Advocates are a whole new type of quality control: social quality control. If your product is fantastic, when identified and energized, your Advocates will spread the word like wildfire. Social networks and traditional Word of Mouth will start buzzing with your product, and sales will reflect your Advocates’ delight.
But your Advocates won’t try to get someone to buy your sub-par product, and they certainly won’t apologize for you or your product. Don’t try to make your Advocates do that work for you, because they won’t…and they shouldn’t have to.
The sale starts with your product, not your Advocates; your Advocates are simply the reward you get for ensuring your product is and does everything you promised it would (if not more!). Your strongest relationships are built on trust – trust that your brand is committed to producing quality products and services – and if you don’t deliver that top-notch product, that essential trust is quickly lost. Along with the sale.
You might be tempted to use social media to over-highlight the best parts of your product in the hopes that the disappointing parts won’t be noticed. But even the best social media relationships can’t perform magic… they won’t make up for a less-than-great product.
However, the good news is that when your product is strong and does carry through on your brand promises, Advocates, through their social media relationships, can skyrocket your product sales. Advocates engage, word gets out, and sales happen. As Seth Godin said in his recent blog post, (Consider the category of 'without apology’) “People will go out of their way to buy and recommend products that don't require an apology.” They will go out of their way for you. Because they want to… because your product is what it is supposed to be and has passed Social QC.
Don’t waste your time trying to hide your product flaws. Invest your time in making a flawless product, and give your Advocates something to get excited about!