Scaling Your Social Media with Advocacy Programs
Everyone wants to have a successful Social Media strategy; a Facebook page, a Twitter account & participation in forums and other social platforms. The problem is that the conversations about your products and services are going through the roof, or hopefully are, but your staff is staying the same size. What are your options?
- Hire more people
- Move your communications to your customer service group
- Build a customer advocacy program
Hiring more people is not a viable option. You can never hire enough people to communicate with a successful social media program. Moving to your already burdened customer service group will not fare much better.
Build a customer advocacy program
A customer advocacy program has at least two basic levels
- External bloggers
- Consumers in outside forums
How to build your customer advocacy program
- Identify bloggers in your product/service space that write about your space on a consistent basis and are willing to be interact with you on an ongoing basis.
- Give them good content others won’t get.
- Decide how you will award your blogger advocates. It is best to not do this with money. Offer products for review, access to product managers for interviews and recognition in other places.
- Identify highly respected members in relevant forums
- Look for members with a high number of posts and “thanks” from fellow members
- Communicate and educate them with them with new product and industry information
- Reward them in a similar manner as the bloggers. Give them products to review and help them answer questions in the forums
You’ll need a certain number of internal members to manage these efforts but a lot less than one-on-one.
How does this work in practice?
At The Speaker Company we gave away 2-3 products a month to bloggers and relevant forum members. The products almost always resulted in an extensive review post which was honest and usually positive and caused threads that extended into the hundreds of post. Blogger reviews were consistently positive and resulted in increased traffic and sales in addition to a growing number of bloggers who wanted to become part of our program.
At Denon USA we gave away even more products to bloggers than we did with The Speaker Company. This was part of a larger Social program that resulted in hundreds of thousands of additional conversations during the peak holiday selling season that would not have otherwise existed.
Be sure to plan your advocacy program.
- Make sure responsibilities are laid out and assigned in advance
- Set goals for both communication, traffic and conversations
- List your priorities up front
- Know your key social movers
- Budget for products and people time as rewards
- Measure your results
Building a successful social media advocacy program is not easy but it can be rewarding and cost effective. The alternatives are simply not sustainable.