Over 50 million businesses now have a Facebook page and are actively reaching out to their target audience. As a consequence, the social network has reduced the organic reach of commercial content, to protect its users’ interests.
Ogilvy once predicted that organic reach of brand content would someday drop to zero, and brands need to prepare their outreach strategies to face that outcome.
In today’s social scenario, there is probably no better way to influence your target market than by establishing social advocates.
There are several end goals that you can have for social advocacy and different programs that you can build to achieve them. These are five powerful use cases of social advocacy.
1. Brand awareness
Isolated, a brand can reach 1-2% of its existing following by posting content on official networks. With the help of advocates that reach could be increased by as much as 561%, according to MSLGroup’s research.
Social posts also have short shelf-lives and stay in view only when they are shared and distributed by your community. To initiate that process, you need advocates.
If you want to quickly make an impact on a large following, you simply need to identify and active your social advocates. They can be super-fans, happy consumers or employees.
IronSource incentivized their content distribution and got staff involved. The result? 24% of their engagement today can be attributed to advocacy.
You simply need a platform through which you can share content with your advocates.
2. Lead generation & sales
When companies combine great content with advocate-based distribution, they have seen great results, like a five-fold increase in web traffic and 25% more leads.
IronSource has employees across departments (everything from tech to marketing) share content and promotes the company on social networks like Twitter.
The key is to ensure that your advocates are connected with your target market, directly or indirectly.
You could also encourage happy consumers to go vocal on social networks. They are likely to be connected with more prospects.
3. Improved talent acquisition
If your company has a great work culture that your employees are excited to be proud of, you could significantly improve your recruitment efficiency by using that to your advantage on social networks.
Many large organizations have employees share achievements, pictures of office retreats and activities and establish powerful employer brands on social networks.
- 69% of prospect employees who look your company up won’t apply if you have a bad reputation.
- Prospects who come through employees are far more likely to convert, and more quickly (Source: HRinAsia).
Starbucks has an entire Twitter page dedicated to employees and company culture called Starbucks Partners.
4. Crowd-sourced content
Content creation is expensive and time-consuming when not outsourced.
- Over 50% of B2B and B2C content marketers identify creating engaging content as a challenge.
- Over 90% B2B clients distrust content created by vendors.
Instead of creating all of your content, you could source it from your community of advocates.
Crowd-sourcing content gets people involved – employees, target groups and potential micro-influencers.
You can crowd-source content in 6 ways –
- Brainstorm with influencers on mutually beneficial content that you can create
- Regularly reach out to consumers for feedback and success stories
- Feature advocates on your blog or social pages as part of a post
- Round-up pre-existing tips or ideas from potential advocates on a post
- Target early adopters and encourage feedback
- Target niche communities and amplify distribution
Build these relationships before you need them, and see how content creation and distribution becomes easy for you.
5. Event marketing
Events, webinars, podcasts, and live streams have become important parts of content marketing in the current scenario. Brands create video and audio based aids to connect with and get on the good books of their target groups.
Typically, only 25% of the people who register for online events, show up, and only about half or less of that group of people stay until the end. To ensure that you have that capacity optimized, you need to expand your reach and increase your registrations.
Advocates can help you create event buzz, before, during and after the event.
Most events create dedicated hashtags and connect their advocates with content to make the sharing easy.
You can use email newsletters or advocacy platforms to distribute your content to advocates.
There are different types of advocates that you can employ or active – brand ambassadors, brand advocates or celebrities.
Brand ambassadors – These are people specifically employed by a brand to talk about it on social networks. They can be influencers, niche experts (bloggers or content channel owners) or employees.
Brand advocates – These are super-fans or people who appreciate your brand and/or product, interact with it naturally on social and are likely to participate in activities that you initiate.
Celebrities – Celebrities are usually contracted by brands with big budgets who want to reach a mass audience.
Identify your advocates
Identify the people who are connected with your target demographic and have influence over them. You can do that by setting keyword alerts on a social media monitoring tool like BrandWatch.
Set alerts for important hashtags, keywords and tangential concepts in your niche. Shortlist people who match your tone of voice, seem to lead conversations and have good engagement on their posts.
Build relationships with your advocates
Add your advocates’ Twitter handles or names to your social monitoring list, or create Twitter lists to monitor their activity.
Pay attention to their work and show them support by helping them distribute your content. Once you are certain that they know you and are comfortable with you, reach out to them with an advocacy agreement.
Create an agreement that benefits both parties.
Create and curate great content for your advocates to share
The better your content is, the more conversions you will get when it is amplified by your advocates. Avoid using advocate channels to directly sell your products right off the bat.
Create content that offers their audience value and reinforces the relationship between you and your advocates and their audience. Visual content, in particular, performs well on social. You could use a graphic design software like Venngage to turn your blog posts into infographics for sharing.
If you are working with employee advocates, having them share industry content can help improve their social presence and so the quality of the leads they attract and help you convert.
You could use a social media management dashboard like DrumUp that allows content curation and easy sharing with employees.
While running your social advocacy program, monitor your analytics on a regular basis (reach, engagement, click-throughs, website traffic, and conversions) and ascertain if your content and advocates are helping you achieve your intended goals.
About the Author
Jessica Davis represents Godot Media, a leading content firm. Her areas of interest include social media and content marketing.