What Is a Brand Advocate, and Why Are Advocates Important?

Who are brand advocates, why are they vital, and where can you find your best advocates? We cover all that and more.

Updated June 25, 2020

7 minute read

Contents

Contents

Brand advocates are people who promote your brand through word of mouth marketing. They’re vital to any marketing strategy, because people consult and trust the opinions of others. Let’s examine brand advocates in detail, including why their promotion of your brand is far more effective than traditional ads.

Brand Advocate Definition: Who Are Brand Advocates?

Brand advocates are real people who believe in your brand and want to see it succeed, and who genuinely and actively use your products. These people promote your brand by leaving positive reviews, making glowing posts on social media, creating other content centered on your brand, sharing one-on-one with friends, or through other forms of word of mouth.

Anyone who loves your brand, and who passionately promotes it via word-of-mouth, is one of your brand advocates. So, your advocates are usually your most loyal, enthusiastic customers, but they could also be your employees or partners.

Brand advocates usually choose to share your brand on their own, without prompting from your brand. Why? Simply because they love your brand and its products and want others to know about it. Their enthusiasm and excitement motivates others to check out the brand or product for themselves.

Brand Advocate Vs. Brand Ambassador

Sometimes, people use the terms “brand ambassador” and “brand advocate” interchangeably. Although brand ambassadors are technically a form of “brand advocate” (since they love your brand and share about you without prompting), ambassadors are long-term spokespeople that your brand formally recruits to represent you.

In contrast, brand advocates are more informal representatives than ambassadors. They aren’t bound by a set of rules and guidelines for promotion like ambassadors are, and don’t formally represent your brand at events. Thus, brand advocate marketing is less structured compared to ambassador marketing. However, many brands recruit informal brand advocates to eventually become formal ambassadors!

Benefits of Brand Advocate Marketing

What makes brand advocates so awesome? Let’s go over several major reasons.

Firstly, advocacy is free or nearly free marketing that helps you grow your brand organically. Brand advocates love you so much that they’ll share you whenever they can, whether it’s on social media, through emails, on their blogs, or in person. They have no shame in sharing frequently—they’re your biggest cheerleaders! Their word is a powerful form of marketing that will reach scores of potential customers at little to no cost to you. You won’t need to shell out thousands on traditional ads.

Secondly, brand advocates need no extrinsic incentive to share your brand. Most advocates will share you just because they genuinely love your brand or products—they’re motivated intrinsically.  Brand advocates aren’t primarily motivated to share by rewards or incentives (although it’s good practice for your brand to reward them with a small thank you for sharing, such as a free product, discount, or social media spotlight.)

Thirdly, brand advocates leave powerful positive reviews of you, usually without asking. Reviews are extremely important to your business, as most people seek out the reviews and opinions of people who have already had experience with a product or service before deciding whether to purchase it. People trust online reviews and consumer opinions, so having the opinions of your advocates on your side pays dividends!

Most importantly, brand advocates are trusted by their friends and followers! Your advocates’ friends will be motivated to try your products or services for themselves, and believe they’ll benefit from you, because they trust their peers and know that their peers would never intentionally mislead them. Trust is a powerful marketing tool— people trust their friends far more than they trust ads and other messaging that comes directly from your business.

Customer Satisfaction Builds Brand Advocates

How to turn clients into brand advocates? To create advocates, you’ll need to build solid foundations of customer satisfaction, with exceptional products and a commitment to stellar customer service.

  •  Be customer-centric.
    • Make all your business decisions with customers’ needs in mind, and you’re sure to create advocates.
    • Making your customers feel valued, and meeting their needs, will encourage their customer loyalty and word-of-mouth sharing.
  • Provide products or services that set themselves apart from the competition in quality.
    • Even better, create a product that meets customers’ needs in a unique way, so much so that you have no competition.
    • Often, people become brand advocates because they feel that a brand provides something no one else does.
  • Deliver top-notch customer service. Follow this article’s customer service tips for detailed strategies.
  • Listen to customers’ needs and concerns, and act on their feedback.
    • If customers have suggestions on how to make a product better, or your customer service better, implement them where possible (especially if many customers give similar suggestions).
    •  Showing customers you hear them is another awesome way to make them feel valued. After all, they’re the ones using your product or service. They’ll be sure to back you up by sharing your brand with their friends.
  • Finally, thank customers for supporting your brand. Especially when they share you—make sure they know they are appreciated, because you wouldn’t have a successful brand without them!

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Discover Brand Advocates: Who Are Your Existing Advocates?

Even though brand advocates are informal promoters, it’s crucial to know how to find them so you can further mobilize them and thank them for promoting your brand! You’ll also want to share their trusted words on your own channels, as user-generated content! Here’s how to find your biggest brand advocates:

  • Did one of your customers give you positive feedback in person, via email, or on the phone, without you prompting? They would make an awesome brand advocate, so encourage them to leave a review or refer their friends to you.
  • Look for people who have already posted glowing reviews or social media content about your brand. Social listening software, which tracks your brand’s mentions, can help (think Mention or Hootsuite).
  • Run a customer satisfaction survey, such as an NPS survey, to find out how likely your customers are to recommend your brand. Then, personally reach out those customers who say they’re most likely to promote you.
  • Use advocate marketing software to find and mobilize brand advocates (this has some overlaps with more formalized programs, like brand ambassador programs, so it might also help you create those types of structures).

Brand advocates provide a crucial form of marketing because people trust their word, and because they promote your brand at little to no cost to you. So, be sure to create, find, and mobilize brand advocates, to harness the power of word-of mouth marketing!

Check out Word of Mouth Uncovered for more on what makes word-of-mouth marketing so effective.

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