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Brand advocacy: Leveraging it for Marketing & PR

Brand advocacy has always been an important marketing tool for brands. Here is all you need to know about leveraging brand advocacy in modern-day marketing strategy.

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Written by Ed Stennett

15 Dec, 2021  –  5 min read

The world of marketing is constantly evolving and delivering new ways to promote content. This fast-paced world is exciting but can also be confusing to even the most seasoned marketer. 

Every new theory or innovation comes with new phrases and language to describe it. So, what do we mean when we talk about brand advocacy?

In simple terms, brand advocacy is about people vouching for your brand. Previously this might have been a small network of friends, family, and neighbours, but now, the internet has opened up the world. Just one person shouting about your business online can have a considerable impact. And even better? It’s free.

In fact, brand advocacy is one of the most powerful tools in a marketer’s kit. 

Almost 90% of consumers take the time to research brands and look at their reviews before purchasing. 

That means, if you’re not focused on gathering reviews for your brand, you could miss out on a considerable portion of potential customers. 

So, let’s delve deeper into brand advocacy, what it is and why it matters. 

What is brand advocacy?

Brand advocacy is when people promote your products and services for free, through word of mouth, for no other reason than they love your brand and what you do. Brand advocates will write and share reviews of positive experiences with your business. The bonus in marketing terms is that by doing this, they’re not only vouching for your business, but they’re also creating new content that promotes your brand online. 

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Why does brand advocacy matter?

Think about your last online purchase. Before you clicked the buy button, did you look at reviews? Maybe browsed the business’s hashtag to see customer images and opinions? 

The people leaving any positive reviews you may have read can be termed as ‘brand advocates’. And their opinion matters. A study done by BrightLocal in 2020 showed that 79% of consumers trust online reviews as much as they would trust a personal recommendation from a friend or family member. 

When you couple that with an earlier statistic showing that 9 out of 10 consumers actively research a brand before making a purchase, it becomes clear just how powerful brand advocacy can be.

In fact, a staggering 4.48 billion people use social media worldwide, with the average user clocking up 2 hours 24 minutes of social media use daily. This shows the impact that modern word-of-mouth advertising can have. 

If you’re not utilising brand advocacy and social media, you’re missing out.

Still not entirely convinced? Well, consider this, businesses that spend the time enhancing their brand advocacy efforts by just 12% can increase their revenue by 200%

To sum it up, brand advocates:

  • Encourage customer loyalty
  • Build trust with new, potential customers
  • Boost visibility
  • Promote business growth

And they do it all for free. 

Words are powerful.

As a modern business, it’s vital to stay on top of this. While brand advocacy might sound new and intimidating, it’s really just the latest version of word-of-mouth advertising, a valuable and powerful advertising method.

What is the difference between brand advocates and brand ambassadors?

While brand advocates and brand ambassadors may sound similar, it’s essential to know and understand the difference.

A brand advocate is a consumer who reviews your business on a purely voluntary basis. Whereas a brand ambassador is someone who you pay to speak about and promote your brand. 

Brand ambassadors are usually social media influencers with a large sphere of influence. These social media mavens are well-trusted in their community, and their word of mouth advertising has enormous sway. One study shows that almost half (49%) of consumers rely on influencer recommendations before purchasing.

Brand advocates have less influence individually, but that doesn’t mean they’re any less important to the consumer journey. In fact, while influencers may appear to hold more power, most consumers prefer reviews from other general members of the public, viewing them as more authentic and credible. 

Leveraging brand advocacy for brand marketing

We’ve talked about the power of brand advocacy and why it matters, but now it’s time to get to the real meat of the topic. How do you successfully leverage brand advocacy?

1. Video content is the most powerful

The demand for video content is increasing. We’re seeing most social media platforms switch from text-based strategies to more video-focused content. Think of Instagram’s move towards Reels and Lives. There’s something so much more personal about video content. Consumers love to see the face behind the brand. It’s an easy way to connect.

In fact, a study done by Hubspot in 2018 shows that over half of consumers want to see more video content from the brands they support. 

Need help with your video content? Seenit is a user-generated video crowdsourcing software that can help you deliver your message in an engaging and personal way. Follow the How Can I Use Seenit link to find out how to add video testimonials and reviews to your marketing toolkit. 

2. Make sharing easy

We’re in the digital age now, and there’s a reason that platforms like TikTok are so popular. We like our content short and to the point. That goes for sharing content too. 

If it’s a complicated process, consumers will often skip over it. You’ll report a much more successful rate by making it simple to leave and share reviews and reposts.

On the topic of sharing…

3. Reward consumers for posts and reposts

Suppose your customers are taking the time to post new content or even repost your original content. In that case, it’s essential to make sure they feel seen and appreciated.It doesn’t matter whether you choose to do this by sharing your consumers’ content with your community or offering promotions and competitions. What matters is letting your community know that their words and time are valuable to you.

Tip: a simple reply to say thank you goes a long way too. 

4. Listen to what people are saying

A successful brand advocacy programme should include website surveys. There’s no better way to find out what consumers think of your business than just asking them. But it’s equally important to be open and transparent with the findings. Make sure you publish results and provide feedback if required. 

Speaking of feedback…

5. Never ignore or remove a negative review

We’ve all been there. We’ve had a negative review, and it’s tempting to bury it away or click the shiny delete button. Don’t do it. Authentic feedback is the lifeblood of your business. Businesses that delete less-than-glowing reviews lose the trust of their consumers.

It’s much better to consider what your consumers are saying and provide a reply. While negative reviews might seem like a bad thing, they should be viewed as an opportunity to review your business and improve. At the very least, take the time to reply. This not only shows the original poster that feedback is important to you but shows other viewers that you take feedback seriously. 

Whether you’re preparing to take your first steps into brand advocacy, or just explore new avenues, get in touch with us to discuss how Seenit can boost your business.

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