Your Most Valuable Resource…
Your business has customers, and if you are any good at what you do then you have customers who already support your brand and willingly advocate for you. The challenge is identifying a strategy that will help you put to good use the extra mile that these brand advocates are already taking, unnoticed.
Where to find your brand advocates:
1 - Social media, obviously.
You knew that was coming. Look for the followers who share your posts and news, consistently and frequently showing their support by distributing your content… even without you asking them to. They may not be brand advocates yet, but they are potential advocates because they already publicly share your message.
2 - Problem solvers
Those who are active in your support community… online or offline. For example, this might be the people who solve challenges that customers might have with one of your products. These are the people who know how to get the most out of your product or service… and they are more than likely to help in other ways too.
3 - Customer references
This is more than likely the first thought you had regarding brand advocacy because these are the customers you turn to if a prospect needs to talk to an existing customer. These are the assets you already treasure because they are already familiar with your sales process and have (probably) already helped you close deals in the past.
Or, they’ve simply brought you several new customers based on word-of-mouth recommendations.
How to take advantage:
First and foremost, limit the number of times you ask for anything. A person might eagerly sign up for an affiliate program with a brand that they would already recommend anyways. But that appeal disappears when you make it sound like work.
Giving a few simple recommended tasks is one thing, but asking for too much will backfire.
Of course, the best approach (once you’ve identified your brand advocates) is to offer an incentive they can’t refuse. It can be personal recognition, a discounted product or service, or even a cash reward based on the number of new customers they bring in.
At the end of the day, brand advocates are a valuable resource. Yet the strategy to utilize this particular asset is based on an appreciation for those advocates. It’s funny how quickly a person will recommend a business, and then change their mind when that business suddenly asks for them to “work” for “free”. It’s a good idea to reach out to your brand advocates and strategize on how to get the most out of this resource… but don’t blow it!