Increase Your Organic Reach, Decrease Your Ad Spend: Why Your Brand Needs An Advocacy Marketing Program

Between January 2016 and June 2016 publishers saw a 52% decline in the organic reach of their social postings. This reach isn’t coming back - if anything, organic reach will continue to plummet. Just this past spring, publishers brought to light another drop in organic post reach. This represents a significant problem for brands when you consider the rising cost of content production.

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So how are you supposed to get your content in front of your audience without spending advertising dollars on promoted posts and tweets? One solution is to use a brand’s own Everyday Fan to promote the content through an Advocacy Marketing Program (AMP).

Everyday Fans are a brand’s average fan. They engage with the brand on social, typically have an audience size of 500 – 600 people and are often customers of that brand (or aspirational customers at the least). Everyday Fans are a supporter of the brand and occasionally will even advocate on behalf of the brand to their friends and family.

Why is advocacy marketing working you may ask? Well, there are a couple of factors at play. First, as a society, we grown so accustomed to advertising that many times we simply tune it all out. This what’s referred to as ad blindness. In addition, 77% of influencer promoted content isn’t seen as advertisements by most people. Instead it’s seen as a recommendation coming from a trusted source.

This “trust” is what makes advocacy marketing (and influencer marketing) so powerful. (Learn more about the different types of influencers by checking out our three-part series comparing Micro-Influencers to Everyday Fans here, here and here). However, to truly activate your social fans, brands need to support and manage an Advocacy Marketing Program.

What is an Advocacy Marketing Program?

Technical definition, an Advocacy Marketing Program (AMP) is the management of a collected group of Everyday Fans with the intent to activate those Fans to meet your business goal(s). They’re also referred to as brand ambassador programs, fan engagement programs and a host of other names. However, in simpler terms, an AMP is a system that lets you talk and activate all your fans at once so you don’t have to resort to one-to-one messaging.

The strength of an advocacy marketing program lies in its reach. The more individuals that join, the larger your audience grows. A micro-influencer might have an audience of 40,000, but with an average audience size of 600, you only need 67 Everday Fans to surpass the micro-influencer’s reach.

Advocacy Marketing Program

How to Utilize Your Advocacy Marketing Program?

A common question we receive from brands contemplating an Advocacy Marketing Program is, “So, what can I do with these brand advocates?” The answer is, “Plenty!” In fact, the more you do with your advocates, the stronger your bond becomes, the more traction your program gains!

Every brand program is slightly different, depending on the needs of the brand, but here are the top actions we see our fan advocacy programs encourage:

1. Content Distribution – The catalyst for the idea of SocialToaster in the first place! Content production gets more and more expensive each year, while shelf space in front of your customers shrinks a bit in proportion. Don’t let your content dollars go to waste - you can have your brand advocates share your content onto their social networks. Earn impressions, reach, and engagement without having to hit that infamous “Boost Post” button. 

2. Social Amplification – In all the busy-ness on social media, it might take a few touch points to get a customer’s attention. Brand advocates are perfect vehicles for sharing your messages throughout the social space. Frequent messaging (okay, not TOO frequent; we find having advocates send two messages a week works great) through the program is a perfect way to build those multiple touch points without creating more advertisements. 

3. Call-to-Arms – One of the most exciting advocacy activations we see is when a brand utilizes their AMP to drive one specific action to amazing results. Our clients have used their AMPs to support trending hashtags on Twitter, get videos to the homepage on YouTube, and flood a post with thousands of comments. We’ve even had clients use their AMP to raise over $100,000 through fundraising initiatives! When you can activate thousands of advocates at the drop of a hat, you create powerful momentum. 

4. Focus Group – Communication is a two-way street. In addition to using your advocates to share your message to their audience, a successful AMP also listens to feedback from their advocates. SocialToaster has a built-in survey tool that makes it easy to ping your advocates for advice and feedback on everything from product launches and developments to demographic data and even advice on the AMP program itself! 

5. Email List Building – Email is still king when it comes to driving Ecommerce sales, which makes email list building a high priority for most marketing departments. With an AMP, not only can you capture the email addresses of the advocates in the program, you can also activate your Everyday Fans to drive their friends into the program, capturing their email addresses in the process. You can also utilize your AMP to drive awareness of a contest or promotion that utilizes an email capture as the entry point. The more emails you earn through your AMP, the less money you must pay promoting the contest or promotion through advertising.

Advocate Marketing Programs are powerful tools for sharing your message across social platforms. We’ll continue our discussion next week as we talk through common characteristics of successful Advocate Marketing Programs.

In the meantime, if you have any questions, or want to start exploring your own advocate marketing program, give us a ring.