Last week, we wrote a blog post about social commerce and its place in the marketing mix. Today, we are going to focus on one aspect of it, specifically the process of building brand advocates through social media. Building sustained brand advocacy is one of the most promising aspects of this new channel.
Brands often drive their social media strategy by finding influencers to partner with. Brand advocates are different from brand influencers. Influencers are important people from your industry, while brand advocates are satisfied customers that have bought and been happy with your products. The age of pervasive commerce gives brands the opportunity to build a personal and trusting relationship with consumers that they can nurture in the long term.
This survey done by Social Media Link shows that Facebook is the most trusted resource for brand recommendations. 68% of over 10,000 people that they surveyed trust Facebook over all other social media channels for brand recommendations from friends and family. This is a sign of the complicated and layered nature of marketing. On the one hand, our existence is being largely governed by technology and our reliance on it is undeniable. On the other hand, statistics like this show that there is a human element still critical to building trust.
Nurturing relationships with brand advocates gives you an insight into their stories. That is the most appealing aspect to consumers who take recommendations from friends and family on Facebook. What was their use case? How was the experience? And the factor that contributes most to the trust element for potential customers is the fact that these recommendations are organic.
So once you’ve identified your brand advocates (there are social media analytics tools that can help you do that), what do you do to keep them? One thing to do is send them new products to use and review, and encourage them to talk about you not just on Facebook, but also their personal blogs if they have one. The approach here though is that you have to focus on the relationship building piece of the equation. You don’t want the brand advocate or the people that rely on them to think that they are being pushed. It’s important to maintain that authenticity.
You can also delight brand advocates by making sure that they get personalized and customized offers. This is a pool of people that you already know a lot about in terms of preferences and shopping behavior. So if a brand has deep and rich information about their product assortment, mix, pricing, availability, promotions, they can easily tailor the right offer to target them with. This will not only delight the advocate but also create a memorable experience for them where they know that the brand cares about them. Businesses will be able to thrive in this new era of commerce if they know how to marry technology with relationship building in the right way.