How To Identify And Mobilize Your Company’s Biggest Advocates On Social Media

By Chris Newton | 1 year ago | No Comments

Among your social media followers and fans, there is always one group that stands out: they are the most active and engaged members of your social media community, retweeting, liking, sharing and commenting more than anyone else.

Look a bit deeper, however, and you’ll notice that these people don’t just stop at basic engagement. They might also be helping others in your community by answering their questions or recommending your company to potential customers.

You can call them happy customers, promoters, referrers, or advocates—like we do. Either way, these people are the key ingredient in many companies’ recipes for success.According to Bain & Company, “… only 1 in 10 companies achieve sustainable, profitable growth. These successful companies have twice the level of customer advocacy as their competitors.”

Advocates are big business

It’s no wonder the terms “customer advocacy” and “advocate marketing” are finding their way into lots of content and conversations about digital marketing these days. Advocates help businesses achieve numerous objectives, including lead generation, brand awareness, sales enablement, customer engagement and retention, to name a few.

Perhaps Hank Barnes, Research Director at Gartnersays it best: “If buyers trust and rely upon peers, and you have a base of fans that love to talk about you, what would be a better source of value that advocacy marketing?”

Social media can be one of the best places to identify, empower, and mobilize your most passionate advocates. Here’s how to get started:

Discover new advocates in your social communities

Social listening is one of the best ways to find advocates. Using your HootSuite dashboard, it’s easy to keep a running search stream for your company name, for example. You can also keep tabs on key customers, prospects and high-profile influencers in your industry using Twitter lists. You may be surprised to see how many of your customers, partners and other fans are speaking positively about you and on your behalf in the social sphere. Once you see someone touting your company or solution, send a message thanking them and invite them into your advocate marketing program to get more involved.

Identify opportunities for advocates to help

What questions are people asking about your company, your competitors, or the keywords that are relevant to your business on social media? You should always stay engaged in these conversations, but sometimes you’re not the best person to answer. When it makes sense, ask your most engaged advocates to respond.

Recently, for example, we noticed that someone was asking about a competitor on Twitter. Rather than have a member of the sales or marketing team respond, we asked a few of our customers to reach out through our advocate marketing program. Five of them jumped into the conversation right away and prompted the inquiring person to get excited about our offering. Prospective buyers trust their peers more than vendors, so it’s much more powerful to tap into advocates in those situations.

Mobilize identified advocates to do more

Advocates can do more than just respond to tweets. For starters, look across your organization, identifying what advocates can do every day, for every program, campaign, event, and initiative your company is running. With a little brainstorming, you will probably come up with a healthy list of options.

The next step is to motivate them to advocate on your behalf. Consider using game dynamics – such as points, leaderboards and badges – as a catalyst. The idea is to engage your advocates in something fun that also gives them a forum for advocacy.

Brainshark’s award-winningadvocate marketing program, for example, increased customer and employee activity on Twitter by 106%. But with 450 active advocates who provide referrals, opt in to be references, write reviews, share testimonials and case studies, sign up to be beta testers and participate in customer research, it also has a significant impact on many other areas of the business.

Tap into the synergies of advocacy marketing and social media

Considering the impact advocates can have on your business, it makes good sense to get strategic about identifying and mobilizing them. Fortunately, you can use tools like HootSuite for the social side of things and advocate marketing software to manage your advocate marketing program. Better yet, combine the power of both to take your advocate marketing to new heights.

Written by

peltz 5pts

Great post. Key thing is to mobilize your advocates in a way that they can be a natural extension of your sales force. Tools like Influitive's Advocacy Hub can help, but you have to keep in mind that customers need to get value out of the engagement as well. Help them make connections, advance their career, answer their questions - and you will have advocates for life.

Jess_Mitchell 5pts

Great post - I like the part of ways to discover new advocates via social listening.

KevinLau 5pts

Great post - I particularly like the part about how to discover new advocates

peltz 5pts

Great article. Definitely important to think about the role advocates can play across a variety of activities - from social media, to testing products, to providing feedback, to being a reference, etc. Having a central platform like Influitive is a great way to ensure advocates stay engaged and contribute to your success.

mslizpedro 5pts

Great tips! We hear it over and over again but people still don't leverage advocates like they could!

DavidF 5pts

Fantastic article, thanks Chris! These are great ideas for expanding the reach of your advocates

Ray Gans
Ray Gans 5pts

Nice article. Thanks! Mobilizing the people (your customers) who are saying great things about you makes a lot of sense. Organizing your efforts and making sure those people are recognized and "feel the love" is often all it takes to get the word out far more effectively than many traditional marketing campaigns. 

Nicholas 5pts

Great idea to monitor social for new advocates. Will definitely start doing this!

Danielle Cooke
Danielle Cooke 5pts

I am always looking for ways to identify end encourage our advocates.

Kristen Glass
Kristen Glass 5pts

I love mobilizing our advocates to respond to people's questions about our product on Twitter. It is a great way for people to hear unbiased opinions (that might be different than the opinions they would get from a sales team responding to tweets).

Jennifer Cooper
Jennifer Cooper 5pts

This is great stuff, we monitor our twitter feeds and facebook for potential new advocates