Customer Advocacy isn’t always easy. Customers don’t just go off telling everyone how much they love your business. It would be fantastic if they did. Wouldn’t it?
Of course, it would. The good news is there is a way to drive word of mouth marketing even in these weird digital times. The answer is to create “WOW” moments in the buyer and customer journeys that drive customers towards advocacy.
We define a customer advocate as a happy customer who just can’t shut up about your business. ;)
Customer advocacy is one of the best ways to grow your business. In this article, I share some tips to keep in mind when improving your customer advocacy efforts.
Planning is excellent, but the execution is where the magic happens. Your strategy should include proper planning and deployment of the necessary tactics in each of the engagement focus areas. Engagement is a part of your marketing strategy, which activates Customer Advocates to help educate potential customers about your company.
Learn what customer advocacy is and why your customers are not your advocates. Start by implementing these five quick tips:
Traditionally, brands celebrate their accomplishments with brand advocates. You can choose to activate advocates with Loyalty Programs, Recognition & Referral efforts, Branded Merchandise, focussed Engagement, Experiences, and other elements to create a “WOW” worthy Advocacy program.
Have you noticed the people in your company that are like fans of your brand? That's an opportunity they have to use their following by marketing your product and keeping your customers happy. With specific affiliate programs, there are even ways for your customers to make some money when they share information about your company. It may seem more accessible than you think.
By linking your social media site and providing a communication channel between you and your loyal customer, you will have a better customer sentiment during your customer experience.
As you engage with social media and interact with your audience, their experience will cause network effects as they share with people in their network. Visit and interact with your customers with the understanding that your interaction will have a ripple effect on social media. This ripple effect is part of the reason it’s so important to address your posts, comments, and interactions through an online voice that reflects your brand.
With the proper tools, you can gain real-time insights to understand your customers and their experience with your brand. With this valuable information you can make continual improvements to improve customer experience.
As you learn more about your customers, consider making use of loyalty programs to find ways to keep your customers engaged in a way that is welcoming and non-intrusive. Make sure to reward your customers for their efforts and find ways to improve the long-term value of your loyalty program.
Brand advocacy is one of the key ways to preserve your company and acquire more loyal customers. Customer Advocacy also allows you to retain customers that will refer your brand to their friends, family, and colleagues and share your company on social media.
When your customers create content about your company or product it is referred to user-generated content. Also known as UGC is a great way to leverage social media to support your brand's ROI. Create videos with live customer interactions.
Sharing user-generated content on your social media is a great way to leverage these platforms for your brand. Get your customers involved. User-generated content alone will not help your business grow.
To keep things fresh, you can host intimate customer events at your company. Meeting with your customers and seeing how they interact with your brand can be extremely valuable.
Invite your customers to summits at your company. Interactive, real-time events held in front of your prospective customers. During these turbulent COVID-19 times, you can use virtual methods as a venue for your company’s advocacy efforts.
Invite them to attend one or two company events and even participate in one industry trade show to build your information.
Take advantage of sales opportunities to continue building relationships with your customers. Create a funnel to develop more! It is one of the most effective routes to increase the revenue and profitability of your company.
Use social media to engage when and where you are around your current customers. Be a person of your customers, whether you are social media active or just actively sharing and following their posts.
Many companies in the SaaS industry use social media to drive customer happiness. Yet it might be difficult for many SaaS companies to help spread that happiness. Customer advocacy is the best way to help you spread your brand happiness, with your customers, employees, and our brand advocates.
Here are 9 tips on how you can tap into the power of these powerful channels to target your audience.
Have a brand and employee advocacy marketing strategy in place for your employees to engage in the form of a customer advocacy team that specifically focuses on how team members can be activated to drive brand advocacy. Sharing these internal relationships can help share your company culture and attract top talent. Consider unique ways to get your employees involved in advocacy programs that are easy to work with so that everyone can play an optimal role in your marketing strategy.
When building and implementing an advocacy program, start by creating a referral program to help your customers gain experience sharing your brand. Keep in mind what's in it for them. If you want to increase brand affinity, you can also share what your company does with brand advocates by customizing outreach to encourage participation in your advocacy program. You can also use your employees' social media skills and extend to highlight their experiences through a campaign tailored just for employees.
Always do what's right for your customers. Lying about a product isn't the way of the future. Keep things simple.
The ideal advocate is someone that's an intimate touchpoint between your customers and the brand for an extended time without being egocentric or intrusive.
As a SaaS company, you need to maintain these expectations the right way. When they go live with a video recording, a blog post, or any type of campaign going on with your customers - get them involved as much as possible. Put a tangible value on their participation and put them first - as a matter of fact, you can sell products and services by doing it. They should not feel like a toy or a relic of your company; they need to feel like they are part of a bigger team.
7. Whichever platform you choose to get involved, set up some fun research on customer experience using other platforms. Research shows it's proven that SaaS companies with a successful advocacy program are 15 percent more profitable compared to those without.
Twitter is and will continue to be a great interactive and visual channel to engage with your customers. Twitter allows you to automatically retweet the responses you have given them - essentially, tweet back what you've said and what's in it for them.
The best way to leave your brand advocates empowered to share information is by creating a hashtag on Twitter or using a selection of social apps that allow you to share announcements and announcements and updates for your employees. Once you have fun sharing lousy press about your brand, people will feel connected to your brand in ways you could never imagine. By creating a hashtag, using social messaging apps, or even creating notification apps, you give your businesses an endless source of opportunities to engage with your customers.
If you are thinking of using your customers as spectators in a strategy for customer engagement, consider creating a customer community. A community of customers is a forum for communicating, exchanging information, and helping each other succeed. You can create one by creating groups, giving specific topics, or posting FAQs. Are your teams of customers motivated enough to join the community and help you out with your advocacy program? You can also create an online survey that asks users to rate their readiness to follow your brand, participate in a game, comment on your blog, and provide feedback on your products and services.
Influencer marketing, and since it's such a popular brand strategy, has become more important for organizations. Along with boosting brand awareness, it's also following influencers to your customers' social sites. By monitoring exactly what your customers are posting, you're further mentioning where you can help the brand, and you're further strengthening customer relationships with your business.
Working together to improve your employees’ brand involvement is excellent and has gotten a lot of attention lately. The Salt Lake Tribune has reported that employee engagement has been falling under the radar of many marketers for many years now, with many noticing an alarming decline in social engagement.
Managing your employee advocacy program should be one of your top priorities in 2018. Although some may prefer this approach, others may prefer it a little more. The right way to ensure your advocacy program is to get the funding and involvement you deserve is to enlist employees to be the senator, broker, delegate, or negotiator for your brand. They can help you improve how your product is perceived and how a customer feels about your brand.
As you can see, there are tons of tips that you can use when considering your customer advocacy strategy. Understanding the core of the buyer and customer journey is key to helping more customers turn into advocates.
At Gray Group International, we help brands build scalable systems that drive internal and external customers through a “wow” worthy buyer and customer journey towards advocacy. If you need help or would like to unpack your current advocacy strategy, reach out to chat with our expert growth advisors about how we can help take your growth to the next level.