By Rob Manning
It’s with good reason that 93 percent of marketers use social media for business — with more than 1.15 billion registered Facebook users and more than 550 million registered Twitter users (and many, many more users across other networks), it just makes sense to reach people through the medium. However, just because marketers are on social media doesn’t necessarily mean they’re using it correctly.
The best brands craft social strategies to build powerful customer relationships. Why? Because well-crafted and well-implemented social strategies keep brands relevant, generate social chatter and create gold for marketers: strong brand advocates.
Oftentimes however, brands fall into the trap of pushing content instead of pulling people to the conversation. It’s a costly error: In doing so, brands miss out on real-time conversation and disengage their audiences in the process. But perhaps worst of all, they miss out on creating and engaging those coveted brand advocates — loyal fans who speak highly of the brand and are eager to support, promote and defend it on a long-term basis.
So how should brands keep brand advocates at the forefront of their social strategies? We’ll get to that. Before anything else, a distinction should be made clear: brand advocates differ from influencers.
Influencers are typically pundits, professional bloggers or celebrities. They’re defined by the size of their audience and are typically motivated by growing their audience.
On the other hand, brand advocates are typically highly-satisfied customers. They’re defined by how likely they are to recommend the brand and are motivated by helping friends in their networks find a “good deal” or the “best fit.”
Here’s the catch: Only 18 percent of people trust influencers, whereas 92 percent of people trust brand advocates. With that, here’s a simple, four-step process to guide your crafting of a stellar social strategy to create powerful brand advocates. Happy influencing.
1. Identify potential advocates
Segment your audiences to identify regular fans from super fans, and then keep track of them. How? Create private lists on Twitter, keep a living list of your 100 greatest brand advocates and treat them like you do your friends on your personal social media networks — know what they’re up to and use that knowledge to create meaningful conversation.
2. Converse with potential advocates
3. Convert potential advocates
4. Leverage advocate-generated content
5. Finally, keep track of and optimize your results
Read Rob’s full blog at entrepreneur.com.