Customer Advocates

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Proven Ways to Leverage Customer Advocates in B2B

If you're a B2B marketer, you may be wondering how to drive more advocacy for your company and products.

Here are five proven ways to tap into the power of customer advocacy in B2B:

1. Get Advocates to create and post product reviews.

Reviews for business products and services are becoming more popular. Business sites like TrustPilot, G2 Crowd, and Spiceworks all feature user reviews. 

Hibu, a digital marketing services company, encourages Advocates to create and publish reviews for their products and services. Since starting their Advocate reviews program last year, Hibu's ratings have skyrocketed from two to eight stars on a popular business reviews site.

2. Encourage Advocates to create and share stories.

Stories are different than reviews.

Reviews usually focus on product features and functions. Stories, on the other hand, are often  about the overall experience customers are having with your company or about a topic or issue related to your company.

NursesRx, a company that places traveling nurses on assignments at hospitals and other health-care settings, conducted a highly successful Advocate stories campaign entitled: "I am Nurses Rx."

NursesRx generated hundreds of compelling, original stories from nurses who participated in this campaign, which helped bring their brand to life in a very human way.

3. Encourage Advocates to refer peers.

Referral marketing is highly cost-effective. In a recent study by Software Advice, B2B marketers rated referral marketing as one of the lowest-cost yet highest quality lead gen tactics. 

The key is having an "always-on" referral marketing system that makes it easy and rewarding for Advocates to refer peers.

Here's an example of how LeanKit, a client of Zuberance's, has solicited referral leads from Advocates.

4. Get Advocates to answer prospects' questions.

Let's imagine that Darren, a small business owner and prospect of yours, is thinking about subscribing to your software but is still on the fence.

Why not invite Darren to chat online with one of your Advocates?

That's exactly what Intuit QuickBooks is doing with its "Advocate Answers" program, which is managed and powered by Zuberance.

Pretty cool stuff, right? It's like a real-time, online customer reference program. You can even reward Advocates for answering prospects' questions.

5. Create an online community of your Advocates.

More B2B companies are creating by-invitation-only communities for their Advocates, where these customers can earn rewards for completing actions like the ones mentioned above.

Advocate Communities are Different that Customer Communities

Please don't confuse Advocate communities with online customer communities used primarily for peer-to-peer support, technical problem-solving, or product feedback.

Advocate communities differ in two major ways from customer communities:

  1. Advocate communities are for Advocates only. They are limited to highly-satisfied, enthusiastic customers who pro-actively recommend your company, products, or services. 
  2. Advocate communities have different goals and purposes than customer communities. The primary goal for an Advocate community is to encourage and enable Advocates to spread positive WOM and help drive sales via actions like referrals. This is not the case with a peer-to-peer support community.

Do You Need an Advocate Community?

You don't necessarily need an Advocate community to drive more advocacy and sales.

With Zuberance's cloud-based advocacy solution, you can engage and leverage your Advocates wherever they are -- and without requiring them to join a community.

How are you leveraging your B2B Advocates?

 

 

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.