From rising startups to blue-chip brands, standing out from the crowd on social media and acquiring loyal customers can be difficult. You have to compete with paid Facebook advertising agencies flooding newsfeeds with client promotions, with huge sales from your competitors as they undercut your prices with whatever Kim Kardashian is up to this week. As such, making the most of every post you publish on social media is vital to sustainable growth. However, if you can crack the mysteries of brand loyalty, then everything you do on social media will be quickly followed by tidal waves of support. Read on to find out how to transform social followers into loyal customers and then, brand advocates.
The Importance of Brand Loyalty
The endless purchasing options available to consumers all result in a growing need for businesses to lock down loyalty. The answer to this for most businesses is to spend more on marketing services. However, whilst this often works, transforming first time purchasers into repeat customers is a much more cost-effective strategy for your business in the long run.
Despite rising competition, a consumer survey from Marketing Land found that 90% of consumers were brand loyal – regardless of what options placed before them. By nurturing first purchase customers and delivering a great overall experience, you’ll be able to convert them into loyal brand consumers, which will be of great benefit when looking to attract more new customers.
Not only this, but brand loyal customers are also more likely to become brand advocates of your business. With 92% of customers actively seeking recommendations from close social circles, loyal brand advocates play a pivotal role in reducing your cost per acquisition.
For example, you spend $100 to acquire your first customer. Then, they frequently share your media for a few weeks which organically promotes your business to their friendship circle. Give it a few more weeks and one of their friends then becomes a customer of yours. Now, you have 2 customers with a cost-per-acquisition of just $50. But what if that trend continued? That single brand advocate could reach 100’s of potential new customers with non-sales materials; becoming your biggest referral partner without even realizing it.
Who are the brand advocates?
A brand advocate is anyone who supports the growth of your business. No matter how small the contribution. Typically, an individual would qualify as a brand advocate if they positively review your products, refer new customers, or share and create content on your behalf. From non-affiliated individuals to employees, influencers, and business partners, anybody can advocate your brand with social media.
We like to think of brand advocates as marketing managers. You publish the content and your brand advocates elevate your reach through word of mouth marketing or shared media. To achieve this with advertising, you would be looking to spend at least a few hundred dollars per campaign. However, with brand advocates, it’s totally free.
How to transform Instagram followers into brand advocates?
Social media is rife with unassuming brand advocates. People just love to share and litter their feeds with quotes, videos, or anything that is slightly out of the ordinary.
Proportionately, the people who follow your social media pages are likely to be existing customers. As such, this is the perfect place to start nurturing these followers into brand advocates. Whether they are aware of it or not, every time your followers share, create, or talk about your content, they are advocating your brand.
There are plenty of marketing tactics that companies use to leverage loyal social followers to improve brand loyalty. From blatantly obvious promotions to subtle advocacy techniques, take a look at our top 5 ways to transform social followers into brand advocates.
#1 Engage with Your Followers to Turn them into Brand Advocates
The very first step you must take to turn your Instagram followers into brand advocates is to make them trust you. Actually, this is one of the most important steps. If your followers do not trust you, you will never have them as a customer. So, what you have to do is to have real conversations with them. Try to respond to all your comments and DMs. And if you are receiving tons of messages every day, don’t worry. You can easily filter your Instagram DMs and get managed.
This not only skyrockets your Instagram engagement rate but also impresses people in a way to trust you and know you as a caring company. So, do not hesitate to engage with them.
#2 Search for Brand Hashtags
Unquestionably, hashtags play an important role in Instagram marketing. If you want to succeed in your business, you’d better have your own hashtag on Instagram. This helps you find your brand advocates easily and see what they are telling about you. For instance, if you take a look at @nike’s Instagram account, you’ll see the #justfoit hashtag on their bio.
This helps them to find what people are telling about them. Additionally, as you see, this hashtag is not the brand name and it’s something inspirational. So, they have more chances to be tagged in posts and this helps the brand’s popularity. So, pick something unique, catchy, and amazing for your brand and let people tag you in their posts.
However, it may be hard to track hashtags using the official Instagram app. Hence, we recommend you to use a tracking app like AiSchedul.
Using this app, you can schedule posts and stories to keep consistent, repost on Instagram, and much more than this. But, there is also a monitoring feature that lets you easily track hashtags and accounts without following them. All you have to do is to create a free account, add your Instagram accounts, and then add the hashtags you created for your brand to keep updated with the new shared posts.
So, go ahead and give it a try to avoid missing your brand advocates.
#3 Listen to Your Followers and Repost Their Content
As you know, to grow organically on Instagram, you have to keep consistent. But this is not always easy. Sometimes you may run out of content. But this shouldn’t prevent you from keeping in touch with your followers. All you have to do is to check out your followers, see where you have been mentioned in, and repost content.
Actually, this is exactly the word of mouth marketing and helps you in creating brand advocates. But how to find all the mentioned at a place and repost the contents easily?
Well, AiSchedul has a solution for this. On this platform, there is a “Repost Mentions” feature that lets you access all the posts you’ve been mentioned and tagged in. And then, you can easily schedule those posts to repost them on your own account.
Actually, this has so many benefits. Doing so, you can share the owner’s caption and show the great feedback you have received to your followers. So, go ahead and sign up for free to repost some customers’ posts. Also, take a look at the following video for more details:
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#4 Run Instagram Giveaway Contests
Instagram giveaway contests are one of the best ways to create brand advocates. Actually, there are different types of giveaways out there. But here, we like to focus on one of the most special ones. I want to call it the “experience” giveaway. In this type, you set all the rules you want. But one of the rules must be as follow:
“Tell us what “brand-name” products you have used and why do you love it in the comments!”
This way, you will get so many good comments about your products and hence, you can find some good advocates for your brand.
Also, don’t worry. You can automate your Instagram giveaway contests to save time. Just follow the steps mentioned in this video:
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#5 Reach to Existing Brand Advocates and Build a Relationship
This one is really amazing. As we have mentioned in the previous sections, go ahead and listen to your followers. Then, find the most passionate ones and pick them. Check if they have 2k+ followers and start building a relationship with them. This way, you can ask them to advertise your products and somehow become a micro-influencer for your brand. Also, you will get more customers due to their interest in your brand. So, do not miss this at all.
Final Thoughts on Brand Advocates
When it comes to brand loyalty, consumers are fickle. Identifying who your audience is and how they respond to certain marketing materials is the first and greatest step you can take towards improving your brand. When you think of brands – besides the likes of Coca-Cola – the companies that stand out the most are typically the ‘edgiest’ or the most profound at delivering a specific message. They have a loyal fan base and whatever they publish is rewarded with hundreds of positive comments, likes, and shares.
However, by implementing our tips above, you too can begin to grow a loyal fanbase that will help carry the burdens of your marketing; without even knowing about it.