advocates

How to Turn Passives into Promoters

Looking to boost your Net Promoter Score*?

One of the best ways to do this is to convert Passives (customers who answer 7-8 on the 0-10 likely to recommend question) into 9s and 10s (i.e., Promoters or “Advocates” as we call them.)

Passives are the “low-hanging fruit” on the Net Promoter scale. It’s much easier to convert Passives into Advocates than Detractors (customers who answer 0-6 on the 0-10 likely to recommend question.)

Here's why:

Many Passives actually like their overall experience with your product, service, or company. Making slight improvements to your products or customer experiences can “tip” Passives into the Promoter category, turning them into likely recommenders.

The 4-Step Process

Here’s a step-by-step approach for transforming Passives into Promoters:

  1. Ask Passives for their feedback. Ask Passives how you can earn their recommendations. For example, a full-service hotel might find that a common complaint among Passives is that its fitness center needs improvement. A consumer electronics company may find that Passives actually enjoy the product but find the set-up process difficult.

  2. Analyze Passives’ responses. This will allow you to spot trends. For example, you may find that Passives make certain suggestions most often. You may also find that Passives tend to be a certain type of your customers. For example, your hotel may have a high percentage of Passives among guests traveling on business vs. those traveling for pleasure. This can help you zero in on issues and customer types that require your attention.

  3. Take action. Actions do speak louder than words. So fix what is keeping you from earning Passives’ recommendations. Put new equipment in the fitness center. Improve service in your restaurant. Or offer free phone support for customers who need help installing your product. If more Passives are business travelers than consumers, focus on improving business travelers' experiences.

  4. Track results. Go back to Passives after you’ve made the suggested improvements. Ask the “likely to recommend” question again with the same Passives to see if they are now likely to recommend.

Tough Scale

Lastly, keep in mind the Net Promoter scale isn’t very forgiving. Only customers who are “high likely” or “extremely likely” to recommend are consider Promoters or Advocates. 

Customers who choose 7 or 8 on the 0-10 scale can be “somewhat” likely to recommend. (Or maybe they’re just tough graders.)

Show your Passives a little love and you could turn them into Advocates.

*Net Promoter, Net Promoter Score and NPS are registered trademarks of Fred Reichheld, Bain & Company, and Satmetrix.

 

To Build Consumer Trust, Brand Advocates Are the Key

These days, the consumer decision journey is more fragmented than ever. Shoppers have an abundant amount of online resources to help them decide which product to purchase and where. With so much information at their fingertips, trust and authenticity are key factors of influencing purchases. About.com recently conducted a study (featured in eMarketer) that found that there are 10 primary trust “elements,” or cues, that brands must establish in order to engender trust, including accuracy, expertise and transparency. 84% of respondents felt that brands needed to prove themselves trustworthy before they would interact with them.

In a social media context, the #1 way (at 41%) that brands can build trust with customers/prospects is allowing them to see reviews from people in their social networks.

Now, I know what you're thinking...How can I get more positive reviews on social networks?

By finding and activating your best customers- your Brand Advocates! Your Advocates won't just write any review. They'll write reviews that are oozing with enthusiasm and excitement. Parallels, a desktop virtualization software company, has energized its Advocates to create and publish reviews on Amazon. The average of star rating was 4.7/5 stars which boosted Parallels' star rating on Amazon from 3.5 to 4.5.

But wait! Advocates' advocacy doesn't stop at just reviews. As Lauren McCadney, head of social media for CDW and a Top 2012 Digital Marketer would say, “A review created by an Advocate is only one manifestation of advocacy. This is just the start of a relationship with Advocates, not the end.”

Brand Advocates are eager to be part of your brand. The question is, how do you want your Advocates to support you? Click here to read 7 ways (beyond reviews) to turn your Advocates into a marketing force.

-Cara Fuggetta, Marketing Manager, Zuberance

This Week in Social: Google Places is Over, Foursquare Gets a Makeover

Google Places is Over, Company Makes Google+ the Center of Gravity For Local Search - Search Engine Land Google Places pages have been entirely replaced by new Google+ Local pages. As of this morning roughly 80 million Google Place pages worldwide have been automatically converted into 80 million Google+ Local pages, according to Google’s Marissa Mayer. It’s a dramatic change (for the better) though it will undoubtedly disorient some users and business owners.

Foursquare Gets a Makeover: Here's What's New - Mashable

After a week of dropping hints from its Twitter account, Foursquare has finally launched its redesigned app. Anyone who was anticipating new breakout features, however, need not get too excited. The main difference between the new and old app is (much prettier) packaging.

Short-Term Lease vs. Long-Term Relationship: The Difference Between Influencers and Advocates - ZuberRants

In general, Influencers are defined by the size of their audience (Twitter followers, blog subscribers, etc) whereas Advocates are defined by their genuine satisfaction with specific brands and products. Now, this is not to say that an Influencer cannot be an authentic Advocate for your brand. In fact, when this happens (rarely), you’ve hit the jackpot!

Social Media Raises the Stake for Customer Service - EON

Americans are growing more frustrated with customer service and businesses are feeling the heat as consumers tell an increasing number of people about both their positive and poor service experiences. The 2012 American Express® Global Customer Service Barometer also found that consumers who have used social media for service wield the greatest amount of influence. They tell significantly more people about their service experiences, and say they’d spend 21% more with companies who deliver great service – compared to 13% on average.

75% of Facebook Users Have Never or Rarely Click on Facebook Ads - eMarketer

Facebook is now a public company, and its revenue and advertising plans are under significant scrutiny. However, users are more likely to interact with branded content on the site, not advertising, which may be an obstacle for the social network down the road.

Short-Term Lease vs Long-Term Relationship: The Difference Between Influencers & Advocates

I’ve written about the topic of Influencers and Advocates previously, but after reading Jay Baer’s recent post on “Why Online Influencer Outreach is Overrated,” (I 100% agree!) and since advocacy is truly becoming top of mind for marketers, I thought I’d throw in another two cents. Let's back up and first look at what defines an Advocate and an Influencer. I've heard many people interchangeably use these terms when in fact, the two groups have very different characteristics and motivations as you can see from the chart below.

(Click here to enlarge)

 

In general, Influencers are defined by the size of their audience (Twitter followers, blog subscribers, etc) whereas Advocates are defined by their genuine satisfaction with specific brands and products. Now, this is not to say that an Influencer cannot be an authentic Advocate for your brand. In fact, when this happens (rarely), you’ve hit the jackpot!

Influencer Outreach vs Advocacy Marketing

The challenge of an Influencer outreach strategy is that Influencers have their own agenda. Out of the all of the companies throwing free trials or perks at them, they’ll choose to promote a company/product if it aligns with their goal: to build their personal brand. By getting an Influencer to tweet or blog about them, brands are “renting the conversation” as Edelman Digital's Michael Brito says. And unfortunately, it’s often a very short-term lease. After one tweet or mention in a blog post, they're on to the next company or product that's showing them love.

The beauty of a brand advocacy strategy is that it’s mutually beneficial; you want to drive awareness about your products (and ultimately sales), and your Advocates are more than willing to help you out. As our CEO, Rob Fuggetta, puts it, "Advocates crave engagement from your brand." They want to be the first to know about a new product feature or event you’re hosting, and you don’t have to give them a free trial or even a free key chain to tell their networks about it. Advocates are there to promote, support, and even defend your brand.

Now, I’m not saying that all influencer outreach strategies should be left behind because there is certainly room for both an influencer and advocacy strategy in a brand’s overall marketing mix. But brands need to consider the outcome of each strategy. Jay Baer put it perfectly: "True influence drives action." So what will drive action for your brand? A short-term rented conversation or a long-term authentic relationship with your Advocates?

What are your thoughts on Influencers and Advocates? We'd love to hear to hear your comments below!

-Cara Fuggetta, Marketing Manager, Zuberance

Think you need to incentivize your customers to recommend you? Think again!

By leveraging Zuberance...

  • Chili’s identified a brand army of nearly 1 million strong who published 50,000 reviews on Yelp and shared 320,000 offers on Facebook, Twitter, and email.
  • Each Advocate of Blurb (a print-on-demand publishing service) that recommend the company, brought in 1.6 new customers.
  • 30% of Intuit’s Advocates have written reviews and shared offers with their social networks.

When I tell people what Zuberance is all about and the results we’ve seen from companies energizing their Advocates, here's most common response I get (from marketers and non-marketers alike): “So how exactly do you incentivize people to make these recommendations?”

The answer is simple: We don’t! (As explained by Zuberance Founder/CEO, Rob Fuggetta, here)

The last time you went to an exceptional restaurant, you probably went to work on Monday and raved about the best steak you’d ever had to your colleagues. What did that restaurant give you for the recommendation? What about the smart phone you suggested to your cousin or the bottle of wine you recommended for your sister-in-law? How much did those companies pay you?

So what motivates a recommendation? Take a look:

Recommending brands and products is not a selfish action. However, if you encourage your customers to talk about you by leveraging a selfish motive (such as referral programs), it taints the recommendation. This makes your customer look bad because he’s trying to score some cash or reward points at their friend’s expense; and it makes you, as a brand, look bad because it’s basically telling your customers, “Look, since our product isn’t worth talking about genuinely, how about I give you some rewards points to do it and we’ll call it even.”

Keep recommendations for your brand authentic by going above and beyond to please your customers (becoming “customer-obsessed” as Josh Bernoff put it in a recent Forrester report.) Then, you won’t have to worry about paying or incentivizing your customers to talk about you. Because let's be real, that’s just lame anyway.

-Cara Fuggetta, Marketing Manager, Zuberance

Lessons from Influencers in Cultivating Brand Advocates

The following is a guest post from Savina Velkova, Marketing Associate, at BrightTALK, a live webcast platform service. If you would like to contribute to ZuberRants, please email cara@zuberance.com.

How has the meaning of “influence” changed in the age of Twitter and Google+ hangouts and LinkedIn discussion groups? Who are the influencers of today and how can marketers identify them and encourage them to put their status to work as Brand Advocates? These are some of the questions tackled by Barbara French, Guy Kawasaki, Don Bulmer and Mike Fauscette in Influencers to Brand Advocates, a live panel discussion recorded at the BrightTALK San Francisco office, available on demand here:

Media and Marketing Channel

With the explosion of social media tools and their increasing incorporation into business practices, the fundamental meaning of “influence” has changed. What used to be an amorphous concept—abstract individual authority dictated by status, entitlement or ideological power—is now defined in practical terms that are easy to measure and study. In fact, the numbers are readily available and speak for themselves: 55,000 people “like” Guy Kawasaki on Facebook, almost 11,000 follow Mike Fauscette on Twitter and Don Bulmer’s blog enjoys an active readership that averages a thousand reads per entry.

Empowered by accessible and effective Internet tools, social technologies have created a democratic system that identifies influencers in niche communities and generates circles of followers around them. It is no longer solely up to the individual to gain influencer status—it is up to the community to determine that the work of an individual is relevant, valuable and trustworthy to many.

These three concepts are the key focus for marketers as they try to understand the power of influencers and how they can harness it to build their brands. Mike Fauscette emphasized that, just like company brands, influencers-turned-Advocates have to be and stay relevant to their respective communities, and that their influence is not guaranteed outside of that context. To this idea Guy Kawasaki added that an influencer must enjoy a high level of trust based on the value they are able to share with their followers.

Don Bulmer referred to SAP’s sales-focused approach and stressed the importance of studying the client’s decision-making process and habits to identify ways to shorten the buying cycle and strengthen the client-vendor relationship.

As marketers explore a community and identify the key influential figures, they need to keep asking questions that will bring them closer to their audience:

  • Who are the people who make decisions?
  • What is their decision process like?
  • Who do they listen to and learn from?
  • What do they care about and how do they consume this information?

By using social media to answer these questions, marketers will be able to single out those key figures that cause shifts in client behavior. Identifying the influencers and encouraging them to become Advocates for products or services is one of the most efficient ways to get access to and target a niche audience that has already been recognized and engaged.

Even though all three speakers are influencers in different areas and use different tools to reach their audiences, one point is clear: engaging an audience online and closely following the ongoing web conversation is an invaluable resource of information and insight that can be used to inform a brand’s marketing efforts and help achieve more by eliminating waste and focusing on tactics that work.

In unprecedented ways social media provides marketers with the ability to measure influence and put it to work with accuracy and efficiency. Whether marketers are looking at number of webinar views, Twitter followers or blog comments, it has never been easier to identify audiences and gain insight into their interests and behavior. With the emergence of social media influencers who singlehandedly affect client behavior, being effective at social media becomes even more crucial to any company or brand. These shifts of behavior—and their causes and frequencies—are the bits of information marketers pursue, and in that respect social media is one of the best tools in a marketer’s toolkit. To quote Guy Kawasaki, “What else is fast, free and ubiquitous?”

- Savina Velkova, Marketing Associate, BrightTALK

About Savina:

As a recent addition to the BrightTALK team, Savina executes email marketing programs that drive thousands of attendees each month to online events and contributes to the BrightTALK blog.  Originally from Sofia, Bulgaria, Savina recently graduated from Pomona College in Southern California, where she studied English and Spanish and ran an online magazine.

Your Advocates are on Facebook & Twitter, willing and ready to be energized!

Jonathan Block, VP-service director with sales and marketing consultancy SiriusDecisions was quoted recently in BtoB Magazine that one of their clients – Eloqua – found that people who were engaged with Eloqua on social channels had a Net Promoter score 450% times higher than the company’s average Net Promoter Score.

In other words, Eloqua customers who are engaged with social channels are 450% more likely to recommend them to others than average customers.

Eloqua is not alone.

Your Brand Advocates – those customers who act as Champions for your brand and influence the purchase decisions and perceptions of others – are following you on Facebook and Twitter, plus other social channels. They’re already proclaiming their love for your brands and products.

Your red hot opportunity: Find those Brand Advocates and energize them to recommend you to their social networks, driving qualified leads, traffic, and sales; essentially, “turning likes into leads.”

It's as easy as 1-2-3:

1.      Find Brand Advocates on social channels: Use social listening tools to find people on social channels who are saying positive things about your brand or products.

2.      Engage Brand Advocates: Reach out to these Advocates to confirm that they are indeed Advocates and capture and/or confirm their email address and other contact information. A great way to do this is asking the “Ultimate Question” for customer loyalty: “How likely are you to recommend our brand or product to a friend?”

3.      Energize Brand Advocates: Give Advocates the opportunity and tools to recommend your brand in the form of Advocate Reviews; Advocate Stories; Advocate Answers; and Advocate Offers and make it easy for them to share these recommendations with their networks, branded community sites, or third party review sites.

By energizing your Advocates to recommend on the social web, you're empowering them to become a marketing force for your brand. And since Word of Mouth is the #1 influencer of purchase decisions, a substantial portion of these recommendations will turn into sales and potentially more Brand Advocates.

Getting more fans and followers is great. Finding your Brand Advocates and energizing them to recommend your brand is even better.

-Rob Fuggetta, Founder/CEO, Zuberance

How to Combat Negative Word of Mouth: A Consumer Electronics Case Study

Download: Consumer Electronics Company Gets 5% Conversions By Energizing Brand Advocates

This case study highlights a leading consumer electronics company that was recently facing a marketing crisis. Negative Word of Mouth for their new flagship product was hurting their reputation and sales. So they turned to their most enthusiastic customers (AKA their Brand Advocates) and energized them to create social recommendations for the brand and product.

In only a few months the company has:

  • Energized thousands of Brand Advocates to create social recommendations
  • Increased its star ratings on a leading shopping site from 2.8 to 4 stars
  • Recorded a 5% sales conversion rate, 10x higher than normal

Download the case study and learn how to:

  • Identify Brand Advocates by name and email address
  • Mobilize Advocates to create social recommendations and drive sales
  • Track results from social recommendation programs in real-time

We want to hear from you!  Feel free to share your thoughts on the whitepaper below.

The ongoing confusion between Advocates and influencers #NYBAS

An Advocate is not necessarily an influencer, and vice versa.

Bob Knorpp is frustrated with how Advocates and influencers are being dialed up and quantified by so many rating systems. The host of the marketing podcast The BeanCast and AdAge Outlook doesn’t think we can reduce advocates and influencers to a set of metrics.

Between Advocates and influencers we’re suffering a bad case of terms being mixed. To avoid the desire to hang onto a Klout score to mean anything about influence and advocacy is misdirected. The goal is to see how the person is connecting with your brand and community. Is their influence and/or advocacy real?

While I was in complete agreement with Knorpp, we have sadly seen people put too much stock in influencer scores and also try to equate that influence to advocacy for your product or brand solely because you happen to be in the same category for which that influencer has influence.

-David Spark, Social Media Journalist, Spark Media Solutions

The socially-focused organization - Brand Survival for 2011

It’s a whole new year – literally and figuratively. Social media is quickly changing the way we need to think about our brands and marketing.  We can no longer expect to be successful if we just focus our marketing efforts on telling our target market how great our own brand is.  What we – the brand – say about ourselves is no longer what matters.  It’s what OTHER people say about our brand and their experience of our brand.

Brands have a challenge having effective external conversations with consumers and then truly activating them as Advocates unless they evolve internally into a socially-focused organization.

Advocates are your goldmine!  They are the people who go out there and “sell” your product simply because they want to -- by passing links around, posting product reviews, getting the word out through all of their social media channels.

A quick way to become invisible as a brand (or worse yet, highly visible for negative reasons) is to keep your organization internally-focused.  You can work 24x7 talking within your marketing group about what makes your product so fantastic … and then creating all those ads and marketing materials to try to convince everyone else the same… but unless people outside your organization are talking up your product, your work (and time!) is wasted.

In this age of social media, it’s relationships that matter:  your brand’s relationship with its customers, friends and colleagues, and with the entire social network of anyone who believes in your brand.

Why?  Because good relationships naturally lead to people wanting to share their excitement about great products with their friends and the rest of their network. Good relationships – those built on trust, transparency, and honesty – create your Brand Advocates.

And conversely, bad relationships (or nonexistent relationships) naturally lead to people wanting to share their frustration about poor products.  Be careful!

If your organization doesn’t evolve with the marketplace into a socially-focused organization, you will be left behind (if you haven’t been already).

Evolve.  Your brand depends on it.