A brand advocate, as defined by Webopedia, is “a person, or customer who talks favorably about a brand or product, and then passes on positive word-of-mouth (WOM) messages about the brand to other people.”
The more brand advocates you have, the more WOM you’re generating. Word-of-mouth advertising is perhaps the most powerful form of advertising you can get. It’s like the holy grail. These are the people that are so entrenched in your brand that it’s become a part of their lifestyle. Spreading the good word about your products or services is an activity they’re more than happy to take part in.
So how do you create these brand advocates and get that oh-so-valuable WOM? Here’s a few ways to do it.
Know your brand and know your customers. In order to identify what sort of people might become advocates for your brand, you need to have a firm understanding of your brand identity. Once you understand what makes your brand tick, you’ll be able to figure out how you’re going to engage the people that will evangelize your products/services.
Leverage reciprocity. As defined by Wikipedia, reciprocity “is a social norm of responding to a positive action with another positive action, rewarding kind actions.” It’s the psychological trigger that goes off in our heads when someone does something nice for us, inclining us to return the favor. Smart marketers have been using reciprocity for ages, and you can too. Offering freebies or samples can go a long way in fostering customer goodwill.
Reward your most loyal customers. Brand advocates feel like they’re a part of something bigger. It’s at that point where loyalty develops. Want to foster loyalty? Reward your best customers. Make use of a loyalty program.
Keep customers engaged. Even your most loyal customers and strongest brand advocates need to be engaged with. It’s all about mindshare. You need to keep them thinking about you. Not constantly, but consistently enough. Get them involved in your brand through social media. Leverage your loyalty program to keep in touch with your customers. Build a relationship that’s going to keep people talking.
Make customer service a priority. Great service shows that your brand cares. When a customer has an excellent service experience, they’ll remember it for a long time.
Create a more likable, value-driven brand. Not only do people want to talk about brands they like, they want to talk about brands that represent their values. An awesome way to go about doing this is give to charities or holding fundraisers for causes that relate to your brand’s core values.
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How does your business create brand advocates? Sound off in the comments!