Do you have an influencer strategy? Here’s how to build an army of brand advocates for your business.
Every business, regardless of industry, region or size, wants publicity. Let me rephrase that. Every business wants positive publicity. And if an organisation can achieve that without having to pay a single penny, even better. By mobilising an army of brand advocates, businesses have the potential to add hundreds, or even thousands, of members to their marketing team without having to hire a single person.
There are many benefits to having a small army of followers and advocates willing to amplify your brand, and brand related content, to their friends, families and followers. Businesses who leverage the positive outpourings of their biggest fans to reach the F-trifecta (friends, family, followers) will see a big return on very little spend. Experts, who are considered leaders or innovators in their field, tend to have a readily available audience willing to listen to whatever it is they have to say. Research shows that consumers are far more likely to take advice from friends and peers than big business. That one might hurt – but the truth tends to do that.
The guide below will demonstrate how your business can grow their army of advocates with minimum effort and cost.
Encourage your employees to become internal advocates of your product or service. Look at it this way – perhaps you have 50 employees. If each of those employees has 150 – 200 followers on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn, that’s a potential reach of 10,000 customers without ever having to send one external email. By motivating your employees to be active online and providing them with readily available content to promote on their social networks, businesses can utilise a completely free resource that is already readily available to them.
Every industry has an online expert who has a loyal following of fans who listen to every word they say. Ok, so maybe your business is Anti Virus Software. While it may not be the most glamorous of industries, I can guarantee you that there is an influencer out there, who is the Justin Bieber of Anti Virus Software. Someone who is writing, tweeting and communicating to an audience who are hanging on their every word. They are an Anti-Virus Software rock star and you need to find that person and make them your advocate. Influencers often want to be seen to be ahead of the curve, so your business can bring them onside by offering access to early product releases, BETA testing or recognising them publicly as a champion affiliate of your brand.
Get involved in online communities
Online communities like Stack Overflow or TESConnect, allow industry mavens to share information and expertise with other like-minded individuals, as well anyone else who may be looking for advice on subjects on which they know little. By getting involved in these communities, regularly commenting or contributing and making information available on their website that can be shared, businesses can begin to build a following of advocates who appreciate their input.
Gamify content sharing
One way to engage with followers, and attract new supporters, is to gamify your marketing content. Businesses who include giveaways, prizes, games or even a points scoring system, in their marketing mix are adding an element of fun and competition that will encourage users to amplify content, some of them doing so without ever realising it. Companies, such as Dominos and Bulmers, have been using gamification to up their social appeal by encouraging users to publish pictures on Instagram, using official hashtags to win prizes. Those prizes, by the way, are usually branded. #AlwaysBePromoting.
Perhaps your business is already partaking in one, or more, of these actions? But are you doing it with the intention of building an army of advocates and using influencers to grow your business? If not, then you might need to ask yourself why not? Regardless of circumstance or industry, there is always strength to in numbers.
Article by Niamh Linehan, image from Shutterstock.