Last week we broke down the basic ins-and-outs of an Advocacy Marketing Program, or the umbrella program that you use to organize and activate your Everyday Fans and brand advocates. Brands utilize Advocacy Marketing Programs (AMPs) for a host of reasons including increasing organic reach, distributing content, building 3rd party trust and increasing brand loyalty, just to name a few.As with most other marketing tactics, the more forethought you put into an AMP program, the greater the success of the program (sweet, sweet marketing ROI). We’ve looked across the breadth of our clients, to look for common factors that lead to a successful advocacy marketing program. Regardless of the specific goals of your AMP, be sure to keep in mind the below successful factors to start a successful advocacy marketing program.
Best Practices To Start A Successful Advocacy Marketing Program
First and foremost, a strong advocacy marketing program is built on two pillars: recruitment & content.
Remember, the reach of your program is directly related to how many people are in the program. Each person that joins your program brings with them their entire social network. The more people in the program, the greater the reach, the stronger the engagement, and the better the ROI.
But how do you get people to join your program?
Many brand leaders feel that it’s almost impossible to get people into advocacy programs and that “No one would actually want to sign up to share their content” (shudder)! At SocialToaster, we’ve done the legwork and combed our way through the scientific journals to prove that, yes indeed, there are scores of people that want to join your program just because!
- Because they want to be seen as an expert in their social sphere
- Because they enjoy your product and want to share it with their friends and family
- Because they want to better define themselves to their social networks
- Because your brand has provided them with a top-notch experience and they want to “give a bit back”
- And the greatest reason, because they want to get their hands on your content first!
The key to your program’s success is to understand the main motivation of your target demographic. Sure, not everyone is going to join your advocacy marketing program, but your program isn’t FOR everybody. Your program is for your brand advocates. Build a program that they can’t wait to join, that speaks to their motivation, and watch your membership grow!
It doesn’t do any good to have loads of people sitting in an AMP and have nothing for them to share! Great content is the lifeblood of a successful advocacy program. In general, the better the content, the stronger the ROI. Brands should invest in creating content that aligns with their target audience and that audience’s motivation. Strong pieces of content could include anything from:
- A blog post detailing your newest product launch
- A YouTube video showing off the latest lifestyle feature of your product
- An infographic that breaks down key benefits provided by your product
- A podcast sharing tips and tricks for your market space
The key factors are to produce content that’s useful, provides value and is easily digestible.
Other Success Factors of an AMP
While recruitment and content are primary, there are a couple other key secondary success factors to keep in mind:
Program Goals – Internally, you should set solid goals for what you want to get out of your advocacy program. At SocialToaster, we recommend goals tied to Engagement and Earned Media Value, as those are most directly aligned to calculating ROI. As a marker for success, our top clients on average see an 8x to 10x return on earned media from their fan advocacy program. Many brands use EMV metrics for other marketing channels. So, using these metrics for their AMP helps provide an apples-to-apples comparison. Not great with math, don’t worry, our platform calculates Earned Media Value automatically for you!
Brand Alignment – An advocacy marketing program should be a natural extension of the brand. If you’re a well-loved yogurt shop, you wouldn’t want to start a program centered around hedge fund equities, would you? Disconnected programs confuse fans and makes it harder to drive recruitment.
Long-term Focus – An advocacy marketing program is a multi-month engagement that builds over time. People are going to join in waves, not in a single giant rush. Further, you’ll want to lean on members for as long as possible to build that ROI. We recommend at minimum a 3-month focus, though programs of 6 months to 3 years are the most common.
Incentives/Prizing – Don’t be stingy when it comes to the incentives! Incentives shouldn’t be the main reason someone joins the program (that’s the job of your content and recruitment strategy). However, they are a way for you to give back and reward your members for their continued involvement in the program! You don’t have to give away cruises, but you’ll want to ensure that incentives are both noteworthy and aligned to your demographic.
Frequency – Hand in hand with what content to post is the question, “How often should I post?” Post too much, and you’ll push people away. Too little, and you’re not leveraging your advocates as best you can. How often will you post? 2x a week is our recommendation.
Continual Growth – Successful programs are always adding new members. Whether it’s through referral recruitment, post-sale asks or direct recruitment via Facebook ads, you should constantly be looking for ways to grow your membership base.
Reporting/Analysis – Lastly, be sure to peek under the hood and crunch some numbers. If you start to notice specific patterns or find content that is resonating, act on that data! Produce more of that type of content, send posts out at the times you see the greatest engagement. Analyze your program and make real time changes to push that ROI.
Remember, the goal of an Advocacy Marketing Program is to bring all your fans under a single umbrella program to activate them on social media. To be successful, you must understand what motivates your advocates and build your AMP from there.