Who do your customers trust when it comes to making a major purchasing decision? Are they content to run to the nearest appliance store and plunk down $3000 on a new washer and dryer based on the word of the sales staff that day? Probably not. Savvy consumers prefer to do a little homework first.
Most people start their research process on your website, absorbing every detail. Inevitably they’ll visit your social media channels trying to get a sense of who you are. Before finally handing over their credit card, they’ll undoubtedly visit your review sites to see what other customers have to say.
Hopefully, your previous customers have good great things to say, and they’ve left positive reviews all over the internet about your products and services. Those people who do… they are your advocates.
Today’s consumers rely less on content created by your business and more heavily on recommendations from their peers and other shoppers when they make purchasing decisions. Advocate marketing aims to leverage your fans to spread the word on your behalf and influence their social networks.
By some estimates, more than 80% of consumers use social networks, review sites, and content as part of their buying process – especially in the early stages of their research.
So what types of information are they seeking?
These consumers want social proof that you deliver the results your promise. More often than not, they’re particularly interested in unbiased reviews from other customers who have done business with you and can vouch for the quality of the products or services you offer.
Intelligent consumers can smell a sales pitch a mile away. So why waste your time flooding your social media channels and blog with content buyers inherently don’t trust and are trained to tune out?
Influencing your audience is increasingly more about your customers than it is your sales and marketing efforts. Social media has given consumers the microphone to make or break your business. So how can you stand out from the crowd to generate leads, referrals, and ultimately, revenue for your business?
Use your happiest customers, your advocates, to market for you and win social media. Getting started is easier than you might think.
First, identify your top ten advocates. You probably already know who they are. These are the customers and fans who are the most passionate about your product or service. They are highly engaged with all your social media posts and leave comments. Begin your advocate marketing program by engaging with them and inviting them to join your program.
Next, reach out to your advocates personally. They’ll need to understand your advocate marketing program in more detail. During the conversation, highlight the reasons they were handpicked to participate in the program, as well as any benefits they’ll receive.
Finally, remember advocate marketing is a two-way street. Your program needs to be about more than your happy customers doing things for you. A successful program requires that you provide value to the advocates. Start your program by thinking about what you can do to help your advocates. Increased levels of customer service and helpful resources are a great place to start.
If you’re ready to implement an advocate marketing program and need help getting started, contact us today.