How Brands Can Stay Top of Mind with Facebook’s New News Feed

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Staying relevant on Facebook seems to be most brands' major concern with the rollout of Facebook's new News feed. The News feed's subfeeds will allow users to have a quick way to focus on only what their friends are sharing. Users who chose this option are essentially opting out of seeing content from business pages that they follow.

There will be 4 main feeds in which fans can find your content– News feed, Most Recent, Photos, and Following.  Luckily for Pages, the ‘Following’ feed includes both people and Pages, so it's likely users will want to see both, but we all know those people, who don't want to hear from brands.

The ‘All Friends’ feed will certainly be one of the (if not the) most popular feeds.  If users choose this as their feed of choice, brand pages will suffer.  Overall, my guess is that the good and the bad will probably balance out.

What can brands do to continue to be seen?

Without advertising, there is a simple solution: Brand Advocates.

Brand Advocates are your biggest marketers. Advocates' recommendations are the number one influencer of purchase decisions and brand perceptions in nearly every product category from smartphones to software, hotels to housewares, cars to computers, and financial services to memberships.

In a recent Zuberance survey, 89 percent of Advocates said their friends buy or consider purchasing the products and services they recommend. Many consumers and business buyers ignore, skip, and TiVo out ads, but when advocates recommend something, consumers will go out of their way to buy it.

Brand Advocates are motivated by good experiences and a desire to help others. Over the last three years, Zuberance has powered over 30 million Advocate actions. We've never paid or provided an incentive to a single Advocate for their recommendation. And no Advocate has ever been given a freebie if their friends buy something.

Identifying, energizing and tracking Brand Advocates' activity is easy -- assuming you have a Brand Advocate Platform -- and it's what we do at Zuberance.

Brand Advocate receives email:

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Brand Advocate shares offer:

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Brand Advocate's Friends See Your Brand in their News feed:

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Sharing an offer is one of many ways for brands to get noticed and to stay relevant.

Companies that systematically identify and energize Brand Advocates are getting at least a 10X ROI in media and sales value, shown by our analysis of the Zuberance-powered advocacy program. In other words, for every $1 a company invests in energizing Advocates, the company gets $10 in positive WOM impressions and sales. This 10X "Return on Advocacy" is significantly higher than the return that marketers get from paid search campaigns on Google and other marketing approaches.

White Paper: The ROI of Energizing Brand Advocates

What plans do you have to keep your brand relevant when Facebook’s update News feed rolls out?

Request a Zuberance Demo


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


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


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


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:


Brand Advocacy Belongs at #SXSW! Vote to Put Zuberance CEO on a Panel

50 Cent, The Black Keys, and Zuberance CEO/author of Brand Advocates, Rob Fuggetta. What do they all have in common? They're all SXSW alumni! Well...not yet at least. Help us get Rob to SXSW Interactive to spread the love of brand advocacy by voting for his two presentation submissions!

To vote, click the two links below and click the thumbs up icon. If you haven't previously, you'll need to create a SXSW account.

[Panel Discussion] "Defining the New Social Media Advocate"


Brand advocates are at the heart of social media marketing. Whether moved to action by strong emotional ties to a brand or motivated by compensation and/or tangible incentives, brands and agencies are relying on the “borrowed reputation” of their advocates to amplify their marketing and advertising activities. Advocacy programs now operate under the cloud of consumer mistrust in digital and social content as the lines between paid and earned media continue to blur. While there is nothing inherently wrong with paying advocates, some argue that such programs are not suitable for brands to conduct on social media, regardless of the level of transparency offered. This panel examines how brands can best activate the kinetic advocacy of their social networks while preserving trust and building stronger individual and community relationships.



[Solo Presentation] "How to Turn Brand Advocates into a Marketing Force"



In the social media age, power has shifted from advertising’s Mad Men to millions of passionate Brand Advocates. Their trusted recommendations are driving purchase decisions for trillions of dollars in sales of cars to computers; soap to software; hotel rooms to home appliances; fitness memberships to fish tacos; and more. In this presentation, advocacy expert Rob Fuggetta shows marketers and business leaders how to identify Brand Advocates; energize them to spread positive Word of Mouth and drive sales; and track results from advocacy programs. Plus, Rob will present real-world case studies about how companies like Intuit, CDW, Rubio’s Fresh Mexican Grill and many others are leveraging their most enthusiastic customers to spread positive Word of Mouth and drive sales.

Learn More About SXSW here

We greatly appreciate it!

Cheers to advocacy,

-Cara Fuggetta, Marketing Manager, Zuberance

How David is Beating Goliath in the Telecom Wars

VoIP provider Ooma doesn’t have Vonage or Xfinity’s $100 million+ marketing war chest. So Ooma is turning instead to its enthusiastic customers (AKA “Ooma Advocates”) to spread Word of Mouth and help sell more VoIP boxes.

Result: Ooma is cutting customer acquisition costs 54%!

Here are some other key stats from Ooma's advocacy program:

  • 27,194 Ooma Advocates identified (63% advocacy rating)
  • 3,713 Advocate reviews with an average 4.7 rating out of 5. 34% of Advocates that wrote reviews published them to Amazon.com, Sears.com, Facebook, Twitter, and Email
  • 8,354 offers shared on Facebook, Twitter and by EMail which has generated more than 6,305 inbound clicks
  • 2,442 Ooma Advocates have opted in to answer prospects’ questions. More than half of these Advocates have answered one or more questions asked by Ooma prospects.

Read more on TMCnet here

Check out Ooma's VP of Marketing, Jim Gustke, discussing the benefits of energizing their Advocates below (or click here to watch on YouTube):


Webinar Recording: Top 5 Myths of Brand Advocacy REVEALED with Ancestry.com

Below is the recording of our recent webinar, "Top 5 Myths of Brand Advocacy REVEALED." Enjoy! You can also view the recording on our webinar channel here. A BrightTALK Channel

Featured Speakers:

Key Takeaways:

  • Advocacy is like a marathon (an ongoing strategy), not a sprint (one time campaign).
  • Brand Advocates are highly satisfied customers and others who pro-actively recommend brands or products without being paid.
  • Compared to Fans, Followers, and Loyal Customers, Advocates are the most trusted sources of information. They are highly influential with a massive reach via social media.
  • Myth 1: Brands need to pay or incentivize Advocates to get them to recommend their company/products.
    • Truth: It’s unnecessary to pay or incentivize Brand Advocates for their recommendations.
    • Advocates recommend because they’ve had good experiences with a product or service and to help others. Only 1% said they recommend for incentives or rewards. (Read research study, Three Surprising Facts About Brand Advocates here).
  • Myth 2: Few Customers are Brand Advocates.
    • Truth: On average, 50% of customers are Brand Advocates (Both B2B and B2C).
    • 64% of Ancestry.com customers surveyed indicated they were Advocates.
  • Myth 3: Only “sexy” brands have Advocates.
    • Truth: Brand Advocates are active recommenders across several categories.
    • Some Advocacy categories that might surprise you are windshield repair, virtualization software, data storage, and web conferencing!
  • Myth 4: Influencers have more power than Advocates.
    • Truth: Brand Advocates are more influential than Influencers.
    • Studies show that Advocates are 5x more trusted than Influencers and 60x more influential than brands themselves.
  • Myth 5: Advocacy Programs are difficult to measure.
    • Truth: Advocacy programs are very measurable.
    • Welcome to the science of Advocacy. The Zuberance platform lets you track, measure, and analyze Advocacy data like in-bound clicks, reviews, and shared stories.
  • Advocates don’t have to go unnoticed; a simple thank you never goes out of style. Advocates can be rewarded without being incentivized by giving them sneak peaks to new product features, inviting them to focus groups, giving them exclusive content, and more.


To learn more, download Chapter 1 of Rob Fuggetta's new book, Brand Advocates: Turning Enthusiastic Customers into a Powerful Marketing Force by clicking here.

Zuberance Powers 30 Million Brand Advocate Recommendations & Prospect Responses

We've hit a major milestone! Today we announced that we've now powered a total of 30 million Brand Advocate recommendations and prospect responses by Advocates' friends and colleagues, driving billions of dollars in measurable sales and media value for brands.


Advocate Recommendations

Via the award-winning Zuberance Advocacy Platform, Brand Advocates have created hundreds of thousands of:

  • Positive reviews on shopping sites, review sites
  • Facebook posts, Tweets about their favorite brands and products
  • Favorable testimonials
  • Answers to prospects’ questions

In addition, Advocates have shared hundreds of thousands of promotional offers and brand content with their social networks, reaching millions of prospects with trusted, relevant recommendations.

Prospect Responses

Recommendations by Zuberance-powered Advocates have generated millions of responses from prospects. A response from a prospect includes any of the following actions by someone in the Advocate’s network such as:

  • Clicks-through to read Advocates’ reviews or testimonials
  • Downloads a white paper, registers for a webinar, or joins a customer or loyalty club
  • Redeems a promotional offers like a 14-day pass to a fitness club
  • Purchases the recommended product or service

Zuberance’s powerful analytics tracks Advocates recommendations and prospect responses (plus sales and media value delivered to brands) via promotion codes, impression tags, and other metrics.

Tapping into Advocates’ Social Graph

“Zuberance is tapping into the social graph of brand’s Advocates to deliver recommendations, referrals, and revenues for brands,” said Rob Fuggetta, founder and CEO of Zuberance. “By doing this, Zuberance is enabling companies to get measurable value from social media. We’re turning likes into leads and social media into sales,” said Fuggetta.

Thank you to all of our customers, board members, advisers, and of course Brand Advocates for sharing your enthusiasm for companies that rock!

Read the full press release here.

[Infographic] Influencers vs Brand Advocates & Why Influencer Outreach is Overrated

Many marketers are investing in Influencer outreach strategies in hopes that a known name can deliver their message to a vast audience. 40,000 Twitter followers may look tempting, but don't overlook your own satisfied customers, your genuine Brand Advocates. While their networks may be smaller, their enthusiasm is greater and their recommendations drive real business. We teamed up with Jay Baer, Founder of Convince & Convert, and created the Infographic below to show what makes Influencers and Brand Advocates different and why Influencer outreach is overrated.

(Click here to enlarge.)

CDW's Award-Winning Marketer & Social Media Leader Joins Zuberance Advisory Board

We are thrilled to announce the newest addition to Zuberance's advisory board- Lauren McCadney, CDW's head of social media and a "Top 2012 Digital Marketer." Lauren joins other innovative marketers on the Zuberance advisory board like Porter Gale (former VP of Marketing for Virgin America), Bill McBride (President/COO of Club One), Ted Rubin (CMO of Collective Bias). “I have personally experienced the power of Zuberance’s unique customer advocacy solution at CDW,” said McCadney. “We are generating compelling, measurable results from our Zuberance-powered advocacy program. I have become a Zuberance Advocate myself, and am delighted to join the company’s advisory board,” she added.

“We are honored that Lauren is joining our advisory board,” said Rob Fuggetta, Zuberance Founder & CEO. “Lauren is a visionary marketer and social media leader. She brings to our advisory board an in-depth understanding of how B2B companies can turn their enthusiastic customers into a powerful marketing force,” added Fuggetta.

Read full press release here.

Top 5 Reasons Brands Should NOT Incentivize Advocates to Create Recommendations

(This post was originally published on WOMMA's "All Things WOM" blog.)

A key takeaway from this year’s WOMM-U is that brand advocacy is hot! Not only was it a topic of many of the panel discussions, but also a recent IBM study stated that advocacy is the #1 priority for CMO’s worldwide. Let’s take a look at a key principle of brand advocacy: Don’t incentivize Advocates.

Here’s why:

  1. It’s inauthentic. Paying for recommendations (whether it’s cash, discounts, or rewards) is basically telling your customers, “Look, since our product isn’t worth talking about genuinely, how about I give you some rewards points for an endorsement and we’ll call it even?” Don’t enlist your Advocates as mercenaries. You’re compromising your credibility and reputation.
  2. It’s unnecessary. The top reasons that Advocates recommend is to help others (Comscore, Yahoo!, Dec. 2006) and because they’ve had great experiences with a product or company (Zuberance, 2012). In fact, only 1% of Advocates recommend after being incentivized with rewards or discounts. The key to energizing Advocates to create recommendations is to simply make it easy for them. No incentives necessary.
  3. It turns your customers into spammers. We all have that one friend who constantly shares Living Social deals, for example, on Facebook and Twitter. Why? Because if they get three friends to buy the deal, they get their deal for free. The frequent spam causes us to tune them out, possibly defriend or unfollow them, and definitely devalue the sincerity of their recommendation.
  4. It creates unwanted expectations from your customers. If you continue to offer rewards or money to customers for their referrals, you’re conditioning them to always expect something in return. The minute you stop compensating them, is the minute they stop showing the “love.” 
  5. It’s LAME. Before investing in paid recommendations, focus on improving your company and products so it’s worthy of true praise. Do you think Apple has ever paid their customers for a recommendation? No way! Their products are brilliant, and therefore they’ve created millions of genuine Advocates.

Now, that being said, recognizing and thanking your Advocates is an advocacy best practice. However, it should never be a quid pro quo i.e. IF you write a positive review, THEN I’ll give you a pony. Ponies should only be given as a thank you when there was no expectation of receiving something in return for positive reviews.

Here are some ways to recognize and thank your Advocates:

  • Invite them to exclusive events
  • Engage with them on social channels (sometimes a simple “Thank you” is all Advocates want!)
  • Ask to them to join a focus group
  • Highlight their recommendations on owned media channels
  • Give them sneak previews of a new product or feature

Take the high road and keep your advocacy strategy authentic. TRUE Brand Advocates are more trusted, more influential, and more effective in driving real business results.

-Cara Fuggetta, Marketing Manager, Zuberance