Social media is all about raising brand awareness, fostering customer loyalty, and extending online reach. Unfortunately, none of these would work without trust, which is earned through different strategies.
As far as trust-building goes, constantly sharing content — regardless of their being highly relevant or top-notch in terms of quality — can only get you so far. After all, with so many branded social media pages that do the same, why would the social media community give your brand special treatment?
This is where social media advocacy steps in. Put simply, it’s an approach where you leverage the individual authority of stakeholders rather than the company itself. As a result, you can utilize the collective reach of each person to spread your message, humanize your brand, and make your image more relatable.
Without further ado, here’s a closer look at each stakeholder type and their roles in social media advocacy:
No matter your niche, employees will serve as the primary engine of your social media advocacy campaign. Not only are they more approachable in the eyes of your audience, their collective reach is also significantly more massive. On average, an employee who is active in social media has 10 times more reach than the company’s network.
When it comes to employee advocacy, the most common strategy is to encourage them to share valuable content. You can do so with advocacy platforms like Smarp, which introduces gamification, perks, and other social networking elements to accelerate employee participation.
Smarp also comes with a user-friendly interface that resembles a social network. As the administrator, you can use a mix of branded and curated content for posts, which employees can easily discover and re-share on the news feed.
Although trust takes a lot of time to build, but it can collapse with a single mistake. For good measure, consider writing a disclaimer that the posts of your employees do not reflect the company’s views as a whole. A more effective solution, however, is to establish social media guidelines that control what employees can and can’t share on social media.
Often seen as the face of the company, the C-Suite (CEO, CFO, CIO, etc.) plays a major role in social media advocacy. Every post they share must be aligned with the brand’s vision and mission. More importantly, each of them must invest in building their personal brands, as they are usually in charge of communicating with popular influencers and co-marketing partners.
The CEO, in particular, must not underestimate the importance of a social media presence, especially in a world that lives on the internet. According to statistics, 77% of customers are more likely to purchase from a company with a “social CEO”. It also leads to better company communication, more transparency, and an improved brand image.
However, a CEO’s social media account must not be treated as an average content distribution channel. They must always be “in-the-know” when it comes to the latest trends, technology, and strategies in the market. Every single post must also be handmade and infused with the CEO’s own views and personality. And most importantly, they must also be ready to step in whenever needed, especially when addressing the concerns of the company’s target audience.
A social media listening tool like Mention can help executive leaders do all these from a single location. It works by tracking mentions of the company, its products, or just about any keyword that’s relevant in the brand’s niche.
Another advantage of using Mention is that you can engage posts directly on the platform. For example, if your brand was recently mentioned in a tweet, you can quickly reply, re-tweet, quote, or like it within a few clicks. It will also allow you to jump into conversations whenever experts and other online influential people discuss topics that matter in your industry.
When advocating for your brand, a CEO’s ultimate goal is to build a reputation as an influencer themself. Before they publish a post, it must be duly polished so that it’s coherent and impactful. Also, they must steer clear of controversial topics as much as possible. It may give the brand a burst of exposure, but that’s not worth being at the risk of social media fire.
Yes — your customers can also be considered as stakeholders, especially if they are invested in your company for the long-term. They can also be turned into powerful brand advocates through user-generated content, such as customer reviews and their own social media posts.
Keep in mind that word-of-mouth marketing is still most effective when it comes to generating buzz around a brand. Not only that, but it’s also incredibly powerful in convincing qualified leads that your products or services are worth investing in. Statistics show that 88% of consumers trust online reviews — as if they’re recommendations from people they personally know.
If you’re going purely for user-generated content, one strategy is to hold a social media hashtag contest. Simply ask them to post something related to your brand with a custom hashtag. And by performing a simple hashtag search, it should be easy for you to pick the best entries.
For customer reviews, you can automate a follow-up message that contains a review request with the help of an email marketing platform like MailChimp. These tools allow you to visually create workflows that trigger emails based on customer interactions.
Of course, asking customers up front for good reviews might leave the impression that you’ll patronize dishonesty for the sake of growth. If you are to automate review requests, encourage them to voice how they genuinely feel. Aside from their appreciation, they’ll also understand that you value authenticity in your culture.
Just like any other marketing strategy, social media advocacy is not a magic bullet. You always need a careful approach whenever attempting a strategy. That said, remember that the ideas above are merely outlines of what you can do to mobilize social media advocacy. Now that you’ve read about them, you still need to put in hours of research and planning to make them happen. Good luck!