What is advocacy marketing and how to incorporate it into your business?
Advocacy Marketing, Brand Advocacy or Recommendation Marketing is a strategy focused on obtaining recommenders or advocates to promote the brand. Its operation is based on defending the product through customer reviews and recommendations. Social networks, blogs, forums or communities are channels to carry out these actions. Customer recommendation has gained prominence with the emergence of millennials and centennials as they trust the criteria of their environment, are participative and have a presence in social media. The goal is to create a community of ambassadors and spokespersons for the brand. These must be mobilised through different platforms to achieve real testimonials.
Recommendation Marketing works because it uses a set of techniques to give authenticity to the brand. These actions are of high value and cannot be bought, they must be carried out following certain strategies: Gamification campaigns are used to motivate the user to relate to the company. Employee advocacy helps brand employees to become ambassadors and is useful to transmit a good image of the organisation. Working with influencers guarantees the visibility of the brand among a large number of followers. Finally, encouraging good customer relations leads to an increase in the number of positive reviews.
Benefits of Advocacy Marketing
- Increased trust in the brand: Interaction with the brand and positive customer reviews increases trust among users who want to make a purchase.
- Reach on social networks: The fundamental pillar of Advocacy Marketing is to have a presence on social media. Through these platforms, a better organic positioning is achieved and, in turn, a greater reach among users of the social network.
- Better engagement: In Brand Advocacy, corporate content is boosted, leading to greater engagement among website users. The intention is to get users and employees to interact with publications on social networks.
- Increased qualified traffic: Applying actions that increase brand recognition to the marketing strategy improves organic traffic. Due to the reach on digital platforms that the business has, this traffic is qualified and contains potential customers. This, in turn, decreases investment.
Advocate VS Influencer
Influencer Marketing is similar to Advocacy Marketing in that both seek to achieve greater reach through recommendation. However, the former is based on payment for campaigns and the latter is not. In turn, the influencer can become an advocate, but the advocate is not necessarily an influencer. The brand advocate can be a customer, user, employee or organisation that shares information about the brand through social networks or word of mouth. The influencer, on the other hand, shares the agreed information in exchange for financial compensation or a free product.
what channels does Advocacy Marketing use?
In Advocacy Marketing, companies need to work their digital ecosystem by investing in earned media. They can do so through their own assets, such as their corporate blog or website, or through external platforms. There are two main channels:
- Owned Media: This refers to content that is created by the company itself to buy and sell products, in other words, content that appears in corporate applications, blogs or websites belonging to the brand.
- Paid Media: This is the content generated by influencer campaigns, advertising or Social Ads.
5 steps to incorporate Advocacy Marketing in your business
1. Capturing users' attention
The first step to establish Advocacy Marketing in your business is to attract the attention of users to turn them into fans of the brand. Some tips to achieve this are:
- Establish a target for each social network.
- Prioritise the most interested users.
- Update information about the brand.
- Empathise with the target audience.
- Identify the influencers of each social network and establish relationships.
- Thank users for their trust.
2. Choose which platform to position the brand on
The brand should be present on all possible platforms, but depending on the business, some social networks are more appropriate than others. Instagram has recently become the trendy platform for Advocacy Marketing. Brands such as Forever 21, Zara or Decathlon are carrying out major marketing campaigns on this social network.3. Involving employees
Employee advocacy consists of the participation of the brand's employees in the recommendation of its products. Building a community of employees who support the brand will transmit confidence in users.
4. Getting organic referrals
Influencers can be compensated financially to recommend your product to their followers, but organic recommendations are the most trusted by users. Influencers who want to collaborate with the brand in an unpaid way are known as brand lovers.
5. Leverage the content that users create
When a user consumes a product and spontaneously shares it on their social networks, the brand should react by taking advantage of this content. This interaction serves to:
- Increase brand recognition.
- Create a community.
- Save on advertising.
- Get real photographs and videos of the product.
5 keys to increase recommendations for your brand
Storytelling can serve as a communication strategy for the brand. Explaining the origins, culture and values of the business can be key to stand out from competitors.
Multiple shipping options
Ecommerce is constantly evolving and offers multiple shipping options to make shopping easier for the user. Your website should be up to the task and offer discounts or affordable shipping costs.
Customers only recommend products that stand out for their quality. You must meet their expectations and offer a good shopping experience.
The relationship with the customer is essential for them to decide to become a spokesperson for the brand. You can provide good customer service in a number of ways:
- Responding to questions, comments, complaints, suggestions or mentions in the shortest possible time.
- Meet customer expectations.
- Have a fair return policy for the customer.
- Ensure that the customer is satisfied after purchase.
- Train employees in the Customer Service sector.
In order for customers to share their shopping experience, they must be motivated to engage with the brand. Offering incentives in the form of discounts, recognition or exclusive offers will encourage them to interact with the content and recommend the products. Other initiatives to motivate customers can include:
- Loyalty, points or rewards programmes.
- Sweepstakes and contests.
Examples of Advocacy Marketing
The peculiarity of this platform is the possibility of being able to recommend experiences and hotels to the community. The best rated hotels are placed in the top positions.
Amazon works on the basis of user reviews, which give the product a score and determine its success among other buyers.