Brand Advocates: Who They Are & How to Get Them to Root for You
Brand advocates are every marketer's dream. These are the people that go beyond liking your page or subscribing to your emails. They are the ones that actually spread the word about your brand because they truly believe in it. They are the best recruiters, publicists, and cheerleaders that your company can have, because they allow you to tap into the most effective method of gaining new customers, which is word of mouth.
So what are the qualities of good Brand Advocates and how can companies get more of them? To answer that, social media marketing company Zuberance commissioned a study earlier this year, consisting of 1,445 consumers. The said study revealed how Brand Advocates recommend products, services, or companies, where they do it, and the types of things that get recommended.
Check out their findings below:
How active are brand advocates?
According to the research of Zuberance, 38% of respondents (largest percentage) recommend 5 – 9 brands, products, or services in a year. 30% of users recommend 1 -4 brands yearly, while 16% spread the word about 10 – 15 brands. Meanwhile, 16% of respondents recommend more than 15 brands in a year.
When asked about how often they make recommendations, 38% said that they do so about once a month, while 33% said they recommend products, services, or companies a couple of times a year. 18% and 12% said that make recommendations once a week and several times a week, respectively.
What kinds of products do they recommend?
Think that hotels and restaurants are the most reviewed types of businesses out there? Think again. According to the Zuberance's study, Technology topped the list of most recommended categories, with 25%. This means that gadgets, online services, apps, and websites are the most endorsed products and services. This should come to no surprise, since social media and mobile have experienced tremendous growth over the past couple of years. Expect that number to increase, as the tech community continues to expand and evolve.
Restaurants and dining came in second in the most recommended categories list with 15%, while Entertainment & Leisure took the 3rd spot with 14%. Other fields in the list include Food, Beverage, & Tobacco (10%), Household Items (10%), Travel & Hospitality (7%), Health & Fitness (7%), Fashion & Apparel (4%), Automotive (4%), and Beauty & Cosmetics (4%).
This goes to show that just about every industry can benefit from Brand Advocates. Whether you're an online company, a restaurant owner, or health organization, be sure to find your Brand Advocates and see how you can get them to spread the word about your organization.
Zuberance further stated that while a lot of "people mistakenly believe that Brand Advocates' recommendations are limited to consumer products, like iPhones, energy drinks, and restaurants," the majority of them actually recommend BOTH business and consumer products and services. 67% said that they recommend products and services for businesses and consumers alike, while 31% said that they only recommend consumer products/services. Only 1% of consumers said that they recommend business products and services exclusively.
Why do consumers spread the word about products?
The study also "confirms previous research showing that incentives like free products, discounts, cash, or points do not motivate authentic Brand Advocates." This means that while freebies and deals can be effective in getting users to "like" or follow your brand online, incentives are not their primary motivator to genuinely spread the word.
Apparently, 50% of respondents said that their main reason for recommending a product or service was because they had a good experience with it. 37% of consumers answered that they want to help others. That is, they want to make their friends make smarter purchase decisions. 8% said that they make recommendations only when they're asked to do so, while 3% wanted their peers to know that they're knowledgeable about certain brands and products. Only 1% of consumers said that they make recommendations because of incentives or rewards.
So the next time you're planning to create a huge contest to gain new customers, consider slowing down, and instead focus on giving your existing customers quality service. Providing good experiences to people should be more than enough to get them to rave about your products or services. Ask your customers how you can serve them better, and actually do it. Once consumers see how dedicated you are, they'll be sure to spread the word to get more people through your doors.
How many friends do they have?
The study's findings also showed that "Brand Advocates have very large social networks." Zuberance noted that "on average, Brand Advocates have between 200-450 people in their social networks. And online Brand Advocates – consumers who recommend their favorite brands and products using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, plus shopping and review sites like Amazon.com, TripAdvisor, and Yelp have between 300 to 600 contacts in their social networks."
This reaffirms the importance of having a good social media and online marketing strategy in place. Websites and social networks have made it extremely easy for Brand Advocates to talk about their experiences with products and services, so be sure to be present at these sites to track how your company is doing in the social and online sphere.
How effective are Brand Advocates?
Brand Advocates are indeed very effective, not just in spreading the word about a product or service, but in actually getting people to take action. According to Zuberance's research, after making a recommendation, 61% of consumers said that their peers considered buying the endorsed product or service, while 22% mentioned that their peers actually made a purchase.
What channels do brand advocates use?
Online avenues may be gaining steam, but that doesn't mean that you should underestimate offline channels. According to Zuberance, "Brand Advocates who recommend online and offline use both methods fairly evenly. They recommend brands and products online on Facebook, Amazon.com, TripAdvisor, and Yelp plus offline (over coffee, dinner, while on the phone, etc).
When it comes to online tools used for recommendations, email surprisingly led the pack, with over half (57%) of consumers saying that they make recommendations via email. Facebook took second place with 35%, while Blogs, LinkedIn and Twitter got 1% each. eCommenrce & Third-party sites on the other hand got 5%.
Expect these numbers to change dramatically in the near future. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other sites including Pinterest are continuing to dominate the marketplace, and it wouldn't be surprising to see people make more recommendations on these websites.