The 6 Step Customer Advocate Marketing Handbook

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1 The 6 Step Customer Advocate Marketing Handbook How to Motivate and Scale Advocates to Grow Your Business I THIS BRAND

2 How to Motivate and Scale Advocates to Grow Your Business Intro: Part 1: Why Powering Customer Advocates to Tell Your Brand s Story is the Most Powerful Form of Marketing Page 2 Page 4 Part 2: How to Motivate Customer Advocates to Share Your Brand s Story with Millions Page 6 Develop programs that meet business Page 7 goals Identification and invitation Page 8 Power with content and opportunities Page 9 Thank yous and recognizing advocates Page 12 Measure impact on the business Page 13 Grow advocates and social engagement Page 15 with always-on programs Conclusion: Page 17 SHARE ME! 1

3 Advocate (n.): One that argues for a cause; a supporter or defender Traditional one-way marketing and advertising is no longer the most effective way to market to consumers. Brands are realizing that leveraging brand advocates to share the brand story is a more credible and valuable way to reach new customers. Powering advocates allows the brand story to be told by others, which is one of the most powerful ways to spread your brand message. Nielsen research shows that 77% of consumers are more likely to buy a product when they hear about it from friends and family 1. Advocates messages are more credible than messages directly from brands. Proving the value of this trust, advocate content and opportunities receive 10x more engagement than branded content 2. SEVENTY-SEVEN PERCENT of consumers are more likely to buy a product when they hear about it from friends and family 1 1 Nielsen. Global New Product Report. January SocialChorus results. 2

4 Happy customers are some of your brand s best advocates. These customers love your brand and products and are happy share your message. According to a recent SocialChorus survey, almost 50% of millennials are willing to share content for brands that they love 3. Connecting and engaging with customer advocates drives business results for brands including improving social engagement, increasing brand preference, and new customer acquisition. This ebook will cover everything you need to know about leveraging customer advocates to grow your business: Why powering customer advocates to tell your brand s story is the most powerful form of marketing How to motivate customer advocates to share your brand s story with millions What best practices you should follow to deliver a well managed customer advocate marketing program How growing your advocates grows your business 3 SocialChorus. Millennials as Advocates Survey. Survey. July

5 Part 1: Why Powering Customer Advocates to Tell Your Brand s Story is the Most Powerful Form of Marketing 4

6 Customers are natural advocates. Customers that love your brand are willing to advocate on behalf of the brand, especially in exchange for inside access and the opportunity to be closer to your brand. Customers advocates want to support your brand. [See examples from SocialChorus customers] Customers are a credible source of product information. Your customers are a trusted source of product information, in-part because they are not paid to share their opinions. In fact, several recent studies prove that people trust recommendations from their friends and family more than any other form of advertising. Customers have size and scale. Brands that people love (or really like) have hundreds of thousands, if not millions of customers. One of the benefits of a customer advocate program is scale. If you can power even a small percentage of your customers to share, your brand story will be delivered to millions. # of Customers x % of ActiVe advocates = Estimated # of advocates 100,000 3% 3, ,000,000 3% 15,000,000 1,000,000,000 3% 30,000,000 5

7 Part 2: How to Motivate Customer Advocates to Share Your Brand s Story with Millions 6

8 Develop Programs that Meet Business Goals It is important to develop advocate marketing programs that meet business goals and values. Advocate marketing can drive success across a variety of different marketing programs. From propelling new product launches to maximizing event awareness and increasing social engagement, advocates can help brands achieve a number of different goals. Amplify existing programs. Customer advocates amplify existing brand content and opportunities expanding the reach of your existing programs. Power content creation. In addition to amplifying brand content, advocates can power content creation for your brand at a much lower cost. Product launches. Advocates will spread the word and drive enthusiasm for the launch of a new product. Improve sentiment. Advocate marketing programs help improve customer sentiment by increasing the amount of positive conversations in social channels. Increase brand metrics. Advocates help lift brand metrics such as brand preference, product consideration, and intent to purchase. Increase web traffic. Empowering advocates to share helps amplify content, driving traffic back to the brand website. Drive new customer acquisition. The enthusiasm of customer advocates is the most powerful marketing mechansism for attracting new customers who will also love your brand (e.g. attract customers who make new customers). 7

9 Identification and Invitation When it comes to identifying and inviting customer advocates, a good place to start is by searching through existing customers, fans and followers. Search all social networks including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Vine, Tout and Google+, and your customer database, to find customers who have a social presence and the brand passion needed to be great brand advocates. Identifying existing customer advocates is the first step to a successful customer advocate marketing program. Consider doing a soft-launch with your most passionate advocates to determine what content is resonating and how to improve and optimize the program before rolling out to all customers. Identify passionate customer advocates by analyzing positive social mentions and finding customers who have shared something about the brand within the past 90 days. After identifying your most passionate and socially-active existing customer advocates, share the link to join your advocate marketing program on all brand channels. It is important to target high volume locations like the brand s home page to keep the program top of mind, as well as in strategic locations, like the check out page. the link to your customer database and invite all customers to join your advocate program. Share the link on owned channels including your Facebook and Twitter and invite specific advocates to join when they are talking about your brand in social channels. Place the link on your website to invite online shoppers to join your customer advocate program. Invite advocates in stores to advocate for your brand online. 8

10 Power with Content and Opportunites Why advocates share A study from 50 years ago by Ernest Dicher 4 revealed why people share. Customers want to share for four reasons: 1 Advocates love the product and/or brand 2 Sharing makes advocates look better, cooler 3 Advocates want to help others and provide value 4 Advocates like the advertising around the brand so much so they want to share The research holds true today and is affirmed by SocialChorus experience powering over 200 advocate marketing programs for dozens of leading brands across many industries. 4 9

11 Customer spotlight One SocialChorus customer powered their advocates to create unique DIY projects for a new product. The rich advocate-created content was amplified by the brand on their owned social channels and website. [See more SocialChorus Customers] In order for advocates to be motivated to share, it s important that content and opportunities fit into at least one of these four categories, more than one if possible. Reuse content and opportunities. Brands already create a lot of great content and opportunities for marketing campaigns. Advocates will help amplify content and opportunities. Make it easy. Advocates are willing to share about brands they love if sharing is easy. Allowing for one click sharing lowers the barrier to entry and increases the likelihood that advocates will share great content for brands that they love. Don t be too prescriptive. It s important to allow advocates to use their own voice and not be too prescriptive. Advocates know their audience best and will construct the right messages that will be most effective for their audiences. 10

12 NINETY PERCENT of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000X faster in the brain than text 7 Provide a variety of content. It s important that brands provide advocates with a variety of content to share. All advocates are different, you never know what content advocates will want to share. Coupons, product announcements, and YouTube videos are some examples of effective shareable content. Keep it fun and engaging. Make sure to provide content that advocates want to share. Pictures, videos, infographics, and behind-the-scenes footage drive excitement about your brand and lots of engagement with advocates. Keep it fresh. Replace and refresh content every one to two weeks to ensure that advocates have new things to share. Make sure to inform advocates when there is new content available so that they can share. Customer advocates have busy lives; however if you make it easy and remind them about new content and opportunities, they will share. 5 3M Corporation and Zabisco 11

13 Thank Yous and Recognizing Advocates It s important to remember that an advocate, by definition, is one that argues for a cause; a supporter or defender. Advocates will support you because they believe in your brand and want to share your story, so they don t need much (if any) further incentive to share. In addition, SocialChorus results show that building ongoing relationships with customer advocates yields ongoing benefits, including an increase in customer lifetime value and other key metrics. Advocates, like anyone else, appreciate thank yous occasionally and there are a few effective methods to thank your advocates. Thank yous help build deeper relationships with advocates turning casual customers into advocates, and advocates into lifelong customers. Recognition. Recognition is one of the most powerful and effective forms of thanks for advocates. It is also extremely inexpensive. Recognizing customers for their support can be as simple as saying thank you, which is one of the easiest methods brands can use to recognize advocates for sharing. Recognition and thanks plays into the human need to be respected and feel valued. Public recognition on a brand s Facebook or Twitter channel takes the thank you up a notch and makes advocate feel even more special and appreciated. Customer spotlight One SocialChorus customer utilized an existing partnership they had with a famous athlete and awarded the most active customer advocates with the chance to win an opportunity to meet this celebrity athlete via Google Hangout. 12

14 Exclusive access. Providing advocates with exclusive access to content is another way to thank advocates. Thank advocates by sharing a sneak peak or behindthe-scenes preview of an upcoming marketing campaign or product outtakes, alternative endings, content that s to racy for TV, or ideas that hit the cutting room floor. SURPRISE & DELIGHT add an element of surprise. surprising advocates by recognizing their effort and thanking them creates an opportunity for livelong customers. Measure Impact on Your Business As with any marketing channel, it s important to measure the impact of social on the business. Social engagement. Social engagement has quickly become the number the standard metric for measuring social media success. It s a way to determine how many people are actually interacting with the brand. 90% of social media engagement is driven by 3% of your audience Earned media value. Earned media value is the dollar amount assigned to media that is gained through social engagement. Earned media value is an objective method of measuring the value of social programs. 13

15 New customer reach. Brands can reach new customers through their advocates, helping them build audiences in segments where they previously had no presence. In fact, research from Dell uncovered that 92% of advocates audience is new to the brand. This means that there is only 8% overlap between the brand s audience and advocates audience. Lift in brand preference. When people hear about a product from someone they trust, it is proven that they are more likely to prefer that brand. Higher brand preference means more revenue and sales. Lift in intent-to-purchase. When customers tell their friends and family about your brand, it has a positive effect on their networks purchase decisions. Increase in website traffic. Powering advocates to share the brand s story amplifies the brand s message to millions of consumers, driving more customers to the website, resulting more web traffic. Increase in sales. Customer advocate programs allow brands to strengthen relationships with existing customers and reach new customers creating more revenue for your bottom line. 14

16 Grow Advocates and Social Engagement with Always-On Programs Advocates never stop working for your brand and you should always be powering them to share their stories. Just like you wouldn t turn off your Facebook page or website, you shouldn t turn off your advocate marketing programs. Customer advocates are in it for the long haul and it s especially important that brands recognize their importance and build lasting relationships with them. More advocates + more social engagement = more business 15

17 Best practices to grow advocates Maintain an always-on, open program for all of your customers. It s important to realize that once you start to build relationships with advocates, you never stop. Elevate customer advocate status. Recognize highest performers and give them VIP status to encourage them to keep sharing. Continuously improve and optimize content strategy. It s important to monitor what advocates are saying and what content is being shared most and provide advocates with content they like to share. Look for new ways to include advocates. New product launch? New event? Underperforming product? Need to raise awareness? Advocates improve all marketing, so get them involved and grow your brand. 16

18 Conclusion Your customer advocates can be your best brand advocates and are willing to share your brand s story, if you make it easy and fulfilling for them. Building relationships with your advocates has significant business benefits for your brand. Not only do you have the opportunity to create a life-long customers, but acquire new customers as well. SocialChorus is the leading advocate marketing solution for brands people love. Our solution includes everything brands need to power advocates to share brand stories across all social channels, including expert advocate marketing services and the scale and measurability of our award winning cloud software. Our solution has proven to grow social engagement, earned media value and new customer acquisition across 200+ advocate marketing programs. Our customers stand up their Advocate Hub in days, and our social strategists leverage our platform to deliver social ROI in just months. SocialChorus powers advocate marketing for dozens of leading brands, including PepsiCo, Kia Motors and Mondelez International, who share our belief that the most powerful marketing happens when people advocate for a brand they love socialchorus.com blog.socialchorus.com SHARE ME! copyright 2013 SocialChorus, Inc. All rights reserved. 17

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