Wednesday 25 March 2015

 culled from:

It’s no surprise that consumers trust their peers’ opinions on products more than what corporations say about their own brands. After all, peer recommendations are perceived as unbiased and have a large impact on people’s purchasing decisions. In fact, 84% of consumers worldwide say they trust word-of-mouth (WOM) recommendations from their trusted friends and families, according to the Global Survey of Trust in Advertising by Nielsen, which surveyed more than 29,000 Internet users in 58 countries.
Given that this is the case, businesses would be wise to incentivize loyal customers into becoming brand advocates. Not to be mistaken for brand influencers, “brand advocates” are loyal customers who enjoy your product or service so much that they willingly  pass positive messages about your brand to their network of peers, whether via social media, a publication, or by WOM. And believe it or not, brand advocates are not motivated by money; rather, they crave engagement from your brand and really just want to help their own network.
Chances are your company has at least one loyal customer who is happy and inclined to say positive things about your brand. But how do you exactly go about identifying these customers? One way is to send out a customer survey to your entire client base asking them to rate your company, and then flag those that indicate that they’re “very happy.” Once you’ve identified your most loyal customers, the next step is to turn these individuals into brand advocates, which can be difficult, since motivating consumers to do something on your behalf is easier said than done.
Below are three ways to engage brand advocates:
1. Build a Social Group
Social media is an easy and effective way to directly interact and engage with your customers. Create a forum or group on your various social media platforms to give your customers an opportunity to engage with you and each other. As an example, consider HubSpot’s LinkedIn community “Inbound Marketers for Marketing Professionals.”  The group, which consists of both HubSpot employees and customers, provides tips, ticks, and tutorials for inbound marketing.
2. Promote and Celebrate Your Customers
Give your customers recognition for being loyal and celebrate their successes. For example, did your customer just celebrate its business’s 50th anniversary or recently receive an award? Highlight their success on your company blog or social media platforms. By promoting your customers, you’re showing them and others that you value and appreciate their business.
3. Feed Them Content
Providing clients with exclusive content that can help increase their knowledge, better perform, and solve their problems is a great way to engage and gain their trust. Give your loyal customers sneak peak access to white papers, webinars, infographics and other content.
Brand advocates can create real value for your business or emerging brand. Their WOM marketing can exponentially increase your company’s profile and positive associations—so make sure to keep loyal customers engaged and happy.


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