Social Marketing

This Week in Social Media: Facebook Announces Graph, Instagram Updates Users on Privacy, and New Myspace launches

Zuckerberg, Graph Announcement

Privacy and Terms of Service Changes on Instagram – Instagram Blog

Instagram was acquired by Facebook in September 2012,  to ensure you understand that you still have control over who sees  your photos, click to read the new Privacy Policy, effective on January 19, 2013.

Facebook Unveils a Smarter Search Engine – Mashable

Facebook founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg announced improvements to graph search – the ability to search within your social graph on Facebook for specifics. To join the Beta waiting list and to try a search, visit https://www.facebook.com/about/graphsearch.

New Myspace Opens to Public, Riding Timberlake's CoattailsMashable

New.Myspace.com features Justin Timberlake and his new “Suite and Tie” single.  The New Myspace has left invite-only mode, with a focus on music. To easily navigate the new social network, click New Myspace: 8 Essential Tips and TricksMashable.

10 Hilarious Instagram Accounts You Need to FollowMashable

Instagram is our visual outlet, from photos of dinner and pets, to shoes and beer – it’s time for some comedic relief. My favorite from this list is, @Satiregram, referring to themselves as “The epitome of a typical Instagram user.”

 

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Source: @Satiregram Instagram Profile

 

Whitepaper: How to Super-Charge Content Marketing via Brand Advocates

Click here to download the whitepaper now.

Everyone agrees that content is vital to marketing. But "feeding the content beast" is expensive and time consuming. According to a recent study from Curata, the top three challenges of content marketing are:

1. Creating original content 2. Having time to create content 3. Finding high-quality content

Well, here's the good news: You have a secret content marketing weapon that will help you overcome all three of these obstacles. That weapon is your highly-satisfied customers, AKA your “Brand Advocates.”

Your Advocates will gladly create compelling content such as:

  • Highly positive reviews
  • Glowing testimonials
  • Answers to prospects' questions
  • Positive tweets, posts, and comments
  • Videos, photos, and other multimedia content

Advocate-generated content provides powerful benefits to your company and brand:

  • Amplify positive Word of Mouth and/or combat negative Word of Mouth
  • Increase online ratings on third party review sites such as Amazon, Yelp, TripAdvisor, etc.
  • Improve search engine rankings by putting fresh, relevant content on your site
  • Increase lead conversion rates and sales (User-generated content boosts lead conversion rates by up to 125%, according to Marketing Sherpa)
  • Boost engagement across social channels

And since Advocates are your most passionate and enthusiastic customers, you don't have to motivate them with perks, coupons, or cash. So what's the secret to getting Advocates to create compelling content for your brand? Download the whitepaper now to find out.

You'll learn how to:

  • Find your Brand Advocates
  • Turn Advocates into content creating machines to support marketing initiatives
  • Leverage the authentic and compelling content your Advocates create
  • Track advocacy results and optimize

Download now: How to Super-Charge Content Marketing via Brand Advocates

Top 10 Beliefs of Brand Advocacy Visionaries

It’s not what you do, it’s why you do it. This is the mantra that leadership expert Simon Sinek has been spreading since 2009 when he released his book, “Start With Why.” Simon inspires business leaders to hire, sell to, and work with people who believe in what your business stands for, not what you sell. (If you haven’t watched his TedX talk yet, watch it now. It’s incredibly powerful.)

The concept of brand advocacy is heating up in social marketing arena. There are plenty of early adopters that have already implemented advocacy programs for their organizations. At Zuberance, brand advocacy is in our DNA. It's our religion. It's what we believe in. Here’s why we, and fellow marketing revolutionaries, believe in brand advocacy:

1. Creating and leveraging Advocates should be the #1 mission for every company. Marketing is no longer about impressions and clicks. It’s about building a movement around your brand and company, spearheaded by your Advocates. In short, advocacy is strategic.

2. People trust Advocates, not ads. Ninety-two percent of people trust Word of Mouth. Only 53% trust companies’ websites and 33% trust online ads, says Nielsen. What customers say about you is much more important and influential than what you say about yourself.

3. Advocates are different than fans and followers. Most people like or follow a brand to get discounts or freebies, studies show. Advocates recommend because they want to help others, not because they’re getting coupons, cash, or points. Advocates are your most engaged, enthusiastic, and loyal customers.

4. Advocates are a large segment of your customer base. On average about 50 percent of customers are potential Advocates, according to research by Zuberance and others. If your company has one million end users, you may have 500,000 potential Advocates, a large, highly influential, and under-leveraged marketing force.

5. Advocates are your most valuable customers. Advocates are even more valuable than loyal customers. Many frequent fliers don’t recommend the airlines they fly. Advocates, on the other hand, boost your sales, help you keep customers, and defend your cherished brand reputation.

6. Advocate marketing should be authentic. True advocacy cannot be paid for or manufactured. It can only be earned. In fact, studies show paying people for recommendations actually decreases the likelihood that prospects will buy.

7. Advocates are more influential than “Influencers.” Influencers (professional bloggers, media, industry analysts, celebrities) have large audiences. But only 22% of people trust bloggers compared to 92% for Word of Mouth, says Nielsen.  A positive blog post may cause a temporary spike in awareness or social chatter, but nothing is more influential, trusted, or lasting than authentic advocacy.

8. Advocate Marketing is more cost-effective than traditional marketing. Traditional online marketing programs generate less than 1% conversions. On average, Zuberance Advocate Marketing programs deliver 10% or higher conversion rates. A company could fund an ongoing Advocate Marketing program for an entire year for about the cost of two full-page ads in The Wall Street Journal.

9. Advocate Marketing should be an ongoing program. Advocate marketing isn’t a short-term promotion or campaign. Most marketers would never abandon efforts to build and cultivate relationships with influencers after a few weeks or months. The same should apply to Advocates.

10. Advocate Marketing is not only for “passion brands.” Advocate marketing programs are delivering compelling results in low-passion categories like anti-virus software, windshield repair services, file transfer and collaboration services, and more. Every company has Advocates. The key is making it easy for Advocates to recommend your company, brand, and products.

Are you a believer in the power of advocacy? If so, share your thoughts here.

Brand Advocates Are Customer Acquisition Machines: Each Will Bring You 3 New Customers

Fun fact: Customer acquisition is the top priority for B2B companies according to BtoB Magazine. Here's an even funner fact: Each energized Brand Advocate will bring a company three new customers. The best part? You don't have to pay them!

A new Zuberance report lays out the business case for advocacy and shows why energizing Brand Advocates is a highly effective and cost-efficient strategy for boosting customer acquisition.

First, what do we mean by an “energized Advocate?” This is a highly-satisfied customer that authentically recommends your brand, product, or service, whether it’s face-to-face, on social networks or third party review sites, via email, etc.

Advocates Deliver $567 Million for an Enterprise Software Company

In their book, Answering the Ultimate Question, How Net Promoter Can Transform Your Business, authors Richard Owen and Dr. Laura L. Brooks stated that, on average, each Advocate for an enterprise software company will bring in about one-half of a customer via referrals (the actual number was .54). The average customer spend within this industry is $1.05 million. In other words, 1,000 Advocates would bring in 540 new customers, generating a whopping $567 million for the company.

Each Advocate Brings You 3 New Customers

Using .54 as the base case for advocacy, we add 2.5 new customers. Why? There are four additional factors that were not accounted for in Owen and Brooks’ original estimate.

1. Advocates are highly effective “sales people.”

Living in the era of social media, we all know that people trust their peers more than advertising (92% vs 24% in fact, according to Nielsen). Plus, 89% of people say online reviews influence their purchase decisions, according to the eTailing Group. Parallels, a desktop virtualization software company, got a stunning 30% sales conversion rate – about 60X higher than traditional online conversion rates – when Advocates shared offers on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and via email.

2. Advocates are frequent recommenders.

In many high-interest categories like restaurants, travel and tourism, and media and entertainment, Advocates refer many more than four prospects. (This was the assumption in the Owen and Brooks analysis.) For example, think about the incredible hotel you stayed at during your recent trip to New York and how many friends and colleagues you raved to afterwards. In fact, 28% of Brand Advocates recommend their favorite brands and products once weekly (source: Three Surprising Facts About Brand Advocates, Zuberance).

3. Advocates recommend in multiple ways.

In addition to referrals, Advocates drive sales by creating positive reviews and testimonials plus sharing promotional offers and content with their social networks. These activities drive not just social chatter, but sales.

4. Empowered by social media, Advocates reach thousands of prospects.

Since Owen and Brooks conducted their study in 2008, the adoption and use of social media has skyrocketed. Facebook’s Paul Adams states in his book, Grouped, that one Advocate recommendation reaches 10,000 people if it’s passed along only three times.

Depending on the size of your Advocate army and customer lifetime value, energizing your brand’s Advocates may boost several millions of dollars in sales. And since you don’t need to pay authentic advocates, the cost of acquiring customers via advocacy is dramatically less – about 50 percent less in many cases – compared to traditional marketing programs like paid media advertising. Now is the time to turn your Advocates into powerful and inexpensive customer acquisition machines.

Download "The Business Case for Advocacy" now to learn more.

-Cara Fuggetta, Marketing Manager, Zuberance

Webinar: "Marketing is Dead": Do You Agree? With Bill Lee and Mitch Joel

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WEBINAR: "Marketing is Dead": Do You Agree? Watch the recording by clicking the orange “Play” button in the player below.

Marketing author Bill Lee triggered a firestorm of controversy when he declared recently in a provocative Harvard Business Review blog post that traditional marketing – including advertising, public relations, branding and corporate communications – is dead.

What do you think? Is it time to sound the death knell for traditional marketing? Is traditional marketing still alive and well? Are paid, owned, and earned media merging?

Bill Lee: Marketing is Dead (his thoughts below)

Traditional marketing- including advertising, public relations, branding, and corporate communications- is dead. Many people in traditional marketing roles and organizations may not realize they’re operating within a dead paradigm. But they are. The evidence is clear.

The way that marketing is perceived by customers has dramatically changed. Buyers aren’t paying attention. They’re increasingly doing research on their own through online resources and social media before ever engaging with your brand.

According to a Corporate Executive Board study, 57% B2B customers buying decisions are complete before they engage with the supplier. By then, they don’t need to consult with any sales people. Instead they want to know what their peers and other customers think of the company.

CEO’s have lost all patience with CMO’s. 73% say CMO’s lack credibility and ability to generate sufficient business growth. 72% are tired of being asked for money without explaining how it all will generate increased business. 77% have had it with all the talk about brand equity that can’t be linked to actual firm equity or any other recognized financial metric.

The traditional marketing approach to marketing and sales doesn’t make sense especially in today’s connected world. Employees, consultants, partners, etc don’t come from the buyer’s world and they don’t share the buyer’s interest. This is not a promising arrangement to persuade people. Social media makes it easy for prospects to connect with buyers.

Stop trying to persuade buyers. Get skilled at getting your customers to persuade and influence your buyers using four pillars of new marketing:

  • Restore community marketing
  • Find customer influencers
  • Help them build social capital
  • Get Advocates involved in the solution

Mitch Joel: Marketing isn't Dead. Marketing is Everything (his thoughts below):

Marketing (which encompasses everything from product, price, place, promotion) is not only alive and well, it’s core to a business’ success. In short, marketing isn’t dead. Marketing is everything.

Everything is with, not instead of. While some things might become antiquated or less powerful, they’re still very relevant.

Some brands in the pharmaceutical or finance industry, for example, have to live in the domain of creating a level of persuasion because they're regulated by law or have products that have incremental difference to their competitors.

Advertising is not dying. In fact, it’s not on life support, it’s not sick, and it probably doesn’t have the sniffles.

Just because you trust your peers more than advertising, doesn’t mean you can’t see an ad. I don’t need peer reviews to decide to switch toilet paper. Some brands need to put the message into the general zeitgeist of the world that their product now has variance on it- it’s now on sale or has a new feature.

Brand advocacy programs are absolutely critical. However, the challenge we face is that if they’re successful, it takes a lot of work. It’s the difference between dropping a bomb and doing hand to hand combat door to door. Brands must be prepared for the success that will come with engaging Advocates.

If you want to inform a large audience about your brand, advertising is still very much alive (as is marketing, thank you very much). Saying that marketing is dead is like saying that product development is dead and that branding is dead. It may get a lot of clicks, but there's no substance or truth behind it.

Featured guests:

Bill Lee (@bill_lee)

Bill is the President of Customer Reference Forum and Executive Director of The Summit on Customer Engagement. For the last nine years, his conferences have drawn leading customer engagement and advocacy practitioners from top global firms as well as dynamic smaller firms. In addition to its widely respected conferences, Bill and his team at Lee Consulting Group provide workshops, consulting, research and other educational and community building services to help clients reinvent customer relationships and achieve dramatic growth. Bill is the author The Hidden Wealth of Customers (Harvard Business Review Press, June 2012), which has been featured in Forbes Online, Fast Company Online, Marketing Magnified (CMO Council), CRM Magazine and other publications.

Mitch Joel (@mitchjoel)

Mitch Joel is President of Twist Image - an award-winning Digital Marketing and Communications agency (although he prefers the title, Media Hacker) and author of Six Pixels of Separation (Business Plus, 2009). He has been called a marketing and communications visionary, interactive expert and community leader. He is also a Blogger, Podcaster, passionate entrepreneur and speaker who connects with people worldwide by sharing his marketing insights on digital marketing and new media. In 2008, Mitch was named Canada's Most Influential Male in Social Media, one of the top 100 online marketers in the world, and was awarded the highly prestigious Canada's Top 40 Under 40. Most recently, Mitch was named one of iMedia's 25 Internet Marketing Leaders and Innovators in the world. His next book, CTRL ALT DEL will be published in May 2013.

Rob Fuggetta (@robfuggetta)

Rob Fuggetta is the world’s leading expert on brand advocacy. Fuggetta is the author of the ground-breaking new book, Brand Advocates: Turning Enthusiastic Customers into a Powerful Marketing Force. Published by John H. Wiley & Sons, Inc., a major business publisher, Brand Advocates shows how companies are leveraging Brand Advocates to build their brands and businesses – and how you can too! Fuggetta is the Founder & CEO of Zuberance, a social media marketing company that powers Brand Advocate programs for top consumer and business brands. Prior to founding Zuberance in 2008, Fuggetta was the Chief Marketing Officer at Genuity, a Verizon spin-out. He also was formerly a partner at Regis McKenna, Inc., the legendary high tech marketing and communications firm in Palo Alto, where he co-led the global Apple account.

Social Media Webinar: Influencers or Brand Advocates: Who Carries the Real Clout?

Webinar Recording: Influencers or Brand Advocates: Who Carries the Real Clout? Companies today are investing in Influencer outreach strategies in hopes that a known name can deliver their message to a vast audience. 40,000 blog subscribers may look tempting, but many brands are sitting right on top of an untapped digital gold mine: their own Brand Advocates. These highly satisfied customers are eager and willing to share their positive brand experiences, defend companies from negative Word of Mouth, and deliver new customers. As marketers are developing both influencer outreach and brand advocacy strategies, it’s important to understand the characteristics, motivations, and objectives behind engaging these two segments.

A BrightTALK Channel

Key Takeaways:

  • Don't confuse reach with influence. True influence drives action.
  • The motivations for influencers and Advocates are different. Influencers typically need some sort of perk, discount, or free trial to endorse a product. Advocates recommend because they've had great experiences and want to help others.
  • 22% trust bloggers. 44% trust media. 92% trust Brand Advocates.
  • Make influencers part of your movement. Demonstrate to influencers the relationship is a two-way street.
  • Reciprocal altruism is the core way to inspire advocacy. Embracing this idea is essential.
  • Leverage Advocate-generated content smartly. Put it in the purchase path- on your website, third party review sites, social media channels, etc.
  • True advocacy cannot be purchased or manufactured. It can only be earned.
  • Advocacy builds greater long-term business value for businesses than influencer programs. Influencers create a momentary spike in awareness.
  • Who's best at what? Use influencers for awareness and Advocates to drive sales. Build a camp of Advocates first.

Expert Speakers:

Jay Baer (@jaybaer), Social Media Strategist/Speaker, Convince & Convert and author of “The NOW Revolution, 7 Shifts to Make Your Business Faster, Smarter, and More Social (Wiley, 2011)

Jay Baer is a hype-free content strategist, speaker, and author. He founded the social and content accelerator firm Convince & Convert in 2008. It is the fifth marketing services firm he’s started or managed. Jay is a renowned and popular social media keynote speaker, delivering as many as 100 insightful, memorable, interesting and hilarious presentations each year to groups as large as 5,000. He’s also co-author of The NOW Revolution, 7 Shifts to Make Your Business Faster, Smarter, and More Social (Wiley, 2011) a leading book on social business, and an Amazon category best-seller.

Michael Brito (@britopian), SVP of Social Business, Edelman Digital and author of “Smart Business, Social Business: A Playbook for Social Media in Your Organization” (Que, 2011)

Michael Brito currently works for Edelman Digital as a Senior Vice President of Social Business. He is responsible for helping his clients socialize their organization and at the same time operationalize their social media initiatives internally. He is the author of Smart Business, Social Business: A Playbook For Social Media In The Organization.

Rob Fuggetta (@robfuggetta), Founder/CEO, Zuberance and author of “Brand Advocates: Turning Enthusiastic Customers into a Powerful Marketing Force” (Wiley, 2012)

Rob Fuggetta is the world’s leading expert on brand advocacy. Fuggetta is the author of the ground-breaking new book, “Brand Advocates: Turning Enthusiastic Customers into a Powerful Marketing Force” (John H. Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2012) Fuggetta is the Founder & CEO of Zuberance, a social media marketing company that powers Brand Advocate programs for top consumer and business brands. Prior to founding Zuberance in 2008, Fuggetta was the Chief Marketing Officer at Genuity, a Verizon spin-out. He also was formerly a partner at Regis McKenna, Inc., the legendary high tech marketing and communications firm in Palo Alto, where he co-led the global Apple account.

Brand Advocacy Gangnam Style

Advocates for “Gangnam Style” have turned a Korean pop single and its star Psy (pronounced sigh) into a global sensation.

Faster than you can say kimchi, Gangnam Style has shot to the top of the YouTube charts. It’s been viewed by over 337 million times on YouTube in only about eight weeks.

I knew Gangnam Style had tipped when I watched thousands of San Francisco Giants’ fans – including 60-year-old Giants broadcaster Jon Miller  – whipping the lasso at the Giants’ division-clinching win recently over the Padres.

How much do you want to bet that Bud or one of the big beer brands is working on a spot featuring Psy right now? Cue the horses.

So what does Gangnam Style have to with brand advocacy? Everything.

When Advocates find something they like – whether it’s a hilarious Korean rap video or an iPhone app for an accounting software company, they share it with their friends.

Outright, which provides accounting software for small businesses, recently engaged Advocates for the launch of its new iPhone app. Result? Outright’s iPhone app jumped to the Top 25 list on Apple's App Store. Outright got an astonishing 90 percent click-through rate among Advocates’ friends and a staggering 713% CTR on Twitter.

As the Outright example shows, you don’t need a hip, clever video or even a sexy brand to get your content and offers out there.

Find your Advocates and make it easy for them to share your content. That’s brand advocacy Gangnam style!

Here's the Gangnam style video for you to watch once again (warning: this WILL get stuck in your head!):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9bZkp7q19f0

9/19 Webinar: Top 10 Things Advocates Will Do For Your Brand Featuring Anytime Fitness & Outright

Date: Wednesday,September 19, 2012 Time: 9:00 AM PST/ 12:00 PM EST

Hosted By: Zuberance & Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA)


Hashtag: #BrandAdvocates

REGISTER NOW

You may spend millions of dollars on elaborate marketing campaigns. But there is nothing more powerful than a trusted recommendation from a Brand Advocate. In fact, Brand Advocate recommendations are the #1 influencer of purchase decisions in nearly every product category from smartphones to software, cars to computers, financial services to fitness memberships. Advocates' love for you is no summer romance or brand fling. When you create and engage an Advocate, you've identified a renewable marketing asset you can leverage for years.

What You'll Learn:

  • How to identify and energize your best customers (AKA Brand Advocates)
  • 10 creative ways to leverage the enthusiasm of your best customers to drive positive Word of Mouth and sales
  • How to measure the impact of brand advocacy program

Expert Speakers

Andy Giefer, Director of Social Media, Anytime Fitness (@agiefer)

Andy heads social media for Anytime Fitness, the world's largest fitness franchise. He’s particularly interested in how social transforms consumer experiences and expectations. In previous roles, he produced award-winning work at a Minneapolis agency, and spent a year teaching and traveling in Argentina. Andy is currently training for his 8th marathon and tweets at @agiefer.

Laura Messerschmitt, VP of Marketing, Outright, a Go Daddy company (@ljmesser)

Laura has over 10 years of experience working with small businesses at Deloitte Consulting, the Export-Import Bank, Intuit, and Outright.  Her first job was in a small business (an after school tutoring program for young kids) and she's still serving small businesses today at Outright, the online accounting solution for sole proprietors.   Laura led Outright threw a tremendous growth period over the last year using advocacy and social marketing to drive acquisition. This culminated in the acquisition of Outright by Go Daddy in July 2012.

Rob Fuggetta, Founder/CEO, Zuberance and author of Brand Advocates: Turning Enthusiastic Customers into a Powerful Marketing Force (John H. Wiley, 2012) (@robfuggetta)

Rob Fuggetta is the world’s leading expert on brand advocacy. Fuggetta is the author of the ground-breaking new book, “Brand Advocates: Turning Enthusiastic Customers into a Powerful Marketing Force." Published by John H. Wiley & Sons, Inc., a major business publisher, Brand Advocates shows how companies are leveraging Brand Advocates to build their brands and businesses – and how you can too! Fuggetta is the Founder & CEO of Zuberance, a social media marketing company that powers Brand Advocate programs for top consumer and business brands. Prior to founding Zuberance in 2008, Fuggetta was the Chief Marketing Officer at Genuity, a Verizon spin-out. He also was formerly a partner at Regis McKenna, Inc., the legendary high tech marketing and communications firm in Palo Alto, where he co-led the global Apple account.

10 attendees will receive a copy of Rob's new book, Brand Advocates

REGISTER NOW

9/18 Social Media Today Webinar: How to Measure Online Influence that Makes a Difference

Webinar: What Does an Influencer Really Look Like? How to Measure Online Influence that Makes a Difference

Date: Tuesday, Sept 18, 2012

Time: 9AM PST/12PM EST

Hosted by: Social Media Today & Wildfire

REGISTER NOW

The nature of social media is that it's driven by the behavior of consumers, whose decisions are in turn influenced by other people online. There's never been much question that some web users have a stronger or broader influence on people's decisions than others - the challenge for marketers has been to identify these web influencers, and in some cases attempt to influence them in a positive direction as it concerns their business. But how to measure influence, which only works if consumers allow themselves to be swayed?

Measurement tools have come into being to assign rankings to the influence of an individual, and most social platforms display metrics that purport to describe reach - but does a number of friends or followers aptly illustrate trust, admiration, respect, shared values and the other factors that really make up influence? A large follower number or high influencer score may not indicate meaningful influence over decisions in people's personal or business lives. Or do they?

Join us to discuss the true meaning of web influence and how to measure it:

  • What do social technology platforms really measure?
  • Can one be influential without trying to be?
  • Is there a direct correlation between influence and marketing success?
  • How do consumers and marketers decide that someone is influential?

Expert Speakers:

REGISTER NOW

Top 10 Ways to “Sell” a Brand Advocate Program to Your CMO

You’re excited about starting a Brand Advocate program. Now you need to “sell” your CMO or VP marketing on the idea. Here’s some advice and guidance on how to get your CMO’s blessings and budget for an advocacy program:

1.      Keep it simple. Advocacy is a fancy term for Word of Mouth marketing. Some people may not understand or even heard of the term “advocacy.” But your CMO (and nearly all business people for that matter) know the power of Word of Mouth. So instead of saying to your CMO, “We’d like to start an advocacy program,” try telling them: “We’d like to start a Word of Mouth marketing program.”

2.      Find the CMO’s pain/attack the pain. This is “sales 101.” Focus in on the CMO’s pain and show him or her how an advocacy program will help fix it. See chart below:

CMO Pain How Advocacy can Help Real-world example
Negative Word of Mouth, e.g. low online ratings Boost online ratings Symantec doubled its star ratings and increased sales 200% on Amazon.com in one quarter after energizing its Advocates
High customer acquisition costs Lower customer acquisition costs Ooma, a VoIP provider, cut acquisition costs 54% by energizing its Advocates
Get more value from Facebook marketing Find Advocates from among Facebook fans and turn them into a marketing force Ancestry.com has identified over 2,000 Advocates on its Facebook page, and is inviting Advocates to share testimonials plus offers with their Facebook friends.

3.      Give your CMO the “word” on Word of Mouth. 94% of consumers trust Word of Mouth; only 24% trust ads, Nielsen says. If you have information about the influence of Word of Mouth on your company’s sales, give it to the CMO. If you don’t have this research, ask your sales team. Many companies get more than half of their sales from Word of Mouth.

4.      Show your CMO negative Word of Mouth about your company. Negative Word of Mouth comes in many forms: poor reviews and ratings; nasty posts on Facebook and Twitter; venomous comments in online forums. Screen-grab this content and show it to your CMO. Or just have your CMO type in your company or brand name with the word “sucks” and see how many hits you get.

5.      Prove that negative Word of Mouth – even a little – can hurt your company’s sales. If your CMO responds by saying, “Oh well, a few negative reviews aren’t a big problem,” share research with him or her that proves that even a few negative reviews can kill your sales and ruin your reputation. One negative post on social media, on average, has as much impact on customer purchase decisions as five positive posts, NM Incite says. And 80% of consumers change their mind after reading a single bad review, according to a survey by Cone, a Boston-based strategy and communications agency.

6.      Provide stats proving that positive Word of Mouth boosts sales. Numerous studies prove that advocacy drives sales. A one-star increase in ratings on Yelp can boost restaurant sales by 5% to 9%, a Harvard study showed. And companies with only 12% higher Net Promoter Scores (a measure of advocacy) grew their revenues 2X faster than companies with lower Net Promoter Scores, according to a Bain study.

7.      Set clear expectations. When making the case for advocacy, it's important to estimate on how many Advocates you can identify; how many will recommend your brand and product; how many will create and/or share or publish positive reviews, testimonials, etc.

8.      Focus on Return on Advocacy. Advocate marketing programs have compelling, measurable ROI as measured by media and sales value. Club One Fitness, a San Francisco-based fitness chain, got $525,000 in lifetime membership revenues from a two-month advocacy campaign. And Parallels, a software company, got a 30% sales conversion rate when Advocates shared offers and testimonials with their peers. To help you estimate the Return on Advocacy from an Advocate marketing program, download "What's a Brand Advocate Worth?".

9.      Show why your company should move some of its marketing dollars into advocacy. About 90 percent of most company’s marketing investments go to traditional marketing like ads. Yet only 1 in 5 CMOs say they’re getting the marketing results they want. Arm yourself with the facts: What’s your sales conversion rate for traditional marketing programs? How many leads are you getting? How qualified are these leads? Then, drawing on relevant case studies and examples, show how advocacy programs are more effective and less expensive than traditional marketing programs.

10.  Show how a Brand Advocate program will super-charge your company’s Content Marketing Program. Depending on the size of your company, your company may be spending millions of dollars developing content. (Companies spend about 26% of their marketing budgets on developing content, one study showed.) One design firm charges $10,000 to $15,000 for a single infographic! Show how a Brand Advocate program will deliver thousands of pieces of premium content like highly positive reviews and glowing customer testimonials for less than the cost of brand-developed content. Ancestry.com, the popular genealogy website, generated over 6,800 glowing Advocate testimonials in less than 90 days.

-Rob Fuggetta, Founder & CEO, Zuberance, and author, “Brand Advocates: Turning Enthusiastic Customers into a Powerful Marketing Force” (Wiley, 2012)