a couple of interested people on board, the next step is to integrate them into your marketing. Ways you can get the most out of your brand advocates include:
Deals and discounts
If you are running a discount on purchases, reach out to your brand advocates to let them know and ask them to share it with people they know or on social media. This will benefit the brand advocate because they can get some money off and it will also benefit those they share it with.
If you sell products, give your brand advocates a freebie which they will hopefully share their experiences over social media or on a blog or Youtube channel if they have one.
Working with a brand advocate doesn’t have to be overly complicated but it’s important not to ask for too much. You can’t expect them to spend too much time promoting your business for you but every little shoutout or retweet helps.
Have you ever used a brand advocate or influencer marketing? What was your experience like? Let us know your thoughts below.