Engagement was the buzzword of 2013, so what will be the buzzword for 2014? I believe that word will be advocacy. We all know how important customer reviews and recommendations are to compelling people to make a purchase. This is because positive reviews help to build confidence in your brand and your products. So how do you get more positivity on the web? Through brand advocates.
Over the last few years, we have all heard about the importance of growing relationships with brand advocates - the people who speak positively about your brand, and share your content on social media. In fact, it's been found that offers or promotions shared by social media advocates convert at a much higher rate.
So how do you identify your potential brand advocates?
1. Pay Attention
Your advocates aren't hiding in the shadows. They're standing in full sight. All you have to do is pay attention.
Start by looking through your last few months' worth of social media posts:
- Who's liking & favoriting your posts and tweets?
- Who's sharing and retweeting your content?
- Who's commenting on your posts and conversing with your brand?
- Who's linking to your content?
These are all potential brand advocates.
2. Track Their Engagement
It isn't enough just to look at the numbers, you have to look at the people behind those numbers. Now that you have started to pay attention to who is most engaged with your content and your brand, you should start to track their engagement with you over time.
Open a spreadsheet and start to list anyone that engages with you in social media. You can go back through a few months of post and tweets, or if you're feeling particularly ambitious, you can analyze a whole year's worth of content or even multiple years. Do this by creating a column with a list of name of people who have engaged with you in social media and then create separate columns to track different engagement metrics like: post likes, comments, shares, retweets, favorites, and repins. You can even get more granular and look at link clicks as well.
You can also discover these metrics through in-channel statistics like Facebook Insights, Twitter Analytics (only available if you advertise through Twitter), Pinterest Analytics (make sure you have verified your account), Google+ Insights and third-party management and analytics software as well as through link shortening tools like bit.ly.
3. Analyze Your Findings
Now that you've tracked your followers' engagement, it's time to compare their engagement against your other followers and fans.
- Who is liking & favoriting your posts, tweets, and pins the most?
- Who is sharing, retweeting, and repining your content more than anyone else?
- Who is commenting on your posts, @mentioning you in tweets, posting questions and comments on your Facebook wall regularly?
These are your brand advocates.
Once you've identified the people who recommend your brand to their friends, leave positive reviews on sites like Yelp and Google+, and seem genuinely interested in conversing with your brand, it's time to put those advocates to work. Stay tuned for our follow-up post on how to engage and grow your relationships with your advocates.