Let us start off with a brief description to customer advocacy– well, it is not a difficult term to understand, however, it is undeniably the most important term a business has to focus upon! It is that part of your business which will help you increase your brand power and will ultimately usher in a conspicuous amount of conversion in your goodwill as well as your monetary outlook. Nowadays, a business should take customer advocacy programs, and employ a great team of executives who are willing to engage on the various social media platforms with great enthusiasm and interest to discover who, where, how and why are the people buying and appreciating your products and services.
“Get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need well before they realize it themselves.” – Steve Jobs
Can you now surmise the importance of customer advocacy? I believe you are pretty convinced!
Just have a look at these key ingredients that will help you sail your ship smoothly on this huge ocean of business:
Get efficient crew members
You should make sure that your customer advocacy crew should be interested and efficient enough in the field of social media, consumer behavior and managing customer relationships. Evaluate them on the basis of the most relevant parameter for this job profile, so that, they are naturally inclined towards researching and observing social media graph without being tensed about it. It’s important to see that they are interested in this area mostly by default. This is the very ground to initiate a successful program that naturally flows.
Create social media accounts
Nowadays, everybody has a social media account- companies and individuals. You would be having a website as well, however, this is not enough. Yes, you heard me right. Create your pages on Instagram and Facebook and other social media platforms and interact with the consumers in the most direct way. Guide your customer advocacy executives to follow specific hash tags on particularly Instagram accounts that includes the general name of the products or services or your brand name itself. You will be flooded with posts based on these names- it would probably be overwhelming for you if the results are in favor of your brand. Use keywords including your brand name to stumble upon blogs spreading some good things about you. Interact with the consumers by liking or commenting on their posts. Fill up your own social media page with the latest updated goods and services and tag individuals or groups who have significantly spoken about your brand. Tagging is substantially possible on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
Now that you have built your army of customer advocacy executives and have built your own customized social account, you should get them to do all the necessary researches and surveys needed to know about all those individuals or groups who’ve been talking about your brand on various social media platforms, right from Instagram, twitter, to Facebook and online blogs etc. It is essential to conduct a thorough research on these specific people because they are ultimately your customer advocates who have been weaving beautiful tales around your products and services. Isn’t that actually great for your good will? Undoubtingly, yes! You haven’t been even paying them for this and they are already that reason behind most, or, some of your sales at least. You cannot afford to miss them at all!
Celebrate your customer advocates
Celebrating your customer advocates should be one of the foremost aims of all your customer advocacy programs. Customer surveys have shown that even a 12 percent upgrade in the customer advocates have doubled the sales of a company (Influitive). You need to make sure that your customer advocacy crew takes the best steps to let these advocates know that you value their efforts and your business is actually making valuable gains from their kind gestures by sending them little but meaningful hampers or a written acknowledgements. Hold events or conferences dedicated just to them. These people include, bloggers or individual social media account owners who make the time and the effort to make your brand appealing and you know what? Almost 92 percent of the consumers (Neilsen Advertising Global Report, 2012) tend to listen to their opinions because they present the products and services in a much more relatable way than most of your campaigns. Their opinions appear to be true and immediate.
Create a niche
The customers are largely spread all over the social media platforms and the one common thing which your company is interested in is their interest in your brand. It would be a worthwhile step for your customer advocacy team to create a significant niche for them online and even offline- that common zone where they can discuss and share their love for your brand. You might think why should you be the one to take this initiative? The answer is simply, why not? They are shouting out for you and you should bring them together and make them voice their opinions more effectively. However, do not back out from hearing their issues and opinions on how can a particular product or service be improved or enhanced- you obviously want to keep a check on both the threats and opportunities because that is what a business is! Threats might just make you cringe a little but need to be tracked, wondering why? Because the genuine threats are there to tell you about where you need to improve and this space is extremely necessary to keep growing.
Customize the niche
Ask your customer advocacy team to customize the niche that they create- give an interesting name to the group, assign a signature design to the forum where they meet or if it is offline, keep your display boards and your place cards specific and personalized. Create customized goods for them, bestow them with notepads and badges with their and your brands’ initials whenever they show up in the conferences held especially for their efforts- buck up and be a little more creative! Make them feel like they matter because they actually do. You would obviously be knowing what is best for your business, however, don’t push your needs towards them and do not burden them by being too cheesy. Keep it simple and significant because they already love your brand, your work is to nurture their interest in you rather than forcing them to hold on to you- nothing works well in this way not even business. Their word of mouth is very vital for your company! You think that this is catching up an emotional track, well, just think about why you started your own company! Statistics matter but what is the use of creating something that does not touch someone’s mind or heart. Take my word, a great customer advocacy program is going to get you sales and some genuine love for your brand!
“The way to a customer’s heart is much more than a loyalty program. Making customer evangelists is about creating experiences worth talking about.” – Valeria Maltoni
Your company definitely spends quite a fancy amount on advertisements while launching your products and at specific times when you upgrade them. Now just imagine, there are some customer advocates (I am sure by now you know whom I am referring to here) who create content for your products just because they look good in them, or feel that they are worthwhile- they personally spend on make-up artists, photographers, graphic designers, videographers, hash tag them with the right words, put in the appropriate keywords etc. and most importantly put in their precious time! I have written about some ways to celebrate and pamper them and over here, I am giving you an insight on why your customer advocacy team should think about paying some of these advocates. You do not need to get into paid partnerships with every one of them because you have obviously done something right to earn their admiration, however, there are some exceptional people out there who not only help you advertise your products but are well equipped with how SEO works and they understand the concept of creating significant traffic. They are genuinely helping you in marketing and positively affecting your return on investments. Aren’t these one of your goals? As a business, you have to invest on quite a number of other secondary businesses to help you accelerate your business goals and some of these talented customer advocates are worth your trust and investment.
Regular follow up
It does not make any sense to leave something like customer advocacy in the middle, and especially, after putting in all the necessary efforts to create yourself a social media presence, researching about your consumers, discovering your customer advocates, pampering them, building a platform for them to meet up (online and offline), customizing their platforms etc. It takes a lot of effort to do all these and you are surely going to end up losing in a big way if your team fails to regularly follow up on their progress. You should keep your crew motivated enough to keep doing whatever they are already doing, no matter how circular it may seem to them- agreed that it is circular, and seldom do people wish to go round and round, but, your team should realize that, no matter how repetitive the process, the statistics are always different. Your graph will not take much time to climb up or slide down based on your efforts to maintain whatever is already built. Pamper your advocacy team as well- make them applaud the best individual or group of executives, thank them for their efforts- thank you is indeed magical!
“Every contact we have with a customer influences whether or not they’ll come back. We have to be great every time or we’ll lose them.” – Kevin Stirtz
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The ultimate goal of a business is to make a significant place in the business world and implement ways to keep holding on to that position and grow in quality and quantity day by day. You should make sure that you place your core intention on building goods and services which people genuinely love and can use them in making their life easier or more valuable. Consumers have become very aware of their needs and they want quality and quantity both. And please be aware that, when they think, shoes! Or any other products or services, a million of them would pop up on the search engines. However, if you take care of your business perseveringly and spend quality time and quality investment on your customer relationship management including the customer advocacy programs, then, it would conspicuously ease your journey in a practical way. There may be some tactics which never seem to work out but trust the vibes of a customer-company relationship for once and strengthen your customer advocacy team to implement those necessary methods to bridge the gap between you and your customers.
Go ahead and engage with your consumers effectively. I know it is not possible to go door to door or get in touch with every genuine customer. There might even be people who buy your products regularly but are not socially active and there is not much you can do to engage with them on online platforms but they obviously use emails, so keep in touch with them through your personalized emails.
There are numerous tools that help you analyze consumer and market trends, your work is to find them and utilize them in the best possible manner.
Trust in the powers that lies within a great customer advocacy and help your business make worthwhile decisions and up gradations to grow and prosper.
Also read on: 6 Amazing tricks to generate more referral traffic