Having a brand advocacy program is the most effective and cost-efficient way to drive organic growth in your marketing efforts. Getting your most loyal, engaged users to advocate for your brand is not only a guaranteed way to drive user acquisition but user retention too.
On average, power users are 5X more valuable and spend at least 2X as much as average users. Leveraging top users to create user-generated content, provide feedback, and refer friends is a reliable way to keep power users engaged and active. But what exactly is an advocacy program, and how do you create one that works? Let’s take a look at its essential elements.
Creating a Brand Advocacy Program
1. Set Goals
First off, any successful program needs a goal. Ask yourself what the outcome is for your marketing efforts. Whether it be acquiring more users or raising brand awareness, try and get specific by putting a number to it. Having a goal in mind can give you and your business a measurable metric to work towards, so you know you’re hitting the mark or not.
2. Identify Power Users
Knowing who your power users are is just as valuable, if not more valuable, than leveraging them. Users with the most potential are usually the ones who are already engaging with your brand. Whether that be on social media or off, you can identify power users through their behaviors, like providing feedback, referring friends, or praising you online. Identify these users and begin building relationships with them – they’re your brand’s most valuable asset.
3. Engage and Share the Success
Start to engage with those who engage you. If this doesn’t happen organically, you can incentivize them to get involved through reward programs using points, gifts, or special offers created exclusively for them. When you strategize about how to engage your key users, think out of the box and get creative. There are many tools you can use to start a conversation with them and get them active in engaging with your brand. By giving users an outlet to express themselves, you’re showing them their unique voice and perspective is valued, and the content they create is too.
4. Create exclusivity
Your most valued users need to feel valued, so don’t just treat them like any old run of the mill user. Nurture a personal relationship with them that’s built on trust and open communication. This will help your most special users feel, well, special. Make sure your power users know this by reminding them of the value they are providing and the mutual benefit of the relationship you are co-creating.
If you show users they are appreciated and recognized, they’ll return the favor by strengthening their loyalty and becoming strong brand advocates. Developing a hierarchy to advocacy involvement can also help create an environment of exclusivity to your program that’s even more appealing. Give these users the ability to use new features first, invitations to special events, and exclusive behind the scenes access.
Once your power users are activated, engaged and sharing, why not take things a step further? Leverage the content and value they provide by sharing their message beyond social in ads, endorsements, and digital environments like websites and forums. Help them get their message further by amplifying their voices across your channels and platforms.
6. Measure Impact
Whether you’re building your advocacy program using tools like innercircle or a simple Google Spreadsheet, ensure you have the tools you need to track and measure the impact of your advocacy efforts. After all, why invest time and money into campaigns that you’re unsure are paying off? Some simple metrics and questions you should be looking at are:
- Who are the most influential members?
- Who creates original content?
- What content is being shared the most?
- Who shares your content?
- What’s being said when the content is shared?
- What ROI is being driven by your advocacy efforts?
Activate, Nurture, Repeat
Keep in mind your advocacy program isn’t a quick win but there are ways to get started tomorrow. A great advocacy program should strategize for the long haul. Think about how to keep your relationships fresh and engaged, and continue to promote evergreen content your top users generate. Show your users you really care and they’ll reward you back with loyalty and a strong commitment to your brand and product.
Leverage Advocacy Platforms Built for SMBs
To get the most out of your advocacy efforts at scale, use tools like innercircle to help you launch and manage your campaigns in days instead of months. Choose from 25 pre-built campaign templates, or make one of your own from scratch to fit whatever your needs are. It’s perfect for any-sized business and gives you the power to connect with users in an authentic, automated and affordable way.