Why 45% of Social Media Strategists Say You Need Brand Advocates in Your Ranks

Both loyal and enthusiastic, a brand advocate is someone who is passionate about a particular brand and is excited to tell her friends about its products or services — not because she has anything to gain, but because she truly believes her friends have everything to gain. Brand advocacy awareness takes advantage of those who champion a brand online, which can be a powerful part of a business’s overall digital marketing efforts.

How do you create a brand advocate?

  1. By having a truly useful, high-quality product or service.
  2. By having customer service that goes above and beyond.

The ideal brand advocate will then go forth and proclaim their love for you, not only through word of mouth, but also on social media! When we work with our content and social media services clients, we are always looking for ways to create and cultivate brand advocacy.

Brand advocates come in many forms. You’re probably familiar with YouTubers, Instagram models, and mommy bloggers, but a brand advocate is anyone who writes a positive online review, posts a link to your content, mentions your brand in tweet, or snaps a photo … you get the idea. A brand advocate doesn’t need to have one million followers or a high Klout score. Brand advocates are simply real people shining a positive light on your brand.

Employee Brand Advocacy

One variety of brand advocate is your own socially engaged employee. As the name suggests, employee brand advocates are brand advocates that work for you brand. Potential clients and customers like to connect with real people advocating a brand – and when it comes to real people, who better than the men and women who make up your organization? They know it best. And they have insider knowledge and can offer behind-the-scenes glimpses of your brand.

Did you know 45 percent of social strategists report that developing an employee brand advocacy program is a top priority?

Why is employee brand advocacy important? Well, according to research:

  • 90 percent of consumers trust people they know when seeking purchasing advice.
  • 53 percent B2B customers trust friends and colleagues’ purchase recommendations.

In other words, brand advocates can have a powerful influence on the purchasing decisions of their friends, family, colleagues, and followers at large. What they have to say is seen as trustworthy and can have potentially more impact than what a business has to say about itself.

Two digital marketing leaders, Michael Brito and Mark Traphagen, are definitely prioritizing employee brand advocacy. Traphagen, the senior director of marketing at Stone Temple Consulting and an employee brand advocate in his own right, sums it up:

“In my experience developing your personal brand representatives from within, from existing employees, is going to have the most impact and be most effective. Your own people know your brand best and (we hope!) will have real passion for it. The advantage here is that training is minimal so content creation and social audience building can commence immediately.”

Brito, the head of U.S. digital marketing at Pulse, is currently working on a book on employee brand advocacy and recently published a robust report on the subject.

Employee Brand Storytelling: Lessons from Brand Marketers on Building and Employee Advocacy Program explores how to mobilize employees to become brand advocates. The report includes tips from digital marketing experts at leading companies including Adobe, Salesforce, Pitney Bowes, FedEx, Autodesk, and Kaiser Permanente. I invited him for an interview to talk about empowering employees to become brand advocates. You can watch that interview with Brito below!

Brand Advocacy + Social Media Marketing = Winning Campaigns

Michael, Mark, and I all agree: brand advocacy is a critical part of any social media marketing campaign, and well worth investing effort in. Reading Michael’s report is a great place to start learning more about the value of brand advocacy. If you’re interested in partnering with us to leverage brand advocacy in your social media marketing, and social media marketing within your overall digital marketing campaign, then don’t hesitate to call us at (866) 517-1900 or fill out our contact form here.

Kristi Kellogg is a journalist, news hound, professional copywriter, and social (media) butterfly. Her articles appear in newspapers, magazines, across the Internet and in books such as "Content Marketing Strategies for Professionals" and "The Media Relations Guidebook." Formerly, she was the social media editor at Bruce Clay, Inc. Head to Kristi's author profile to connect with her on Twitter.
Comments (4)
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4 Replies to “Why 45% of Social Media Strategists Say You Need Brand Advocates in Your Ranks”

I absolutely agree with this. Customers usually purchase products online after reading reviews of their influencers and other happy customers. And to kickstart it, they must hire brand advocates and create a buzz in the market.

Nibha

Great article, Kristi! I think employee advocacy is instrumental to the success of any content marketing strategy. What are your thoughts on the pros and cons of having a good employee advocacy platform like DrumUp? I think it minimises the time and effort required in the implementation of a company’s employee advocacy program.

Great Article! Agree, Customer voices are a strong influence for online consumers and brand advocacy is quickly changing from a PR bonus to a fundamental marketing tactic.

Agree..it’s easy to create buzz and advocacy thorough your employees when you are part of mid/large enterprise.

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