What’s the quickest way to build a brand? If one person refers your brand to another and that person also does the same, can you imagine how quickly your brand can grow?
Brand referrers are usually considered as loyal users of your products and services. After all, they will not refer your brand to another person unless they have a compelling reason to do that. And it doesn’t mean that you have to pay them to get them to promote you. In fact, some people promote brands just because they liked the product or service.
This is where brand advocates come in. Brand advocates are people who are not only loyal to the brand but also promote the brand to other people. They can do this through simple word-of-mouth by talking either to a family member or a friend. But they can also do this by posting a review on social media channels, writing an in-depth review in a blog or reviewing a product or service through a video. In this generation, there are already tons of ways for customers to reach out to their favorite brands just to show their appreciation.
Now, you may be wondering how you can have brand advocates. Good question. While brand advocates may naturally come from providing superior products and services, there is still a proactive way to get them. Below are some of these strategies.
1 - Start with Your Employees
Starting at the bottom of the ladder can be devastating. Not only do you need to work in promoting your brand, there is also the role of social proof that prevents people from liking a brand that nobody is supporting. So how can you get the ball rolling?
The answer is your employees. If you are a new brand, you’ll want to get as many people that you know to like your social media pages and support your content. Your employees can jumpstart this process. You only need to assign them to manage your pages and blog.
Another way to leverage your employees is to treat them as brand referrers. Instead of just asking them to do certain tasks that can promote your brand, you can also ask them to promote the product or service to their family and friends. Since they are going to promote the brand to people who are close to them, their referral is stronger. Why’s that? It is because the referral comes from a close friend or relative. The result is that the referred will most likely act on the promotion.
2 - Reward Referrers
Similarly, you can just implement a referral campaign. For example, Uber gives free rides to new users. They are willing to do this so that their users will be more excited to share the app with other people. PayPal has also done this but they used cash instead. In the old days when PayPal is just starting out, they paid users for every sign up. The result is that people became more aggressive in getting more signups to their website. Now, they are the biggest online payment processor in the entire world.
There are different models of referral programs that you can use. You can choose to reward the referrer or the friend. In some cases, the company may just choose to reward both. Aside from who to reward, you should also consider the prize. Will you give away some cash, a discount voucher or a product? That will depend on what you can give.
3 - Customer Service is Key
It is impossible to get brand advocates if you don’t have superior customer service. This is needed if you want people to start talking about your brand. No one wants to share a product or service of a brand that just ignores customers after they buy. If you do that, customers will feel cheated and you will never hear from them again. Sure, you made that sale. But that is the last sale that you will get from them. Ultimately, people want a brand that they can trust.
You see, selling a product doesn’t end in the actual sale. The after sales service is just as important as the actual sale. Why do you need to do that? Customer loyalty is the answer. There is a reason why Apple provides warranties and after sales services to their customers. Aside from the peace of mind in knowing that the company will stand by them in case something goes wrong with their gadgets, they know that this simple action will help customers remember them when they want to purchase a new gadget or computer. In fact, customer service is so important that some people buy an item just because of it. The assurance that they can return the item in case they don’t like it really goes a long way.
4 - Go the Extra Mile
Do you remember that sales lady or salesman that goes through the extra effort of doing different things for you before and after you buy? I got to admit that there are cases where I buy a product or service just because the saleslady or salesman is so nice. And it is not because they are so pushy or so convincing. They are just so nice. The act can be as simple as looking for the best stock for you or looking for a way to add something to what you just bought. You’ll always appreciate that extra effort.
Now, this is one way to get brand advocates. By going the extra mile, you engrave your brand in your customer’s mind. Kindness will not go unnoticed. In most cases, customers would be more than happy to return the favor by buying or referring your brand to other people. This is the law of reciprocation. Once you do something nice for a person, they are always raring to reciprocate that act in any way. You can use this to your benefit by going the extra mile for your customers.
5 - Look for Social Media Influencers
We live in a generation of social media. Aside from traditional media like television, radio and print, we now have social media channels that we can use to promote products and services. Social media is not limited to Facebook. There is also Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.
Now, as social media members grow in number, so does social media influencers. These are people that managed to get a considerable amount of followers on social media. They may not be celebrities in traditional media but they are celebrities to their followers.
You can leverage social media influencers to promote your brand. Once you get them as your brand advocate, you can see your follower count grow as well. The good news is that it is not that hard to approach them. As long as you have a product that is relevant to their niche, they would often be happy to do a review for you.
Why are social media influencers a good source of brand leverage? There are three reasons. One, social media influencers already have some followers that you can leverage. Next, they don’t get a lot of fan mail for them to filter you out. Third, they don’t worry so much about sponsorships. Instead, they are more than happy to review your products as long as you give it to them for free.
6 - Attend Niche-Focused Events
Once you launch your brand, your goal should be to get the word out to as many people as you can. Aside from looking for social media influencers, you should also aim to get your brand out in your niche. The best way to do this is to rub elbows in niche-focused events.
For example, a toy seller could sell more if he attends the yearly Toy Conference. This is an event that happens once a year that showcases the biggest toy brands in the world. The attendees are often toy collectors and toy enthusiasts. In any case, these are the people that have the highest chance of buying from a toy seller.
As you can see, the simple act of attending an event can create a powerful promotion strategy for your business. You just need to have the courage to get yourself out there.
7 - Create Mini Meetups
In some niches, a meetup may be ideal. In the creative planning niche for example, the number of people that engage in it may be limited and isolated. Often, they are stay-at-home moms who love to craft or crafters who love to stay at home. Given the nature of the target market, a meetup may be ideal. This will allow them to see each other and share their interests. The best part? The meetup is personal. It is face-to-face. It is the perfect place to promote a brand with guaranteed success.
Think about it this way. Let us say that you have attended a planner meetup and someone who is selling stickers approached you to show you what they have created. Since you have attended the meetup with the goal of sharing your interest with other people, you will be open to their promotion. You may even end up buying the stickers. That is the power of meetups.
NOTE: A word of warning - This will not work in every niche. You need to know the nature of the niche before arranging this. But if the market is open to personal or one-on-one promotions, then this may work. And it may even get you some very loyal brand advocates.
8 - Look for Celebrities on Social Media
We live in an age where everyone is within our reach. It doesn’t matter if a person is a celebrity. If he or she has a social media account, then that person can be reached online.
You can leverage this to your benefit by finding your brand advocates through celebrity reviews. Here’s how it works. You contact them about your offer and then tell them to leave a review if they liked it. Sometimes, you don’t even need to ask them for a review. If your product exceeds their expectations and it is something that they are interested in, they will review it.
A few words of warning. It may be best to research your target celebrities before you send them anything. Remember, you are not entitled to a review simply because you have sent an item. Celebrities are already used to getting gifts from fans. So if you are just one of those people who send them random stuff, you will hardly get noticed. This is why research is essential. With it, you can look at the hobby of your target celebrity and see if he or she is within your target market. From there, you can make an offer.
9 - Follow Niche Bloggers or Vloggers
If celebrities are just too much for you, you can just look for niche bloggers or vloggers. These people often have a significant amount of followers and they have the means to promote your brand.
The process goes like this. You approach a blogger or vlogger in your niche about your products and services. If they are interested, you can give them a free test run or free sample. From there, you can ask them to give an honest review. That’s it.
Out of the two, I’d say that Vloggers are more powerful in terms of reviewing products and services. This is because they can often demonstrate the product or service in front of their audience through a video.
Getting other people to promote your products for you is the easiest way to promote your brand. With this, you no longer have to do the dirty work of hitting the pavement just to let other people know about your brand. Instead, other people will do all the work for you.
However, this will not happen without you. You need to set the stage for this to happen. You need to go out there and help people with your products and services. This is the only way to convince people to promote you.