Brand advocacy software tends to be focused on either employee advocacy or customer advocacy, although there are a small number of products that provide platforms for both employees and customers. Many companies find themselves focusing on one aspect of advocate marketing or the other when it really shouldn’t be an either/or situation. Companies that care about leveraging their supporters to promote their brand should be asking themselves “Why not both?” and consider adopting both to diversify their messaging, reach a variety of audiences, and amplify brand awareness in multiple channels.
Products in G2 Crowd’s Spring 2016 Brand Advocacy GridSM Report address these different types of advocacy.
Customer advocacy products focus on engaging your company’s clientele to share information and refer friends or colleagues to purchase products or make use of services. These products encourage customers to participate in campaigns for reviews, referrals, feedback, and more.
We live in an extremely vocal, social society where customers want to have their opinions heard and feel like they are part of the success of the brands they love. Studies show advocates are motivated to share and promote a brand because it makes them feel good; 54 percent of brand advocates communicate product information to relax. Customer advocacy programs capitalize on that desire to be heard and share opinions. Once you identify advocates, you can leverage your biggest fans to build awareness, provide feedback, and help refer new customers.
According to research by Nielsen, 92 percent of respondents trust recommendations from people they know above any other information source. As such, brand advocates can present a huge ROI for companies– oftentimes advocates promote a company they love for free, though some companies opt to incentivize their ambassadors and further strengthen their loyalty with swag, discounts, exclusive content, or gifts. While brand ambassadors get the validation and notoriety they desire your company will benefit from their positive feedback, endorsement in public forums, loyalty, and referrals by capitalizing on the power of their word-of-mouth.
Employee advocacy products, on the other hand, leverage a company’s own employees to advocate on behalf of the organization by sharing marketing content, providing company feedback, and sharing social posts, among other things.
The great thing about employee advocacy is that in most cases it’s not hard to find employees who want to help grow your message. As Jay Baer, Author and President of Convince & Convert, once said, “If your employees aren’t your biggest fans, you have problems bigger than social media.”
Your employees want to help grow your company, but oftentimes don’t feel empowered to do so.That’s where employee advocacy programs come in and can be mutually beneficial. By mobilizing employees, your company will be able to control messaging, reach new prospects, and hopefully increase revenue. Sharing engaging content related to your company can help an employee build their personal brand and foster relationships with clients. Software products that facilitate employee advocacy activities help streamline the process, ensuring employees are sharing appropriate content and letting them engage socially without it becoming a timesuck.
Companies should consider what kind of advocates they want to target to engage and promote their brand. While you may find that one aspect of advocate marketing is more appropriate for your business, it’s important to ask yourself, “Why not both?”. Users can utilize two separate products to address the different sides of brand advocacy, or make use of one of the products that address both.