Companies are recently looking to turn their customers into strong and passionate brand advocates, who can represent the company’s happy and satisfied customers and are more than eager to spread positive word of mouth, by sharing the praise on social media and other platforms.

Let’s have a close look at how you can use the social media to transform your customers into brand advocates.

Interactive Platform

There are stronger chances of converting customers to advocates if they are provided with a proper channel and platform to express their opinions and share their experiences with other customers, or even potential customers for that matter.

Creating an environment or community where customers can communicate with each other, and help others through ideas, tips and solutions will result in successful brand advocacy and a stronger bond for the future.

Online forums, blogs and social media websites are a good way to generate conversations, which increases clarity about the company’s products and services.

Encourage word- of- mouth

In order to cultivate positive word of mouth and spread the message to customers, it is important to first build on quality relationships with the customers. Listen to their opinions and let them know their voice is being heard. Ensure they know their suggestions matter and are not being ignored.

This builds confidence in customers, who feel responsible and loyal towards your company and put in an effort to help new customers and guide them towards maximum utilization of your products. This grows to become a cycle, with each customer turning into a brand advocate and pulling prospective customers towards the brand.

Give your advocates enough information and insight into your brand, to assist them with helping other customers and make them feel like a part of the company. This could be as simple as taking notice of their helpful comments for your other customers or suggestions online. You can thank them for making the effort and further engage.

Collect Data and Improve

Have your marketing and research team keep a close look out on what customers are sharing and commenting on. Look closely into what customers are getting excited about, or which feature of a new launch is troubling them the most. This will give you a good insight into what customer’s value and how they view your company.

Listen to customer feedback and involve them on a deeper more personal level to know their opinion and how they would like the services to improve and where other customers are finding loopholes or what complaints are being made. Data coming right from the customer is a much more useful source of information, than published analysis. Improvements must be made, if the company is looking to grow and build everlasting relationships with the customers. This data can be used to provide superior products and services in the future.

An example of a company, Folica, can be seen to understand the importance of brand advocates. Folica is a famous retailer of health and beauty products, which realized that their website was receiving a lot of referrals, but the company had no way to identify them. They decided to engage their customers by motivating them to share the secrets of great hair on social media platforms, such as twitter etc.

After a time period of 30 days, the company’s social Referral Program had recognized 6,000 brand advocates. Each advocate had an average of four shares, with 21000 shares collected through Facebook, twitter and email. This successful effort led to a 16 percent conversation rate by the program.

Contests and Rewards

While it is essential that quality customer experiences and first-rate customer service in key to creating brand advocates, it is also important to penetrate into the social media world and encourage quality communication.

Post content which attracts customer attention and brings them to comment or share that content. Keep small competitions and contests for customers, which can be done by asking company or product related questions. Not only does this deliver entertainment for customers, but also collects information about what customers like and what product knowledge customers have. Small quizzes are also a smart way to get customers to share product knowledge with the company and others on social media platforms.

Gifts or discounts can be given as prizes for the contest winners. Rewards can also be given to motivated advocates who constantly stay with the company and bring in referrals.

Another example of generating sales through brand advocates and successful customer engagement would be, the example of J. Hilburn, a retail brand, which had been seeing many referrals come in from their happy customers and decided to make the most out of it. The company gave its customers $50 for every friend they referred and asked them to share the information on social media platforms to invite friends.

This resulted in finding of brand advocates who were rewarded for their efforts and loyalty towards the company. For each referred customer who spent more than $100 got a $50 discount on their purchase. In the time span of 45 days, 1000 customers had brought in referrals. This led to an average of 12 shares per brand advocate, with a total of 10,000 shares through social media. As a result of this successful brand advocacy campaign there were 600 transactions, which generated over $250,000 in sales.