Brands love having celebrities and social media gurus in their corner, but it’s the everyday fans and customers who ultimately make or break a brand.

Creating brand advocates should be a significant part of your social media efforts. Every brand wants large numbers of followers and fans promoting them on social channels, but few companies are willing to get out of their own way and do what it takes to gain true advocacy.

It’s about developing relationships. Continually, companies build elaborate social profiles and develop advertising campaigns with the hopes of gaining more fans. We often see this with companies that simply do not have a social media strategy… and then they wonder why no one spreads the word about their brand.

What does it take to turn followers of your brand into advocates?

It’s about getting personal and reaching people.

First of all you should gain an understanding of why people should care about your company or product, stand up for you or share their experiences. To figure this out, turn it around and ask yourself the same question about brands you like; the ones you tell your friends about. You will likely think; it was a good product, your like what they stand for, they treated you well and were responsive to your needs.

Most marketers are focused on trying to assign a dollar value to each Facebook fan or Twitter follower instead of paying attention to the fact that, without the brand engagement and interaction that takes place in these mediums, the value of each user is greatly diminished. With a precise Social media strategy of what you exactly want to achieve, combined with the knowledge around personal brand connection, customers will indeed buy more and promote your brand.

Building advocacy means offering something more compelling than a nice Facebook page or Twitter profile. When your customers find you via social, they’re looking for an opportunity to build an emotional connection.

How to encourage brand emotion

Respond promptly to messages or customer feedback, make an effort to reach out and thank individuals for sharing your content, be transparent and appreciate your customers. Like any friendship, brand advocacy is not a numbers game, it’s the natural byproduct of developing good relationships, providing great consistent service, and delivering on your brand promise. Give your audience an experience that stands out, don’t be too routine and stand out from the competition! Make it a part of your culture and brand DNA to be social and engaging.

When you have found your brand advocates, make sure they’re heard. Brand advocates deserve to be recognized.

Here is an infographic about brand advocacy:

brand-advocates-social-media-infographic-vancouver

By Rachelle Hynes