All About Brand Advocates and Social Marketing
Past Webinars

If you are thinking about running a Social Advocacy Program for your business, I’m sure you have some questions. Is such a program right for my business? What goes into building and maintaining a Social Advocacy Program? What are the risks? Altimeter’s Jeremiah Owyang recently hosted a webinar on Social Advocacy Programs. View the recording on Slideshare.

1. Why should we consider Social Advocacy Programs?

  • Social Networking is the most popular online activity. This is where your customers are spending their time, but companies can’t keep up with customer dialogue. 41% of social business programs are merely reactive.
  • Companies know that they aren’t always trusted. Trust is among peers. Customers trust people like themselves—other customers. Customers are often skeptical of business executives and marketers.
  • The most advanced companies are the ones that leverage customers. Forward-thinking marketers are energizing their Brand Advocates to drive positive Word of Mouth, leads, and sales across industries including hospitality, health and fitness, software, and more.

2. What do Social Advocacy Programs look like? What are their characteristics?

  • They consist of trusted members of the community. Advocates are enthusiastic customers who are not incentivized nor employed by the businesses they promote.
  • Advocates represent brands’ products and lifestyles. Advocates often embody the essence behind a brand.
  • Advocates are invited into companies as key stakeholders. TurboTax’s InnerCircle program gave Advocates the opportunity to submit and vote on software ideas.
  • Advocates are rewarded through recognition, access, and community. Microsoft’s MVP Program recognized Advocates by giving them the title, “MVP.” The MVP Global summit, an annual conference made up of Microsoft’s most enthusiastic customers, shows how advanced these advocacy programs can get.
  • Advocates may defend brands during times of crisis. The Walmart Moms Program is made up of mom (and dad) bloggers who frequently defend Walmart when the mega corp. is under heavy scrutiny.

3. What is the Social Advocacy Program tradeoff?

4. What are the best practices for my Social Advocacy Program?

  • Get ready internally. Articulate a program charter and take care of the legal side of things. For example, Advocates might need to consent to terms of agreement to show they know they won’t share revenue with the business they advocate for.
  • Identify Advocates. Jeremiah suggests to create a portfolio mix aligned with program goals that might have to do with certain brands, demographics, customer lifecycles, products, lifestyles, or work styles. Another more direct way to identify Advocates is to simply ask your customers how likely they are to recommend your brand.
  • Build Relationships. So many advocacy programs start with real face-to-face interactions. Fiskar’s Fiskateers lead the “United States of Fiskateers” which consisted of local craft meet-ups nationwide.
  • Amplify Voices. Give your Advocates the tools to share their excitement about your brand and make it easy for them to do so. Provide them with opportunities to write reviews, create testimonials, share content, answer prospects’ questions, and more.
  • Foster Growth. Your Advocates crave engagement.  Involve them across all your marketing initiatives as they are eager and willing to help you amplify your message.

6. What is the most important thing I need to know about Social Advocacy Programs?

  • These Programs aren’t about your brand. They are about your Advocates and putting your Advocates in front of your brand is necessary to establish trust amongst your customers. Trust is the underlying mechanism at work with Social Advocacy Programs that cause sales to skyrocket.

-Beau Cowan, Marketing Coordinator, Zuberance

 

Below is the recording of our recent webinar, “Brand Advocates on Facebook: What You Need to Know About Timeline, EdgeRank, and Leveraging Your Superfans.”

(Click here to view webinar recording on Slideshare.)

Featured Speakers:

Key Takeaways:

  • Brand Advocates are a different breed; They are 50% more likely to influence purchase decisions than other customers, 2X more active content creators, and 75% more likely to share great product experiences.
  • Facebook Timeline features give brands more real estate to boost advocacy such as pinning Advocate-generated content, showcasing Advocate reviews, and highlighting Advocate identification.
  • Even though these new Timeline features are valuable, 88% of Facebook fans never return to a brand page after “liking” it. Also, due to EdgeRank, only 16% of your fanbase see branded posts in their newsfeeds.
  • Brands can work around EdgeRank by giving Advocates content to share on Facebook (such as educational content, videos, offers, etc) and encouraging Advocates to create content themselves and then posting it to Facebook (such as reviews, testimonials, etc.) Though EdgeRank still applies to Facebook users, your Advocates will be reaching people in their networks that most likely aren’t fans of your brand on Facebook.
  • By leveraging their Advocates on Facebook, brands are increasing reach, building their brand armies, boosting click through rates.

 

To learn more, download the whitepaper, “Turning Fans and Followers into Brand Advocates.”

Check out the recording of our recent webinar where we revealed new research, “Three Surprising Facts About Brand Advocates” featuring Founder/CEO of Zuberance, Rob Fuggetta.

View more videos from Zuberance

3 Surprising Findings About Brand Advocates:

1. Brand Advocates are more active than previously thought

  • Advocates recommend 9 brands on average
  • 32% recommend 10 or more brands
  • 16% recommend more than 15 brands
  • Advocates recommend on average 26X per year
  • 30% recommend once weekly or more
  • Brand Advocates are active in many industries. The categories most recommended are Technology (25%), Restaurants/Dining (15%), and Entertainment/Leisure (14%).

2. Brand Advocates have larger social networks than earlier estimated

  • Brand Advocates have 200-450 people in their social networks.
  • Online Brand Advocates have 300-600 people in their social networks.

3. Brand Advocates recommend both consumer and business products

  • 67% advocate both business and consumer products.

Other Findings

  • “Power Advocates” make up about 15% of Brand Advocates. They recommend dozens of products, do so several times a week, and have 500+ people in their social networks.
  • 83% of Advocates say their recommendations impact purchase decisions of their friends- 61% say their friends consider buying the recommended product and 22% say their friends actually purchase the recommended product.
  • Email (at 57%) and Facebook (at 35%) are the most used online tools for recommending.
  • Altruism, not rewards, spur Advocates. 50% say they recommend because they’ve had good experiences with a product/service. 37% say they recommend because they want to help others.

3 Implications for Marketers

  1. Find and energize Brand Advocates now to drive advocacy and sales.
  2. B2B Marketers need to engage and energize Brand Advocates.
  3. Don’t pay or provide financial incentives to Brand Advocates.

Download the full report on “Three Surprising Facts About Brand Advocates” now.

All the findings are also outlined in Infographic form here.

The recording below is from our recent webinar, “3 B2B Case Studies in 30 Minutes: How Box, AVG, and Parallels are Leveraging Customer Advocates to Drive Sales Now” featuring innovative marketers from leading B2B companies.

Click here to view the webinar recording on Slideshare.

View more videos from Zuberance

Expert Speakers:

Success Story #1: Box (program live for 3 months)

  • Box has identified a brand army of 51,000 Advocates via email, in-product notifications, Facebook, and their newsletter. 46% of their customers highly recommend Box.
  • Box Advocates have created over 13,800 glowing stories which have generated over 17,000 in-bound clicks from Advocates’ networks.
  • For new press announcements and product launches, Box looks to their Advocates to add the halo effect and to get the social world chatting.

Success Story #2: AVG Technologies (program live for 4 months)

  • AVG has identified 26,000 Advocates mostly via Facebook. 66% of customers highly recommend AVG products.
  • AVG Advocates have created 7,200 positive reviews and rated the product on average 4.5/5 stars which were then posted to CNET, Amazon, Facebook, and Twitter.
  • 4,000 offers were shared by AVG Advocates to their social networks which yielded a 50% response rate.

Success Story #3: Parallels (program live for 4 weeks)

  • Parallels has identified 30,000 Advocates via email and in-product notifications. 66% of their customers highly recommend Parallels products.
  • Parallels has energized Advocates to create and publish reviews on Amazon which boosted ratings from 3.5 to 4.5 stars in two weeks- average of 4.7 star rating.
  • Parallels Advocates shared 4,200 offers with their social networks that yielded a 21% sales conversion rate.

Want to learn more? Download our whitepaper, “The ROI of Energizing Brand Advocates.”

You’re already sold on the power of Brand Advocates. You’re identifying and energizing your Advocates now to recommend your brand and products. What’s next? How can you get the greatest possible bang from your advocacy buck? How can you fully harness the power of Advocates to build your brand and business?

Watch the webinar below to learn about “Advanced Techniques for Energizing Your Brand Advocates.” (Click here to watch on Slideshare.)

View more videos from Zuberance

10 Advanced Brand Advocacy Tips

1. Grow your Advocate Army. New customers, returning customers, and passives are three segments that brands can look to in order to identify and energize Advocates.

2. Leverage multiple touch points to identify and engage with Advocates: email, website, social channels, mobile, in-product, physical stores, customer service.

3. Use the full array of Advocate applications: reviews, stories, answers, offers.

4. Take Advantage of Advocate Apps. Various Advocacy apps can directly address marketing challenges and/or opportunities. For example, certain properties of a hotel chain are receiving poor online ratings and reviews. Using Advocate reviews, this hotel can focus their enthusiastic and highly satisfied Advocates on rating and reviewing these properties on third party review sites like TripAdvisor.

5. Energize Advocates by Segment. Not all Advocates are alike, so building a segment-driven Advocacy program is key to any brand advocacy strategy. Vary your messaging to target different Advocate segments and create distinct goals for approaching each segment.

6. Mobilize Advocates. Use Advocate applications to mobilize your Advocates around specific situations or opportunities. For example, Advocate stories can aid in brand repositioning, Advocate offers can drive lead generation, and Advocate reviews and stories can help to combat negative Word of Mouth.

7. Leverage Advocates for launches. Energize your most passionate customers pre-launch to build buzz and awareness about your new product.

8. Leverage Advocate content smartly. Advocate-generated content is digital gold. Place Advocate content on multiple pages on your website, on a dedicated tab on your Facebook page, in your paid search ads, etc.

9. Set it and forget it! Setup email marketing campaigns that ask new customers if they would recommend your product and write a review two weeks after the purchase.

10. Promote causes. Rally your Advocate Army to promote a charity and spread awareness to their social networks.

-Cara Fuggetta, Marketing Manager, Zuberance

The recording below is from our recent webinar, “3 Case Studies in 30 Minutes: How Three Travel and Hospitality Companies are Increasing Sales and Ratings by Leveraging Their Brand Advocates” featuring social marketing success stories from Rubio’s, Tryp by Wyndham, and Qatar Airways. The speaker was Founder/CEO of Zuberance, Rob Fuggetta (@robfuggetta).

View more videos from Zuberance

Key Takeaways:

  • Brand Advocate definition: Highly-satisfied customers and others who pro-actively recommend brands or products without being paid.
  • Brand Advocates are a different breed- They are 2X more active content creators and 4X more likely to share great product experiences.
  • On average, 50% of a company’s customers are Brand Advocates.
  • Identify your brand’s Advocates by asking The Ultimate Question: On a scale from 1-10, how likely are you to recommend our brand or products to your friends? (9′s and 10′s are Advocates.)
  • Advocate marketing has a sales conversion rate of 5% or higher compared to traditional marketing at less than 1%.
  • Rubio’s Advocates have created over 3,800 Yelp reviews and shared 60,000 offers with their social networks.
  • 41% of Tryp’s Advocates recommended the hotel by creating reviews. The average start rating was 4.7 stars out of 5.
  • 43% of Qatar Airway’s Advocates actively recommend the airline. Qatar Airways is seeing an 80% click-through rate on Advocate stories that were shared with their social networks.

-Cara Fuggetta, Marketing Manager, Zuberance

 

The recording below is from our recent webinar, “5 Case Studies in 30 Minutes: How Five Software Companies are Increasing Sales and Positive Word of Mouth by Mobilizing Their Brand Advocates” featuring social marketing success stories from Intuit, Microsoft, NetApp, Webroot, and Symantec. The speaker was Founder/CEO of Zuberance, Rob Fuggetta (@robfuggetta).

View more videos from Zuberance

Key Takeaways:

  • Brand Advocate definition: Highly-satisfied customers and others who pro-actively recommend brands or products without being paid.
  • Brand Advocates are a different breed- They are 2X more active content creators and 4X more likely to share great product experiences.
  • On average, 50% of a company’s customers are Brand Advocates.
  • Identify your brand’s Advocates by asking The Ultimate Question: On a scale from 1-10, how likely are you to recommend our brand or products to your friends? (9′s and 10′s are Advocates.)
  • Advocate marketing has a sales conversion rate of 5% or higher compared to traditional marketing at less than 1%.
  • Webroot Advocates have created 5,500 reviews and rated their security software an average of 4.5 out of 5 stars.
  • NetApp is seeing an 80% in-bound click rate from offers shared by their Advocates to their social networks.
  • Intuit has identified a brand army of 30,000 Advocates. 11,000 Intuit Advocates. have recommended Intuit through reviews and offer sharing.
  • For a particular campaign, 96% of Microsoft SMB’s Advocates shared an offer with their Facebook friends.
  • Norton’s sales jumped $25 million and their ratings doubled on Amazon after energizing Norton Advocates.

To learn more about the benefits of energizing Brand Advocates, download our whitepaper, “The ROI of Energizing Brand Advocates.”

-Cara Fuggetta, Marketing Manager, Zuberance

Below is the recording from our recent webinar on “Secrets of B2B Social Media & Word of Mouth Marketing” during which top marketers with a breadth of experience running B2B marketing shared social media success stories from brands like Intuit, Adobe, Microsoft, and CDW.

View more videos from Zuberance
Speakers:
Key Takeaways:
  • Only 5% of Chief Marketing Officers rate their companies’ online marketing performance as excellent.
  • B2B marketers say their top challenges are generating more leads, reaching decision makers, and improving lead quality.
  • One of CDW’s best marketers and salespeople is “Hard-core” CDW Advocate, Justin Dorfman.
  • 83% of online consumers say online reviews influence their purchases.
  • Intuit found that Advocates love to share new product information before the public launch (beyond just discount offers.)
  • Companies can double their conversions by putting Advocate-generated recommendations on product pages.
  • 80% of Intuit’s sales are driven by Word of Mouth.
  • Brand Advocates are your secret B2B marketing weapon- 90% of buyers trust Word of Mouth vs 14% trust ads.
  • Advocacy best practices: 1) Don’t pay your Advocates. 2) Make Advocate/Word of Mouth marketing part of ongoing marketing mix. 3) Scale and track advocacy programs.
  • How to identify Advocates: Ask them The Ultimate Question, “How likely are you to recommend our brand/product to your friends and colleagues?”
  • Build your brand army by identifying Advocates across touch points: Email, website, call center, product page, social media, packaging, etc.
  • Advocates recommend because they’ve had a great experience with your brand/product and they want to help others.

We also conducted a poll during the webinar and asked the audience, “How much of your business comes from Word of Mouth?” ANSWER: 48% say that 50% or more of their business comes from WOM. (See results below.)

Make sure to download our “Top 5 Myths of B2B Word of Mouth” whitepaper.

-Cara Fuggetta, Marketing Manager, Zuberance

Last week I moderated a great webinar for Zuberance on the subject of paid vs. earned media. We had four presentations, and you can listen and watch the entire one hour webinar as a slidecast below. If you’re interested in a specific presentation, you can just jump to a particular slide as noted.

Here are the presentations:

Results of Owned, Paid, and Earned Media Survey: Jump to slide 4

For more than 300 registrants to the webinar, Zuberance asked everyone questions about spending and impact across all three forms of media. Here’s what you said.

Paid, Owned, and Earned Media Landscape: Jump to slide 12

  • Presented by Sean Corcoran, Senior Analyst, Forrester Research, Inc. (@seancor)

Integrating Paid and Earned Media: Jump to slide 35

  • Presented by David Armano, Senior VP, Edelman Digital (@armano)

Leveraging Earned Media: Jump to slide 61

  • Presented by Rob Fuggetta, CEO of Zuberance (@robfuggetta)

Make sure to download Zuberance’s latest whitepaper, “Top 5 Reasons Why Brands Need to Focus on Earned Media.”

View more webinars from Zuberance

Our latest webinar, produced with HSMAI, covered the difference between loyalty and advocacy, and how to leverage both to boost bookings and positive Word of Mouth.

How to Achieve Social Media ROI in the Hotel Industry: Turning Loyal Customers into Salespeople

View more presentations from Zuberance

Speakers:

Key Takeaways:

  • Always be thinking about the next horizon. Customers now own the conversation. You must play amongst them to influence that conversation.
  • As marketers, we used to own the message. Now, we facilitate the message.
  • Loyalty and advocacy are not the same, though creating memorable experiences is the foundation of both.

Make sure to download a free copy of the whitepaper, “How Hotels Can Turn Word of Mouth & Social Media into Sales.”


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