5 simple examples of brand advocacy

March 25th, 2015

Brand advocacy can help boost consumer trust in your brand, introduce your products to a new audience and even increase sales volumes all this just from brand advocates telling their stories. But who are brand advocates, and how can you help them to speak up?

Brand advocates are people who enjoy your product or service so much that they want to share their stories with others. They don’t have to have a lot of Facebook friends, an influential blog, or a high Klout score, they just need to be genuinely happy with your product or service.

Research shows that brand advocates are 70% more likely to be seen as a source of reliable information1, and can be extremely helpful when targeting Millennials, who trust user-generated content 50% more than other media2.

Below are five great examples of brands on Facebook that have encouraged its advocates to tell their own stories.

Tesco

The supermarket chain regularly post updates asking their Facebook fans questions, giving them the chance to share a memory of their favourite product, a family tradition, or even a picture of their pet. These kinds of activities help fans get into the habit of speaking to a brand, and allow them to interact with the page without a pushy sales message.

ASDA

Such is the value of brand advocacy for ASDA that they have gone as far as to let their advocates’ content almost take over its Facebook page. The brand regularly posts pictures and quotes about products, from praise for food items, to stories of long-loved children’s toys. These consistently receive over 1,000 likes and help ASDA to show the brand’s human side. Posts such as these also help to create a sense of community, making fans feel like they are part of something special.

Ikea

One of the easiest ways to prompt advocates to share their enthusiasm for your brand is by creating a contest. Ikea showed how effective this tactic can be through their #JoyOfStorage campaign, which asked Facebook fans to post pictures of Ikea products in their homes to win a prize. These photos served as a mini advertising campaign for Ikea products and helped to inspire other fans. The brand created an album of these on their page so they are still available to view post campaign.

Yorkshire Tea

This iconic British tea brand subtly encourages its Facebook community to get involved with their social activities. They focus on establishing a community of brand advocates by regularly featuring fans’ photos of the product on their page. Easy tactics like this can help to slowly build advocacy, which makes it easier for the brand to reach out to fans for help in the future.

Slimming World

On its Facebook page the brand regularly posts images of ‘top slimmers’ along with their success stories, championing their efforts. These posts act as customer reviews for their products and plans, and are seen as credible by the target audience. Slimming World also often ask fans to share their transformation pictures in the comments on a status, giving advocates the perfect opportunity to relay their stories to others while subtly, and often unconsciously, promoting Slimming World.

One last thing to note about content from brand advocates – you do need permission to use it. If you run a contest asking for user-generated content, the terms and conditions should make it clear that any content submitted may be used for marketing purposes. However, if you discover content featuring your brand outside of a specific campaign, it’s vital that you obtain permission from the content creator before you use this.

In summary, real-life stories from brand advocates can be much more powerful than traditional marketing messages, as they can provoke genuine emotion and are often very memorable. In fact research suggests that user-generated content is 20% more effective on purchase consideration that any other form of social media3. Social media provides fans with the perfect channel to become brand advocates by sharing their love of a brand and being recognised for it, while helping to influence purchase decisions and potentially attracting a new audience.
By simply empowering your current customers, you can help to create new ones.

Jessica Gow is Community Executive at Headstream

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