I don’t know about you, but when I find a brand I like, I tell people about it. I post pictures of it on Facebook or “like” the brand’s Facebook page or Tweet about my experience on Twitter. That word of mouth often initiates a discussion that has people (hopefully) considering purchasing that product the next time they go grocery shopping.
Word of mouth has always been one of the most powerful ways to get the word out about a product. For this reason, a new social media term has emerged that gives social media marketers something interesting to talk about. “Brand Advocacy” happens when a consumer is so excited about a product, he or she “advocates” the “brand” to friends and family. With the holiday season coming up, small businesses are realizing the value of having brand advocates act as cheerleaders for their products or services.
“Most retailers get 30 to 40 percent of their profits during the holiday shopping season,” Rob Fuggetta, CEO and Founder of social media marketing firm Zuberance, says. ” If retailers and manufacturers are only relying on price-slashing and ads to make their cash register ring this holiday season, they’re overlooking a powerful weapon in their marketing arsenal: their enthusiastic, social-media-powered customers.”
To activate your brand advocates just in time for the 2012 holiday season, Fuggetta recommends the following five tips:
- Ask for positive reviews. As Fuggetta points out, studies have shown that four out of five customers would reverse a purchase decision based on negative reviews spotted online. Occasionally invite your advocates to post positive reviews on their experiences with your business.
- Provide deals and invite your advocates to share. If the deal is great and your advocate believes in your product, that advocate will share the deal through social media and e-mails to friends. Send the offer to your advocates and invite them to share with others.
- Recommended purchases are less likely to result in shopping cart abandonment. Shopping cart abandonment is a real problem at Christmastime. Forrester Research has found that seven out of 10 shopping carts are abandoned before the end of a transaction. By encouraging your advocates to share the word and send friends over, you’ll be more likely to see the deal follow through.
- Click-through rates are higher. By encouraging your customers to provide reviews and testimonials, you’ll enjoy as much as a 50% increase in click-throughs.
- Stop advertising, start saving. By encouraging your advocates to share and refer, you’ll save as much as 54% of what other marketing channels would charge for the same return.
Consider incentives, like rewards for “likes” and retweets, to encourage your advocates to share the word with the world at large. For the price of a few hundred coupons, you may be able to bring in large crowds this Christmas season.