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Still shouting on social? Try a little advocacy instead

Whilst many brands still focus on broadcasting their messages and signing up ‘faces’ of their brand to do the same, smarter ones are looking on how to win their hearts and minds through advocacy and engagement. Here’s why engagement is our favourite numbers game…

For a digital advocacy campaign to be successful, engagement is your bread and butter – and this should go way beyond Instagram likes.

In an overcrowded online market, the potential benefits of a successful digital advocacy campaign are boundless. Like it or not, millennials aren’t interested in the bombastic voice of a brand shouting about how great they are. Broadcast alone won’t resonate – today’s customers are a way more media savvy these days and know exactly how advertising works.

Change has occurred; people trust other people to tell them the truth, in a way they often don’t trust a brand itself. No sales targets, no ulterior motive, just a genuine interest in informing others about a great or terrible experience with a product or service. Unsurprisingly, consumer reviews are trusted almost 12 times more than descriptions from manufacturers – which makes attracting genuine advocates (not paid bloggers) absolutely key.

Though advocates will rarely enjoy the social following of influencers, harnessing the power of advocates on a large scale offers a powerful opportunity to encourage and reinforce a strong affinity with your brand. It goes without saying then, that running a successful digital advocacy campaign is all about nurturing an authentic customer experience.

With 68% of millennials placing trust in online reviews, it’s not what you say; it’s what your customers say, that’s important – and you can influence this positively by improving customer service strategies; responding and listening to feedback and sharing and engaging with user-generated content.

As business strategist Jay Baer put it at the Uberflip Experience Conference in Toronto last year:

“Customer service is the new marketing because as it shifts online it becomes part of the marketing story.”

People who complain are actually taking their time to tell us what we can do better and that’s a gift.”

With this in mind, common sense would suggest that a consumer advocacy campaign underpinned by excellent customer service will ensure the growth of an organic fan-base; one who will rave about your brand on social media, share your content, write positive reviews and recommend you to their friends and family.

At Four Engage, we have developed and trademarked our own methodology, Mapper360TM, to understand identify, target and connect with your brand’s most high value audiences, in order to help you find your next customers and nurture those relationships with relevant campaigns and content. Knowing your audience will allow you to develop unique content that people are more likely to positively engage in – and understand how best to meet their needs should any service issues or queries arise.

When put into action, we are able to drastically improve engagement rates on social channels – a recent campaign delivered an increase in Facebook engagement of 1,974% within 4 weeks.

It’s all about knowing your customers and viewing fanbases and prospects as real people, not as a homogenous database. By understanding the motivations, barriers, hopes and fears of your audiences, you can confidently reply to comments, respond to tweets and offer incentives and rewards to advocates, reinforcing a consistent and authentic brand message across all channels and creating solid foundations for customers at any stage of the purchase or consideration journey.

As a highly effective way to improve your brand image and reputation, incorporating an advocacy campaign into your digital strategy can create ripple effects that will form big waves later down the line.

Indeed, in a climate where noisy advertising messages dominate the landscape both online and offline, a personal touch and an authentic message can make all the difference between getting lost in the crowd, and being a brand that customers immediately recognise and trust.

View our latest campaign results here

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