Creating Marketeers: The Power of an Advocate

An Advocate is one that pleads the cause of another, or one that defends or maintains a cause or proposal.
— Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Advocates. Advocacy. Advocacy Strategy.

These are all terms you have probably heard of a lot recently, especially in the world of the social web. But what makes an advocate? Why are they so important to small business owners?

We understand the power of word-of-mouth marketing, but what if that power extended to the web? This is where social media comes into play. Sharing content from your website and social media accounts allows consumers to feel apart of the brand, an extension of is message and its mission. Essentially, advocates are emotional stakeholders in your future!

In the world of branding, Advocates are people who are already brand loyalists – maybe satisfied customers or people who are fanatical about brand products – who spread the brand’s message willingly, either by recommending the brand/product to their friends, or sharing brand’s marketing messages on social media.

There is a sense of belonging that comes from sharing valuable information with those you care about. Think of your service and your brand as an extension of your clients identity on the web; who like like and what they they share tells more about who they are than you would think. This process of 'falling in love' and becoming an advocate is  an organic one. There are no direct incentives. They are genuine in their passion for your product or service and they very much want to help other realize the benefits. 

Advocates are made, not born.

Most customers become advocates because of a positive personal experience with a brand. The most will remain because of the relationships that are formed with the brand over time. Cultivation happens through consistent and meaningful engagement. This happens when brand truly care about their customer and the communities the help create. 

Why Should Small Business Owners Care?

Advocates are essential in spreading the love towards your business and brand. They do not require incentive (outside of you treating them with respect and having a product or service that they love and appreciate). They incentivize others to try your service just by their word-of-mouth passion that happens both online and in person. They are loyal, dedicated individuals.

A 12% increase in Brand Advocacy, on average, generates a 2x increase in revenue growth rate, plus boosts market share.
— Fred Reichheld, HBS Press
The brands that really win in advocacy are the brands where there isn’t much of a gap between what they say and what they really do.
— Callum Negus-Fancey