Your online brand advocates are more than just loyal customers – they are the most authentic, trustworthy and influential source of information about your brand. If you are a start-up, they can facilitate brand awareness in no time!
According to latest research, online brand advocacy (OBA) is “a strong, purposeful and non-incentivised online representation of your brand and your brand’s best interest”. Brand advocates are your brand voice, they humanise your brand and will defend your brand in a time of need by ‘speaking on your behalf’ to their virtual networks. They elicit in-depth brand knowledge, positivity and virtual positive expression of emotion in support of your brand. Most importantly, they influence other customers’ purchase decision making.
So, how do you identify and nurture your Online Brand Advocates?
Here are some tips I gave at a recent webinar:
· Listen to and monitor digital channels for brand mentions.
· Initiate and participate in online community discussions.
· Be present and engage regularly with online content about your brand.
· Encourage and use social proof – customer stories through reviews, ratings, and testimonials.
· Use brand or campaign-specific hashtags to connect user-generated content (UGC) about your brand.
· Create integrated, experiential and buzz building campaigns – think shareability factor!
Are online brand advocates part of your digital marketing strategy? If so, share with us in the comments below.