The Rise of the Brand Advocate
What's the difference between a customer and a brand advocate? More importantly, how does it affect your company's social marketing strategy? Considering it costs about 5-10 times more to acquire a new customer than it does to sell to an existing one, creating lifetime brand advocates is essential to the overall success of a company. As you know, a customer is simply defined as an individual that purchases a product or service from a seller. Inversely, "highly satisfied customers" and others who go out of their way to actively promote the products they love and care about are a completely different type of consumer.
Brand advocates are defined as individuals that promote and embody a brand's core values and ethics. External agents promoting a brand not only result in boosted sales and awareness for a company, but they are 50% more influential than the average customer. Successful e-commerce retailers know the difference between the two, and effectively implement social commerce strategies to transform the average customer into a lifetime advocate of a brand.
Content Creating Machines
Incentive is obvious. Giving shoppers extra incentive to make repeat purchases always helps with customer retention and the creation of brand advocates. Many retailers seem to neglect the importance of making it easy for customers to share. To understand how to utilize social media companies must give customers the opportunity to generate organic content around their brand. Traditionally, brand advocates would spread the word about companies or products by word of mouth. Today, brand advocates express their attitudes towards brands through social media tools by 'tweeting' about a brand or 'liking' it. Make it easy for customers to share the following:
- Positive reviews that increase ratings and boost SEO.
- Real customer stories and experiences resulting in increased brand reputation.
- Facebook comments and tweets that drive word of mouth.
- Commonly asked questions and answers to increase brand sales.
- Boost engagement with photos and videos.
Make or Break your Brand
While e-commerce is undoubtedly the future of consumerism, it still has a way to go in terms of being flawlessly user friendly. Studies show 83% of consumers require some degree of customer support while making an online purchase. Customer service through social forums is becoming just as important as customer support through email or phone. In fact, I've even seen potential customers become irritated if their questions are not answered almost immediately over social networks such as Twitter and Facebook. Being available to answer questions and concerns of customers, in addition to building real relationships over the common interest of your product or service is crucial. 89% of consumers have stopped doing business with a company after experiencing poor customer service. On top of that, 70% of buying experiences are based on how a customer feels they are being treated.
What Goes Around, Comes Around
Truly successful companies understand the importance of transforming their customers into brand advocates. Thriving companies also know that the happiness of customers is often directly correlated to happiness of employees. Remember, your employees are the most powerful brand advocates you can possibly have. If employees strongly believe in the values and ethics your brand promotes, customers are sure to take notice and eventually follow suit.
Consider the Facts
- Brand advocates are 50% more influential than the average customer.
- 83% of consumers require some degree of customer support while making an online purchase.
- 89% of customers have stopped doing business with a company after experiencing poor customer service.
- 70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated.
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