advocate marketing

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

New Chili's Case Study on Most Successful Advocacy Program to Date

Chili's Grill & Bar has the largest and most successful brand advocacy program to date. They are tapping into the authentic enthusiasm of their best customers, mobilizing them to spread positive Word of Mouth and drive sales. Once identified, Chili's Advocates willingly created reviews, rated Chili's restaurants, and shared offers without any incentive. Chili's Advocate channel has proved to be a highly cost-effective marketing force; one that continues to grow and can be leveraged in multiple ways over time to drive sales. Download the Case Study to learn how Chili's:

  • Identified their Advocates through multiple channels
  • Mobilized Advocates to create reviews and publish to them Yelp
  • Energized Advocates to share offers with their social networks
  • Generated millions of influence impressions via the Advocate channel

Read the Word of Mouth and Brand Advocacy case study now!

WEBINAR: How to Avoid Becoming Social Media Roadkill

This is the presentation from our latest webinar, "How to Avoid Becoming Social Media Roadkill: Top 5 Ways to Combat Negative Word of Mouth" featuring Travis Murdock, VP of Edelman. Please feel free to contact us to discuss how Zuberance technology can help your company turn social media into sales. In the Social Media Age, where a handful of bad Tweets can taint your brand, no company is immune from online brand critics.

In this Social Media webinar we addressed:

  • How to defend yourself from online brand critics
  • How to leverage your Brand Advocates to combat negative Word of Mouth
  • When to fight back, and when to sashay away

There were some great questions asked by the audience. Here are a few of them that were discussed:

1) Who should respond to negative word of mouth?

Not CEOs- Take Whole Foods for example: Whole Foods CEO, John Mackey, was caught posting positive comments about his company and negative comments about his competitors under a pseudo name. Instead, let your advocates respond. They are authentic, trusted customers who willingly spread positive word of mouth to combat complaints.

2) How do you address a customer who is outraged? Do you handle it on Facebook or do you take it offline?

First, companies need to understand how common and widespread the complaint is to determine whether to respond to an individual. For broad complaints, companies should address the issue publicly, and also at a personal level when possible. If the complaint is regarding an issue specific to a customer’s personal product or account, companies can resolve it privately to make sure a customer’s personal needs are met. It is also important to determine if the same person is complaining under multiple screen names. Jack Neff, from Adage, suggests correlating online complaints with call center volume to clarify the scope of the complaint.

3) What if the negative reviews are coming from closed system like Apple’s app store?

Companies can energize their advocates so that the positive reviews are highlighted rather than the negative reviews. Brands should also look to other places online where prospects are reading content, seeing reviews, and having conversations that are influencing purchase decisions, and energize advocates to post positive comments in these places. It is useful to establish an ambassador inside the company for each social media channel to learn the culture, build relationships, and contribute to the community. If a widespread complaint surfaces, companies can look to these ambassadors to help diffuse the issue because they are already respected by their followers within the specific social media channel.

How Zuberance Can Help Your Brand Turn Social Media Into Sales Now [VIDEO]

Watch this video to get the gist on what Zuberance technology can do for your brand. Zuberance is the first social marketing platform delivering measurable ROI by energizing Brand Advocates on Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, email, websites, and more. Enjoy! The video is only a short intro to what Zuberance can do for your brand. If you want to talk to a person directly at Zuberance, the number is Phone us to 415.264.1821 or fill out this form and we will contact you right away.

Zuberance Product Demo from Antonio Altamirano on Vimeo.