Brand advocates or ‘brandvocates’ are the future. As brands increasingly engage with consumers on social media platforms, quantitative and authentic content has become the life-blood of true connectivity but it is no longer enough. Not only do brandvocates create original content that drive higher engagement rates but they are cost-effective as well. Content marketing is a powerful tool that carries the values and key messaging of brands today but without brandvocates, the tool might as well be Thor’s lost hammer.
All this begs the question, how do brands get brandvocates to act? When properly motivated, brandvocates will share or create content on behalf of a brand but motivation is needed. Promotions and giveaways that reward action are good ways to start but today’s brandvocates want more and they certainly shouldn’t be rented. The key reward that brandvocates desire is simple, recognition.Recognition comes in two ways, both of which are extremely effective. The first way is when a brand shares, favorites, retweets or publicly highlights a brandvocate action, the prize is given. This visible engagement rewards the brandvocates for promoting the brand while also creating positive associations with the brand. Think about it. Why would any consumer bother tweeting to @Brand if they didn’t want a response of some kind? The interaction servers as both engagement but also noticeable and quantifiable results.
The second way is for the brand to create quality content. Brandvocates are smart and they know their audiences so if the content is worth sharing then the reward here is the recognition of personal audiences. For example, articles on sites like Buzzfeed or VICE are imminently shareable by younger brandvocates because of the exciting nature and audience reaction that the articles get. Brandvocates are audience savvy and if brands create content that will create comments or other interactions then the likelihood of sharing is positively impacted.
Brands have the power to create wonderful, impactful content and engage in open and transparent manners and all consumers are better for it. Finding creative ways to incentivize brandvocates to promote the brand will add the needed honesty and less sales-y feel and increase brand recognition and sales. The opportunity is there but it all begins with curating insightful, brand-building content. Getting the content out in authentic ways is equally important and brandvocates are the best way to do it. Oscar Wilde recognized the importance of authenticity and brands need to do the same or risk quite unamusing results.