Advocacy marketing programs are a boon to any professional service and IT company’s marketing strategy (B2B marketing). They help reduce market churn, increase customer satisfaction, build brand awareness, increase social media reach, and (most importantly) drive sales. However, they can’t do any of that if advocates aren’t engaging with your content!
In a world full of boring professional service and IT company marketing, it’s up to your brand to create content that consumer advocates can’t wait to share to their networks.
Most professional service and IT company advocacy marketing programs come in two flavors:
A) Employee Advocacy Programs – An advocacy program that utilizes your employees to share your branded content to their social channels.
B ) Consumer-Focused Programs – An advocacy program that relies on your current customers, clients, and partners to share your content to their networks.
By focusing on converting your end-users into advocates, you can empower your brand’s greatest fans to market your company for you. Case in point:
- Customers who were referred by advocates have a 37% higher retention rate.
- 91% of B2B buyers are influenced by word-of-mouth when making their buying decision. [USM]
Need more convincing?
- A study by Implisit found that (for professional service company clients) customer and employee referrals got more than double the leads of other marketing channels.
Successful consumer-focused B2B advocacy marketing programs know how important it is to strike a balance between:
Being Useful: Your content must provide value to your advocates.
Being Fun: Your consumers work all day every day, don’t ask them to do more work by being in your program. Make it a fun break from their daily grind.
What It Takes to Engage Your Consumer Advocates
1) Know Your Advocates
Drop that keyboard and step away from Photoshop! Before you even think about creating content for your advocacy marketing program, you need to be sure you know what content your advocates actually WANT.
It seems simple, but most marketers (ourselves included), are guilty of being a little too cocky when it comes to assuming what content our clients and advocates want to receive. Engaging advocacy marketing programs deliver what the audience wants to read, not what the brand wants to share.
Start by looking at your support queries and commonly asked sales questions. Chances are, if your customers have a specific recurring question, your prospecting customers do too. Be sure to ask your current advocates what type of content they want to share. Learn what motivates your advocates; are they looking to:
- Build a name for themselves an expert on a certain topic?
- Provide value to other colleagues?
- Show off for a potential career move?
Identify the driving motivation of your advocates, then create content that meets this motivation.
Pro Tip: If you’re on the SocialToaster advocacy marketing platform, you can use our internal quiz and poll functionality to directly solicit feedback from your program advocates.
2) Sprinkle on The Fun
If your content comes across as dull, boring, or eye-crossingly lame, no one is going to want to share it. If you want to encourage engagement, make your content fun to engage with. This doesn’t mean your next sales video has to look like a long-lost episode of America’s Funniest Home Videos, but it does mean that you should step away from the clinical, technical approach and experiment with some alternative, lighter content.
Fun content helps to humanize a brand. It makes people remember that behind the accounting software or micro-transaction dashboard, there are real people that are probably worth getting to know. Start by:
- Introducing Humor into Your Content – No one expects the next Seinfeld to be working for a mid-level asset protection agency, but that doesn’t mean you can’t crack an occasional joke or take a lighter approach when you showcase how you solve a common problem.
- Encourage Fun Activities and Challenges – Consider running fun Instagram or hashtag challenges to encourage your advocates to create User-Generated Content on your behalf. Let your advocates stretch their creative muscle and give them the tools they need to create their own fun break at work.
3) Create Video Content
Video killed the blogging star. While blogs and infographics still have their place in the world of content and advocacy marketing, video content earns the highest levels of engagement and sharing. Video doesn’t have to be overly complex (or expensive). A simple, well-lit shot of an employee explaining a new product feature or answering key client questions is usually enough to meet the video needs of your advocates.
Look at your content calendar, and for every written post, ask yourself, “Could this post be a video instead?” Have your team shoot something simple and short and publish it in lieu of (or alongside) the written piece.
4) Show Off That Case Study
An expert learns from their own failures or successes; a genius learns from the failures or successes of others. Most brands in an industry experience the same types of problems. Sure, the exact specifics may vary, but the basics of the problem are typically consistent. By giving your advocates case studies to share, you allow that advocate to have a role in solving a problem for others in their network. You also prove you have the ability to solve the problem at hand.
5) Shout it Out
As your advocates share your content on their social media channels, be sure you’re rewarding them for their loyalty and participation. While gift cards and branded swag are always welcome, consider giving a social media shout-out or LinkedIn recommendation when an advocate reaches a certain point of investment. Shout-outs and recommendations can have a huge impact on someone’s career and help to foster a stronger advocacy connection.
Pro Tip: When selecting an advocacy marketing platform, be sure to choose one that automatically tallies and awards points for completing various advocacy actions. SocialToaster makes it easy for brands to track an advocates participation.
No matter how much they love you, the average consumer isn’t going to magically share every piece of content your produce. It’s up to you, the brand, to produce the content for your professional service or IT company that your consumer advocates crave!
Get started with your B2B advocacy program today! Schedule a free demo to learn how SocialToaster makes it easy for brands to manage and reward their advocates.