Long before online shopping and paid social ads, word-of-mouth marketing helped brands sell products. When a friend or family member suggests a product, you take note. Why? As a member of your inner circle, you trust their opinion. Word-of-mouth marketing is still powerful; it just looks a little different today. Rather than hoping customers suggest your product, you can take a more organized approach. Through a brand advocate program, you can turn your best customers into word-of-mouth marketers. Let’s look at brand advocate program examples and explore ways advocates can support your brand.
Companies with a brand advocate program
Some big-name brands have customer advocate programs. The programs vary in structure and involvement, but here’s a quick look at a few examples of brands with advocate programs in place:
The activewear brand asks its ambassadors to test and endorse products on social media. In return, ambassadors grow their audience and connect with like-minded followers.
Known for its energy drink, Red Bull mobilizes its student ambassador program throughout college campuses. The ambassadors give away free swag at events like music festivals and athletic events.
Using a rewards program, Starbucks has a small army of loyal customers. The company focuses on rewarding customers with free drinks, food, or merchandise and then taps into that loyalty on social media by asking them to share product feedback, test new flavors, or snap pictures of themselves with a drink in hand.
Like Starbucks, this beauty brand rewards its customers with a points-based system. Customers can redeem points for free products or in-store experiences. In exchange, these loyal customers are happy to share product reviews, mention sales, and participate in community forums.
Coca-Cola taps employees to serve as ambassadors and asks its team to endorse products, share experiences, and create a positive vibe around the brand.
The web hosting company identifies small business owners to serve as advocates. In exchange for free website tools, advocates share their experience with GoDaddy and encourage others to try it.
Ways advocates can promote your brand
As an organization, you should consider how you’d like advocates to promote your product and how often. From promoting products on social to attending events, you can ask advocates to take on many roles. How can they best support your brand?
Consider these advocate marketing ideas:
Ninety-eight percent of customers say online reviews are an essential part of their buying decisions. Given their importance, it’s a good idea to ask advocates to provide reviews on third-party sites like Google or Yelp.
You can run campaigns that incentivize customers to leave reviews. Through an organized campaign with a clear incentive, you can increase the number of reviews and bolster your online reputation.
Every customer has a story to tell, and you can empower them to share their story with others. Organize a campaign to encourage advocates to share their experiences in a specific way. For example, a product demo video is a great way for advocates to express their opinions while providing helpful instruction to followers.
Since brand advocates have an affinity for your product, they’re the ideal group to bring in new customers. Consider a referral program.
At the core of a strong referral program is an incentive. Maybe advocates that refer a customer earn money, get free products, or receive an invitation to an exclusive event.
Airbnb, for example, has given referring customers an $18 credit when a friend makes a reservation. T-Mobile gave away one share of its stock to customers who referred a new customer. Think of an incentive that encourages action.
While your brand likely has a customer service team in place to handle questions, advocates can help, too. Since advocates are familiar with your product, they can likely answer a handful of use-based questions.
Whether you empower advocates to answer questions on social media or ask a small group of them to serve as references when prospective customers want a first-hand account of your product and its benefits, advocates can answer many questions.
Brand advocates can aid in your marketing efforts, but it does require your team to create organized efforts to leverage them effectively. A brand advocate marketing platform can help. You can use the platform to create a rewards-based hub for advocates, create campaigns, and track your efforts in real-time – all in one dashboard.
Looking for a brand advocate marketing platform to try? Zuberance can identify advocates, launch promotional campaigns, and measure your success. It’s a full-service platform that can take your word-of-mouth marketing to the next level. Learn more about the services offered by Zuberance.