If done strategically and creatively, targeting influencers can have great business value, but is more for creating short-term buzz than sustainable growth. Targeting influencers should be done in conjunction with connecting with your advocates.
Advocates are not necessarily buying your product or service. As Simon Sinek notes in Start With Why:
“Though products may drive sales, they alone cannot create loyalty. In fact, a company can create loyalty among people who aren’t even customers.”
The best example lies with Apple advocates and their ‘cult’ culture, many of whom help the company spread its message because they believe in Apple’s missions of creativity and innovation.
Here are some points on the power of advocates and how to best work with them to grow your/your client’s brand and business:
1. Advocates just want acknowledgement.
Advocates promote you because they are loyal to your brand/company and believe in your products/services. Reward them with acknowledgement and thanks – it will motivate them to continue to share their positive experiences and recommendations.
2. Advocates are interested in promoting you to their networks.
Working with influencers usually requires that you give them money or a gift in an effort to convince them to promote you to their network. Advocates are already interested in doing this – your story is a part of their story.
3. Advocates can help you reach your target market.
In Creating Customer Evangelists, Ben McConnell and Jackie Huba explain why advocates are an important part of sales and marketing:
“They know your target audience better than you because they are the target audience!”
Thus, working with your advocates puts you in direct access to the customers you are trying to reach.
4. Advocates will flag your errors and mistakes.
Many companies fear social media criticism. Advocates will note your mistakes with suggestions for improvement and solutions to help you implement them.
5. Advocates want you to succeed.
They love your company and want to see it be as successful as possible. Embrace and empower them.
Are your business and clients harnessing the power of advocates? Please share examples in the comments for a future round up post, or send them to @KelByrd.
Kelly is a traveler, New York native, public relations and social media professional, avid music lover, techie, and psychologist. She is passionate about enabling meaningful conversations and connections via the social web, believes that learning is lifelong and enjoys discovering new tactics to create and sustain brand identity and influence and maintain advocates.