Don’t Be Misled: Your Most Important Brand Advocates Do More Than Just Like You on Facebook.
There’s been a lot of chatter about the power of brand advocacy and how social media accelerates it. And for good reason: It’s true. But some people still believe social networks are the only place where brand advocates are influencing buying decisions. That’s where they get it wrong.
Your brand advocates aren’t just your online fans. They’re an immensely influential group that comes in contact with your brand daily. They’re people like retail associates and industry professionals whose passion for their category and regular product use make them trusted experts. These are the people customers turn to for advice on what to buy.
Once you engage with these groups and educate them on your brand and your products, you activate a word-of-mouth marketing machine with the potential to significantly boost your sell-through rates and deliver an impressive return on investment. In fact, in a recent Experticity-sponsored survey of retail experts, 71% reported that they were extremely likely to recommend brands they were knowledgeable about.
Who are these experts and potential brand advocates? And just where can you find them? They’re not just on the sales floor, but also on the slopes, at the beauty salon, in the yoga studio, and beyond. Here’s how one top brand discovered and engaged with them.
Diamondback shifts brand advocacy into high gear
Diamondback, a leading bike manufacturer, is among the many brands getting behind the idea of building brand advocacy among those who influence purchase decisions—both on and off the sales floor. The company partnered with Experticity to engage dealers, techs, and enthusiasts, simplify the product education process, provide insider pricing to industry professionals, and create a consistent message across its vast customer base. The results were telling:
- Increase in advocate sales of 147% in the first year
- Increase in advocate sales of 166% in the second year
- Large spikes in activity on both the website and Facebook
- Successful certification of 13,000 key influencers on new product details
In a recent case study, Diamondback national account representative Tony Eder said, “We have more techs and enthusiasts riding our bikes than ever before. From the sales floors to the trails, the buzz is everywhere and getting stronger. That’s the sort of exposure every bicycle manufacturer strives for.”
Of course, these advocates aren’t keeping their enthusiasm for Diamondback’s products to themselves. They’ve started a word-of-mouth-driven wave of interest in the brand. They’re writing and talking about Diamondback both offline and on social media, and the brand is seeing returns not only in sales, but also in significantly increased engagement with its website, social media sites and online videos. The result? Dealer demand for Diamondback’s high-end bikes has soared.
“It’s the best way to address the largest audience and provide your brand advocates with catered product information, education and training,” Eder said. “The ROI will follow.”
Power up brand advocacy where it matters most
This isn’t to say that investment in social media marketing is wasteful. But before you start allocating dollars to online campaigns, ask yourself: Do you have the advocate base to help you maximize your reach? The fact remains that word-of-mouth marketing amplifies the effect of all other paid marketing campaigns by 15%, according to Ed Keller of marketing research firm The Keller Fay Group. Can your brand afford not to leverage these people?
So far, 680 brands have partnered with Experticity to connect with the people who have the power to influence what customers buy. Want to learn more about how your brand can engage, inform, and reward the people who influence purchase decisions and drive sales? Connect with us here.