Why Your Startup Should Invest in a Brand Advocacy Strategy
A smartly executed brand advocacy program can lead to major improvements in overall business performance. Learn how startups can benefit from this here.
As a startup, you have to bring a great product or service to the market. But that’s only one part of what ultimately determines your success. You also have to give potential customers a reason to give your business a chance.
Building a strong brand is one of the best ways to attract and grow a loyal customer base — and it’s never too soon to start.
Implementing a brand advocacy strategy right from the beginning will benefit your startup down the road. It can lead to improvements in your business’s overall performance, and it can secure your company’s place in the market.
Read on to learn about how brand advocacy can help your business, and why it’s an important strategy for your startup.
1. Brand Advocacy Is Good for Your Finances
In the beginning stages of a startup’s life, every dollar counts and getting the most for your money can be the difference between surviving and folding.
Brand advocacy empowers the people already associated with your startup to spread the word. It taps into a resource that already exists, and so is a more affordable option than traditional marketing.
You don’t have to spend the time or resources working with an agency and explaining what your brand is or who your target audiences are. Brand advocates already know that information because of their organic engagement with your startup. Also, affordable online brand advocacy platforms make it easy to keep track of who you have promoting your business.
2. Brand Advocacy Is More Trusted
People trust other people. It’s why review sites like Angie’s List are so successful.
As consumers, we expect brands to tell us what we want to hear, but we trust that people — other customers like us — will tell us the truth. That’s why turning valued customers into advocates for your brand is so important. It makes them feel their loyalty is being rewarded, and it also helps your startup grow a larger customer base.
In fact, if you are identifying the right customers as potential brand advocates, they have likely talked about your startup before.
They may have told friends about it or recommended it to people they know could benefit from your services.
Give them a reason and an incentive to want to continue talking about your brand in their social circles and beyond. It will make them work even harder to bring you new business and to make your brand advocacy strategy successful.
3. Your Startup Will Come Across as Authentic
Traditional advertising techniques are becoming less effective. This is especially true among the younger generations, such as millennials and Gen Zers. Many of today’s shoppers don’t respond to ads and don’t want to be sold to.
What they do respond to is social media posts, online reviews and recommendations from friends and influencers. That’s why brand advocacy is an important part of any startup’s marketing strategy.
Brand advocates talk about your startup in their real voice across digital channels that they already use.
This authenticity factor makes people feel as if they are investing in the brand, rather than just buying a product or a service. It sends the message that interacting with your brand means more than just making a transaction.
4. Your Employees Can Be Your Best Brand Advocates
While it’s important to find brand advocates who don’t work for you, don’t underestimate the power of your employees. After all, if they don’t appear to believe in your startup, why should anyone else?
Empowering employees to be brand advocates accomplishes several goals. It makes them more invested in their work, and it shows the public that they really care about what they do. It makes the job seem more than just a job.
To really allow employees to succeed as brand advocates, make sure that they are kept informed of what’s happening within the company. Update them on the company’s successes and challenges. Provide them with easy ways to share important press hits, or blog posts on your own website.
Get them excited to share the news on what the company has been up to or is in the process of developing. That excitement will start to spread, and your business will grow in the process.
5. Brand Advocacy Can Tell a Story
If you’re relying only on traditional advertising, you’ll never get your entire brand story across.
Print and social media ads can give some information and TV or radio commercials can give a little more. But no one will ever get the complete picture through those mediums alone.
Brand advocacy is more creative in nature and more flexible in form. Because of that, it can do more to represent who and what your brand is.
Rather than outline a product description, brand advocates can use their platforms to talk about how the company has grown since its launch.
Or, the great idea that sparked your startup’s creation.
Or, a detail about one of your first employees that no one would ever know.
The marketplace is so full now that customers are almost guaranteed several options, no matter what the product is.
It’s those human moments and that insider perspective that makes a customer choose one company over another. Those are the stories that brand advocates are in the best position to tell.
Ready to Get Started?
If you’re launching a startup and want to implement and brand advocacy strategy, think about the audience you’ve already built.
Do you have trusted employees who are invested in your company’s success? Did you test your product out on friends who are willing to promote it to members of their social groups?
Can you identify key social media influencers who would benefit from being associated with your brand, and who could promote your company to their followers?
These are great questions to start with and will hopefully inspire you to start thinking about your brand advocacy options today.
For more information, or to provide feedback or ask questions, please feel free to contact me.