In this article we're going to cover:
- Who are influencers and advocates?
- The difference between influencers and advocates.
- How to foster advocacy amongst your guests.
- How to identify your advocates.
- How to engage with your advocates.
What's an influencer?
Influencers are people who have large numbers of online followers and communicate broadly. Typical examples include celebrities, professional athletes, and journalists. However there are niche influencers across all types of industries and businesses. The idea of influencer marketing is to find one person who can share your brand message with a large number of people. They're using their influence to market for your business.
Influencer marketing is a form of social media marketing involving endorsements and product placements from... people and organizations who possess an expert level of knowledge and/or social influence in their respective fields.
Influencers are "activists, are well-connected, create an impact, ...and are trendsetters" 1
Influencers communicate "one-to-many". One person broadcasting their message to a large number of online followers.
What can influencers do for your business?
Influencers are typically paid for their promotion and take an active role in marketing your business. This might include things like:
- Social postings before, during, and after the trip.
- Photography, video, or written content after the trip.
- Instagram takeovers.
- Twitter chats, webinars, or podcasts.
- Contests or campaigns.
- Serving as a brand ambassador.
Who are your advocates?
Advocates are regular customers who share a positive endorsement of your business, either offline or online. These regular customers share your brand with their social networks. They provide a trusted recommendation to their friends and families who they know directly.
Advocacy is word-of-mouth advertising.
Your advocates are just regular customers with the usual online social networks of friends and family. They communicate "one-to-few", reaching their tens or hundreds of followers.
What can advocates do for your business?
- Share social postings of their experience with your brand.
- Drive social referrals.
- Share your social content.
- Serve as an unofficial brand ambassador.
What's the difference between influencers and advocates?
Influencers are a single person who has an oversized online following and marketing effect. Advocates are your everyday customers who provide authentic word-of-mouth endorsement of your business.
Influencers typically broadcast their message to thousands or millions of followers while advocates share a personal, trusted, recommendation with their group of close friends and families.
You might get lucky and have an influencer visit your business, or you might have to hire one. But by encouraging advocacy among your customers you can generate a regular, reliable stream of word-of-mouth referrals. You don't need to rely on finding that "magic" influencer.
How do you foster advocacy with your customers?
So how do you turn your guests from happily satisfied customers into online advocates driving social referrals to your business? Make it easy for them to do this for you!
"Give to get" by providing photos and videos.
To turn every guest, regardless of their audience, into an online advocate, it’s essential to make sure that your guests have a means of sharing their experience. Few people are going to write a review and then share that review on Facebook or Twitter but everyone loves to share photos and videos of their life’s adventures. By providing your guests with photos and videos you make it easy for them to act as advocates and refer your business to their friends and family.
Whether it’s Fotaflo or another solution you need to be taking and delivering photos and videos to your guests so they can begin the referral process for you.
A referral customer comes at a much lower cost and has a higher potential for retention than leads you generate through other means.
Make your guest experience shareable.
It doesn’t need to be complicated to work for you. Even if you can only take one great, posed, photo you can begin fostering advocacy. Being able to quickly deliver these photos to your guests is the key first step in enabling your guests to begin the process of referring you socially.
The key to generating referrals from your guests is by providing an easy way for them to do it - taking photos and videos that your guests want to share online.
A photo marketing solution like Fotaflo delivers photos and videos online. Your customers view them from their smartphone, laptop, or desktop in an environment where they are more likely to share and review your business. Simple sharing buttons on a custom-branded photo viewing website mean your customers don't have to download photos and manually upload them to share them with friends and family.
Provide compelling text with your photos.
Fotaflo allows you to automatically embed relevant hashtags and text with your photos when they’re shared to social media, ensuring your brand message is always included. Whichever method you use to you deliver your photos you need to consider the copy that goes with them. Simply incentivizing your guests to include your hashtag and a relevant brand message for a chance to be featured on your social sites or win a prize is highly effective.
How do you identify your advocates?
Before the web it was often difficult to identify who, among all your customers, are advocating for your business. But even now many experiential businesses have a hard time identifying, quantifying, and tracking their advocates.
Some of the manual ways of finding advocates include finding them among your fans on social media or searching for your businesses hashtags to see who is talking about you. These methods are pretty inexact, and certainly not an automated, reliable, way to track your word-of-mouth advocates.
With a photo marketing solution you get the power of automatic analytics that identify your advocates and provide important data about how they've shared their photos and the referrals that they've generated.
With Fotaflo you can see all of your past customers who have shared their photos and videos, along with how many referrals they've generated from sharing by email, or to Facebook or Twitter.
No more guessing which customers are sending you your referrals!
How do you engage with your advocates?
Communicate with your advocates
Once you've identified your advocates its time to build relationships with them. You can do this manually by sending them a personal email, or even calling them on the phone. This can work some of the time, if you remember a particular customer or have a strong relationship with them, and have enough time to reach out one-on-one with your customers.
With Fotaflo you can create content specifically for your advocates and easily send emails to any or all of your advocates at any time with a couple of mouse clicks.
An even better way is to make use of your photo marketing solution to automatically engage with top advocates. With Fotaflo you can define a threshold to consider a customer a "top advocate". For example, someone who has generated at least 20 referrals from their social media posts. The top advocates each week are automatically sent an email containing their personal photo memories, along with any other marketing content you'd like to share.
Now you've really closed the loop. You're providing consistent photos and videos to your guests, making it simple for them to share online with friends and family, and automatically fostering an ongoing relationship with your top advocates. It's a word-of-mouth marketing engine that runs all day, every day. Even when your business isn't operating.
Reward your advocates
The easiest way to extend the lifetime value of your advocate relationships and keep these people as brand ambassadors long after they’ve visited your venue is to reward them:
- Give them sneak peeks at new services or features at your venue such as a new activity at your business before the general public.
- Provide them with exclusive offers they can share with their friends - giving your advocates an online promo code or coupon that they can share gives them a sense of importance and value while also encouraging them to continue to act on your brand’s behalf.
- Hold special advocate only events - if you have a destination business without a high likelihood of return guests you can host online events.
- Ask advocates their opinions - thinking of renaming a course or adding a new product or feature to your course? Invite advocates to take a poll socially or offer names to keep them feeling engaged and part of your brand.
- Thank them!
Are you ready to grow your business by turning every guest into an advocate? Sign-up for a free trial today!
Not sure? Book a free one-on-one demo and we'll show you exactly how Fotaflo can work for your business.