Learn everything you need to know about brand advocacy, being a brand advocate, why it matters, and what you can do to amplify your brand.
When it comes to marketing strategies and creating a good plan to grow your business, branding is and should be part of any plan.
Of course, when initiating and engaging your marketing efforts, brand visibility is usually being developed by company content, social sharing, advertising, and other marketing initiatives.
Yet, even after all those marketing activities and push, branding can still be completely lackluster for your company.
Cue in brand advocacy to help.
Why Brand Advocacy?
It’s pretty frustrating when your organization is lost in the brand noise among competitors. And without brand visibility, it doesn’t matter how great your product or service is because no one knows who your company is or why it matters.
That’s why a larger effort needs to be focused in this space.
I know what you might be thinking.
Just when you think marketing and growing a company could not get more challenging, there is another piece that your teams need to focus on.
This, however, will continue with the power of the internet and emerging technologies that shift the way your company becomes a recognizable brand.
And without having a solid brand strategy that compliments your company marketing efforts, you’re basically a hidden asset hoping for attention and that someone will notice your brand.
This is why brand advocacy is a key aspect to large and growing organizations. In order to understand why this matters for your company, it’s important to cover what brand advocacy is and define some key elements.
What Is Brand Advocacy? The Definition
You can probably take a solid educated guess at what brand advocacy is, but it’s important for us to have a clear definition to keep everyone on the same page.
Brand Advocacy simply means that people who love your brand will continue to support your company and promote your services or products to new customers organically.
Thus, helping your brand become visible to larger audiences and increase revenue without having to spend on advertising or other traditional marketing initiatives.
Now, of course, other marketing efforts like paid advertising can boost your company brand as well, but it can be seen as a compliment to your advocacy efforts.
Focusing on brand strategies can help save your company advertising money. Instead of spending so much money for those paid placements, you let people handle the marketing of your brand in an organic way.
The reason it’s important to get people supporting and pushing your brand is that people generally trust recommendations and content from colleagues, family, and friends over other forms of marketing.
According to statistics, 92% of online consumers trust recommendations from their social circles.
So while traditional marketing will still work on your audiences, people like and trust the familiar human touch over large or corporate companies promoting their own services or product.
Additionally, a main aspect of brand advocacy is finding your dedicated advocates of your brand and then ensuring the advocacy continues by nurturing their success.
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What Is A Brand Advocate?
So now that you understand the definition, we move on to the brand advocates themselves.
A brand advocate is a customer or employee of a business who proactively shares about the company to their networks via social, word of mouth, email, or through content without any incentive other than their love for the brand.
You may have also seen or heard the term “brand ambassador,” which is a pretty interchangeable meaning with a brand advocate.
But a brand advocate or “brand ambassador” will rep your brand, show support, and even influence the buying habits of others.
Customers or your clients are the most important part of brand advocacy and are your biggest cheerleaders.
If they chose your product or services and love your company, they will go above and beyond recommending you to others.
They trust your company and the value you provide them, thus helping you increase your brand and revenue growth.
It’s a big part of how EveryoneSocial started growing initially.
We ensure our clients love our product and we value customer success, which then leads those clients to recommend us to other companies they have contact with.
Additionally, when employees leave for another company, we’ve had quite a few recommend us to their new company as well and generated new business.
This is exactly why your customers or clients are a major part of brand advocacy.
However, without a great product and building a trust with your customers, you won’t be building your brand naturally. It’s one reason we focus heavily on our customer happiness and value their feedback so much at EveryoneSocial.
Over the years, employees have also been even more of a focus to brand and marketing strategies.
Just like the stat mentioned in the intro; people trust friends, colleagues, and family over anything other forms of marketing.
If employees are sharing content and consistently championing the company they work for, it can reach more businesses and people.
Your employees help the brand and messaging grow exponentially, while also turning your employees into thought leaders and knowledge magnets.
A win-win situation for employees and the company.
This is what we call employee advocacy, which is an extension of brand advocacy.
79% of firms surveyed reported more online visibility after the implementation of a formal employee advocacy program. 65% reported increased brand recognition. (Hinge Marketing)
Why Brand Advocacy Matters For Your Company
By now you have a clear definition, who can be brand advocates, and you’re probably seeing why it is important for your business.
Yet, here are just a few reasons that brand advocacy needs to be a major inclusion to your business and marketing strategies.
Grows the brand visibility organically – As slightly mentioned above, brand advocacy contributes to the brand growth in a more natural way. Instead of spending thousands on advertising alone, you have advocates getting your company message out with little effort. Pending the size of your company, this can be an exponential increase.
Shows how good your product/services are – Because people trust other people more than corporate messages, your brand becomes more valued. People trust customers over corporate leaders, and people also trust the insight from employees that share educational content, industry content, and work culture. These things combined are going to generate more business, generate interest from top talent, and more people wanting to use your organizations’ product or services.
Media and publications take notice – When more people are talking about your brand, publications, and news outlets take notice. Now your company has more opportunities to get mentioned in articles or news pieces naturally. That opens your brand to even larger audiences and again boosts marketing reach.
Brand Advocates have a broader reach – Focusing on your brand advocates helps you drive more business. Here’s something that sets brand advocates apart from the crowd: advocates are 3x more likely to share brand information with someone they don’t know. (Social Media Examiner).
Frees more time for other company initiatives – When you have an army of employees and consumers constantly sharing your brand, it frees company time to focus on other aspects of the business. Maybe more free time for marketing to try new things, executives can focus on new divisions, PR teams working less on paid placements or dealing with negative news, etc.
Yet, before you focus all your efforts on brand advocates, your company culture, product/services, and environment need to be in a good space.
- If your culture is bad, why would employees advocate on your company’s behalf?
- If your product or services are awful, why would any consumers want to share positively about your company to their networks?
Your company needs to build a trusted environment that employees are proud to share and a product that consumers love to talk about.
It’s important to always remember: without your employees and customers, your business goes nowhere.
Building great products, providing awesome service, establishing an authentic work culture will make it easier for your brand to grow.
How Brand Advocacy Software Helps
In order to keep make sure brand advocacy continues to be nurtured and valued, there are a few software platforms that help businesses achieve their brand goals.
A brand advocacy program tends to be focused on either two areas (although some platforms can do both):
- Employee advocacy
- Customer/consumer advocacy
Yet, the value of these platforms is simple: it creates an easier way for companies to nurture the success of their loyal brand advocates while driving web traffic, brand visibility, and helping close larger and more deals.
The best way to describe this type of software is what G2 states:
“The software can be used to help acquire new customers, develop brand identity, and engage loyal users. These goals are accomplished in a few ways. Some brand advocacy software programs use tracking codes to create customer referral programs which can be monitored from a dashboard. Others feature platforms that simplify the process for users to share a company’s content and marketing narratives, in some cases rewarding them for every share.”
Depending on what your company focus will be, you can choose which features are most important to you and decide if employee advocacy or consumer advocacy is the appropriate direction.
Want to see how EveryoneSocial can amplify your brand advocacy initiatives and turn your workforce into a social media powerhouse? Schedule a personal demo here.
Putting the focus on your company brand is not a new concept, but the idea and concept of brand advocacy is still relatively new.
Many companies are already heavily engaged in brand advocacy, but a vast majority still do not consider this a top strategy to be implemented.
However, focusing on your company brand should be a priority when developing strategies and will complement your marketing efforts perfectly.
Brand advocacy helps your employees and customers bring attention to your brand and they have a much stronger connection to their networks, which would be valuable to your company.
Luckily, most companies have employees and customers who are already advocating and others who would be also interested in doing so on behalf of the company.
Yet, in order for brand advocacy to work, you want to make sure your company continues providing a great work environment, a solid product, and are dedicated to employee and customer happiness.
Additionally, your brand initiatives can be amplified with a platform that will make it easier and ensures it nurtures your advocate’s success.