The most talked about and most loved brands are those that create a deep connection with their customers and build brand advocacy. The best advocacy programs enable customers to ‘control’ the image of a brand and promote this image to their respective networks. It turns what was a one-way marketing channel into an expansive web of promotional conversations, extending the visibility and reach of brand messaging.
Although relinquishing control may seem scary, in the fast-paced world of social media brands rarely have control anyway. So, why not empower your followers, as they can be one of the most valuable and efficient ways of amplifying your message.
I recently had the chance to hear Hootsuite’s Dan Spicer, EMEA Community Lead, talk at the Digital Marketing Show Mid-Term about how to build an advocate community – something we can all take learnings from. Here is an overview of how Hootsuite applied social advocacy to benefit the growing online platform:
Hootsuite, an international online platform supports more than 10 million customers around the world, but only has offices in eight countries.
With such a large following Hootsuite needed to find a solution to servicing their global customer base with a limited Hootsuite team.
To created Brand Ambassadors
These ambassadors were empowered to:
- Advocate Hootsuite’s products and services
- Share content to existing networks
- Provide regional insight and product feedback
- Create a stronger regional presence for Hootsuite both online and offline
How they did it:
They firstly identified fans/super-fans and invited them to become ambassadors. The company now have an ongoing scheme, offering sign-up on their website for anyone interested.
Ambassadors were offered online and offline incentives:
- Education: Given access to the Hootsuite University and discount towards theNewhouse Advance Social Media Strategy Certificate.
- Recognition: Gained credibility by adding the ambassador position to their work history and by being featured on Hootsuite’s social media channels.
- Exclusivity: Received special Hootsuite clothing and had the chance to impact new product developments by sharing their feedback.
In 2014 they grew their ambassador scheme to over 900, who hosted 250+ Hootups in 80+ cities. They now have 875 Ambassadors in 67 countries.
- Support in 22+ languages
- Improved regional insights
- Support and engagement with 15,000 registered customers in the Support Forum and improved community self-solve rate
- Product feedback
- 200+ events in 62 countries
- Increased the active follower base to their social channels
- Created positive sentiment, conversations and content sharing