Brand Advocates

3 Ways to Boost holiday sales by Mobilizing Brand Advocates

Brand Advocates are like your “Santa Elves” — they’ll make your cash register ring by posting and tweeting about your brand, products, and holiday offers.

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Here are three ways to boost sales this holiday season by mobilizing Advocates:

1. Give Advocates promotional offers to share with their friends

Running a Black Friday or Cyber Monday special? Get Advocates to share your promotional offers on their social networks.

Getting Advocates to post your holiday offers will extend your reach, boost impressions, and generate sales.

On average, each Advocate reaches about 1,000 people each time they share your offers or content on their social channels. If you get 1,000 Advocates to share your Black Friday or Cyber Monday special, you’ll reach 1,000,000 potential buyers.

Cha-ching!

PS: Show your Advocates you care about them by giving them exclusive, early access to Black Friday deals.

 Ooma, the #1-rated VOIP company, got thousands of Advocates to post its Black Friday promo on their social channels.

Ooma, the #1-rated VOIP company, got thousands of Advocates to post its Black Friday promo on their social channels.

2. Get Advocates to create holiday-themed UGC

Encouraging Advocates to create and post stories and photos with a holiday flavor is one of the best ways to drive awareness and sales.

Starbucks’ annual “Red Cup” contest is the best-known example of this. Each holiday season, Starbucks asks fans to share images on Instagram of how they celebrate the red holiday cups. Prizes include Starbucks gift cards. The contest generates thousands of pieces of UGC and millions of shares.

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You can do something similar.

For example, create a contest that encourages Advocates to post photos or videos about why your product would be a great holiday gift for a friend or loved one. Example: “Why my Mom would love this pasta maker for Christmas.”

Select the winning stories, then reward Advocates by giving free product to the person the Advocate mentioned in his or her story.

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3. Support a charitable cause

Here’s how to do this:

Each time an Advocate recommends your brand or product on their social channels, give a donation to a charitable organization and rewards points to your Advocates. This accomplishes two things:

  1. It motivates your Advocates to recommend your brand and products during the holiday season, which drives sales.

  2. It serves a social purpose. BTW, did you know that consumers are far more likely to buy from and be loyal to brands with a social purpose? After all, the holidays are about giving.

 Ooma asked Advocates to share their annual “Tell Santa what’s on your wish lists this holiday season” promotion. Ooma makes two lucky kid’s wishes come true.

Ooma asked Advocates to share their annual “Tell Santa what’s on your wish lists this holiday season” promotion. Ooma makes two lucky kid’s wishes come true.

BONUS IDEA

One other way to mobilize your Advocates during the holiday season: Give them 2X rewards points for recommending your brand or products.

Our clients have driven double-digit engagement and conversion rates with a “Double Points December” promotion.

Plus, it’s a nice way to thank your Advocates for their support during the year.

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It’s Not Too Late

Black Friday is right around the corner. But it’s not too late to make the 2018 holiday shopping season your best ever by mobilizing your Advocates!

PS: This blog post assumes that you’ve identified your Brand Advocates and have created an “Advocate Army” that you can mobilize during the holidays. If you haven’t, feel free to contact us and we’ll show you how.













How to Host an Advocate Community

Being the host of your brand’s Advocate Community is like being the host of a party. (In this case, your "guests" are hundreds to thousands of your brand's most loyal, enthusiastic Advocates.)

So how can you be a great host of your Advocate community? Glad you asked!

 

Introduce yourself. You can do this with a pinned post. You should also make sure to fill out your profile card completely including uploading your profile photo. Tell your guests about yourself. And, of course, make sure to say why you’re passionate about your brand.

Check in on your guests often. A good party host checks in with guests to make sure they’re enjoying themselves. You should log onto your Advocate community at least twice a day to see what’s happening. BTW, hosting an Advocate community can be pretty addictive. You may find yourself logging on several times each day.

Like members’ posts. You should like just about every post on the community by clicking on the heart logo. By doing this, you’re acknowledging and encouraging members. Do this at least once daily.

Comment on their posts. A good party host participates in conversations and compliments guests. You should do the same. Here are a couple examples:

  • “Debbie, that’s a great post! Love it!”

  • “Nate, what an awesome post. Keep up the good work!”

Ask questions. Encourage discussions and interactions by posting questions in response to members’ posts. Here are a couple examples:

  • “Terry, that’s a really beautiful photo you posted. Where did you you take it?”
  • “Shailesh, those pics of your latest meals you created look amazing. What inspires you to cook?"

Notice that in the above examples, members are addressed by their names (or screen names.) Helps make it personal.

Use a conversational tone that reflects your brand's positioning. When commenting on members' posts -- or creating posts yourself -- don't come across as stiff or too formal. A good party host is relaxed, friendly, warm, and welcoming. So too with a good Advocate community host. 

Respond quickly to any problems. Ever have a guest spill a drink at your party? You probably grabbed the paper towels and quickly rushed to their aid.

Same thing with your Advocate community. Whenever members post that that they’re having problems (e.g., they completed a challenge but didn’t get their points; they’re having product problems, etc.) respond ASAP. Either fix the problem or let them know you’ve reported the problem. Invite them to contact you directly via email if the problem isn’t solved.

Here's to hosting a successful Advocate party! Cheers!

 

 

 

 

 

 

How this Home WiFi Company Boosted Online Ratings from 2.9 to 4.0

Situation

This start-up company manufactures and sells routers that cut or eliminate WiFi "dead zones" in homes.

Home WiFi routers are a highly-competitive market.  Dozens of companies offer products that make similar claims.

And like many other products these days, 90% of shoppers for home WiFi routers (and other products) are influenced heavily by online ratings.

Challenge

Online reviews and ratings for this company's product stood at 2.9 -- poor. Here are some of the headlines of these negative reviews:

  • "Horrible WiFi"
  • "Very frustrating"
  • "It does not work"

Negative Reviews = Lost Sales

These negative reviews were costing the company thousands of dollars in lost sales and damage to the brand's reputation.

Most consumers won't buy products with less than four stars, research shows. For example, 22% of consumers will not buy after reading just one negative review. After three negative reviews, that number jumps to 59% (source: Google consumer study)

It was imperative for this company to boost its online ratings. And they needed to do it quickly before more money flew out out the door.

Zuberance Solution

Zuberance created a program that identified and mobilized the company's highly-satisfied customers (AKA "Advocates") to create and publish reviews.

Via Zuberance's smart publishing system, Advocates were invited to publish their reviews on major shopping sites plus share them with their friends and followers on Facebook and Twitter.

Additionally, Zuberance made it easy for the company to display selected reviews on the company's website, plus leverage the reviews in email, ads, and more.

Authentic Advocates

Importantly, Advocates were not offered incentives or rewards to publish reviews.

They were encouraged to share their honest opinions. In addition, the company didn't change, edit, or influence the reviews.

Zuberance's Turn-key Solution

Zuberance handled the entire program for this customer, from copy and design through development, management, custom reporting, and more. 

The program was powered by Zuberance's Advocate Marketing Platform, an all-in-one advocacy platform that also mobilizes Advocates to share brand content; refer friends; create stories, photo's and videos; answer prospects' questions; join Advocate communities; and more.

Results

Here are the results of the program, after about six months:

Ratings Jump to 4.0

Online ratings for the product have jumped from 2.9 to 4.0. This is extremely important and valuable for this company. Shoppers were very unlikely to buy this product when the ratings stood at 2.9. Now, shoppers are likely to purchase this product or at least give it strong consideration.

Online Ratings for WiFi Networking Product Before & After Zuberance

Online ratings for this product jumped from 2.9 (poor) to 4.0 (very good) after Zuberance started mobilizing the company's customer Advocates.

60% of Positive Reviews Online from Zuberance

Here's another important stat:

Nearly 60% of the positive reviews for this product are coming from Zuberance-powered Advocates. Without these Zuberance reviews, ratings for this product would be well under 4.0.

Positive Reviews on Shopping Sites from Zuberance vs. Other Sources

Nearly 60% of the positive reviews on shopping sites for this product come from Zuberance-powered Advocates.

Thousands of Shoppers have been Reached

Another key result from this program is that it has enabled the company to reach thousands of shoppers.

It's important to note that this kind of reach is much more valuable than reach achieved via paid media and ads.

Reach through your Advocates is 10X more credible and influential than reach through ads. 

And importantly, these Advocate-delivered messages are reaching prospects during that "zero moment of truth" when they're making a purchase decision.

Not a One-Time Campaign

Boosting your online ratings is not a one-time thing. It's not something you do now or then, or when you need it.

Here's why it's important to have an ongoing Advocate Reviews program:

1. Maintain and improve high ratings. Many times, ratings slip below the 4.0 mark as negative reviews pile up. It's important to continue finding and mobilizing Advocates to keep your ratings positive.

2. Keep a steady stream of fresh, positive reviews being posted online. Shoppers are more influenced by newer reviews (reviews published within the last three months, in most cases.) Additionally, most shopping sites including Amazon give more weight to newer reviews vs. older ones.

Getting Even More Value from your "Advocate Army"

In addition to leveraging its Advocate Army to maintain positive ratings online, the company is planning to leverage its Advocate in other valuable ways:

  • Generating thousands of referrals 
  • Getting Advocates to engage with shoppers via Zuberance's Advocate Answers
  • Generating hundreds of compelling stories, photos, videos, and other valuable "AGC" (Advocate-Generated Content")

The company even plans to create an online community of Advocates, where these enthusiastic customers can earn rewards points and even get on a Leader Board. 

Stay tuned for more updates.

 

 

What's the Difference between "Fans" and "Advocates"?

Marketers often use the terms "fans" and "Advocates" inter-changeably.

Fans and Advocates are more loyal and engaged than other customers. But there are three important differences between the two groups.

1. Advocates go out of their way to recommend your brand and products. 

For example, you may be a fan of a particular beer brand. You really like the beer and drink it often. You may have liked the beer brand on Facebook or follow it on Twitter. 

Advocates, on the other hand, go way beyond buying your products or liking you on social.  

Advocates pro-actively encourage their friends and others to try and buy the products they love. In the case of the beer brand, Advocates will buy the beer for their friends and tell them: "Dude, you gotta try this!"

In short, Advocates are like salespeople and marketers for your brands and products. Fans, not so much.

2. Advocates are your most loyal customers.

Fans love you when you're winning. But when you hit a losing streak, fans will often desert you. (Look at all those empty seats at San Francisco 49ers' home games.)

Advocates, by comparison, will support and defend you, protecting your cherished reputation even when you're down.

I saw this at Apple, where I worked for several years as a marketing communications consultant. When Apple was sputtering many years ago, its Advocates stood by its side.

Remember that old Tammy Wynette song? Well, you could change the name of the tune for Advocates to "Stand by your brand."

3. Advocates don't just cheer, they get into the game with you.

Advocates are your most engaged customers.

They get in the game with you by giving you ideas and feedback; suggesting new products and services; and joining online communities of fellow Advocates.

And they're the first to participate in online and offline events.

Rubio's, a San Diego-based casual restaurant famous for its Baja fish tacos, holds an annual beach clean-up called "Coast Fest." Rubio's Advocates are the first to show up at the beachfront for Coast Fest with plastic bags and twist ties in hand.

 

One last big difference: Advocates create and share content like positive reviews, stories, videos, and more at a 2X to 10X higher rate than fans, our real-world results show.

Identify Your Advocates

Get started by identifying your Advocates by name and contact info. Then put these super-charged recommenders to work for you!

Customer advocate vs. employee advocate programs: What's best?

Since this is an election season, I have a question for you:

Which type of advocacy program do you think has the highest value for your company: Customer Advocate marketing programs vs. employee advocate programs?

Cast your vote now.

Meanwhile, here's my response:

Both!

It Depends...

Before you think I'm an "Advocacy Fence-Straddler" with one foot in a blue state and one in a red state, let me explain my vote:

Both types of advocacy programs are valuable. The answer really depends on what you're trying to achieve.

Employee Advocacy Programs are best at:

  • Boosting recruitment
  • Increasing employee engagement
  • Getting employees to share your content, thus extending your brand reach in a very cost-effective way

Customer Advocate Marketing programs are best at:

  • Driving revenue
  • Generating referral leads
  • Boosting online ratings and rankings
  • Creating user-generated content

Customer Advocate Marketing #1 FOr driving Revenues  

Forrester recently asked marketers which type of Word of Mouth program was generating the most revenue.

The winner by a landslide:

Customer Advocate marketing with 70% of the "vote" versus 55% for category influencer programs and 45% for employee advocacy. 

Not an Either-Or

In fact, you shouldn't pick between customer Advocate marketing or employee advocacy programs.

Both are valuable, proven approaches to building your brand and business.

Here's my two cents: take some of the budget you're going to spend in 2017 on paid media and ads, and instead invest in your most credible "spokespeople":

Customers and employees.

Your brand will be the winner when it backs both of these advocacy candidates!