Inspire Advocates to Influence


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Your brand has advocates that can help increase sales, improve customer service and elevate how the marketplace perceives your products and services. In our latest white paper, we highlight the most effective ways to motivate and enable your advocates to become influencers.

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Inspire Advocates to Influence

  1. 1. Inspiring Advocates to Influence: How to Improve Revenue, Retention, Reputation
  2. 2. 92% Introduction Motivating and enabling your brand advocates to become influencers encourages them to share positive experiences and information about your products and services with their networks. of Consumers Trust WORD-OF-MOUTH Consumers, not brands, lead marketplace shifts now. They drive product changes, demand quality, real-time customer service, and make purchasing RECOMMENDATIONS decisions by leveraging the connections and information that technology from friends and family above affords them. Consumers no longer depend only on marketing messages all other forms of advertising for insight. They share, learn and actively influence each other on their terms without the barriers of geography or time. Consumers elevate brand 54% reputation that directly impacts retention and revenue. Advocates tapped by brands to serve as influencers help augment sales, marketing and customer service efforts. Even more important, consumers trust each other more than marketing professionals. According to a Nielsen report released in April 2012, 92% of consumers around the world trust word-of-mouth or recommendations from family and friends, of Moms above all other forms of advertising – an increase of 18% since 2007. Per a LOOK AT THIRD PARTY 360PR MomSquad® report in December 2011, 54% of moms will look at BLOGS AND WEBSITES third-party blogs and websites for insight during the purchasing process. for insight during the purchasing process Consider this Your marketing strategy and execution plans need to take into account the ever-changing consumer purchasing and customer service experience. Learning how advocates can help supplement your efforts and influence the diverse and growing number of consumer touch points is critical to business success. This paper serves as an initial “how-to” to help your company: • Identify advocates • Assess how, where and when an advocate has the most opportunity to influence • Inspire advocates to influence their networks • Establish metrics to measure social influence and its impact to reputation, retention and revenuew w w. s u m m i t m a r k e t i n g . c o m Summit Marketing 2
  3. 3. Who are your advocatesand how do you find them?A brand advocate is someone who speaks,pleads or argues in favor of your brand. In the Know when you’reworld of social media, advocates don’t alwaysspeak in your favor. Sometimes they express under reviewconcerns which help you improve — if you’relistening. All mentions generate opportunities to Employing a tool that can proactively notify yourepresent your brand in the public eye, further when your brand is reviewed lets you quickly turn asolidify relationships with advocates negative experience in to a positive one. In additionand possibly acquire new champions. to monitoring review sites, you should claim your listings on these sites so customers know how toThe first step is listening for these contact you and know you are paying attentionopportunities and making the most of to them.them. Tracking a massive sounding board likethe internet may seem overwhelming. But Popular online reviewer sites you should payunderstanding the tools available to listen and attention to include Yelp, Google Places andproactively notify you of company mentions, Foursquare. Angie’s List (consumer paid community),sentiment and advocates helps you save time, Open Table (restaurant), and Insider Pages (medical/minimize risk and improve profitability. health care) are top niche sites that may also be good to watch, depending on your industry.Listen to the Be hospitable and engagetalk of the town Enable your advocates to share their voice withIf your company has local stores dispersed across you on assets that you create and develop. Adda region, nation or internationally, you will a blog to your website where you can interactneed a geography filter in your monitoring tool. with consumers through comments. Add contactComcast recently reported savings of over forms so they can request more information.$1 million in customer service Create accounts on social networks like Facebook,costs from an LinkedIn and Twitter. Encourage conversation andoutage thatoccurred during Comcast recently interaction on all of them.last year’s World reported in a case studySeries. Geographic SAVINGS OF OVER 1 Millionfiltering allowedComcast to $ Check which location-based applications such asquickly isolate Foursquare, Front Flip or QR codes are availablethe issue and by filtering on geography in your area that can further in-store engagement.communicate status Consumers often share tips, comments, andby monitoring and experiences on these applications, providing keyresponding to complaints insights that help define and identify your advocates.originating from the affected area.w w w. s u m m i t m a r k e t i n g . c o m Summit Marketing 3
  4. 4. Understand the toolsMany monitoring tools exist and range in price from free to very expensive. Our largest clients cangenerate thousands of mentions per day across all forms of media leading us to partner with industrybest practice tool providers, BurrellsLuce and Engage 121. This partnership enables Summit Marketingto monitor, manage and report in real-time the connection between influencers and brand reputation,retention and revenue. Your needs and budget will dictate the best tools for your business. • Alert Tools Tools that notify you of online mentions of your company/products/services based on keywords you choose (company name, product name, etc.). • Social Networking Tools Numerous tools exist to monitor posts, tweets and status updates published on your social networking assets. • Social Monitoring Tools Robust and integrated monitoring tools listen to third-party conversations on blogs, forums, review sites and communities. Typically more expensive, these tools commonly support influencer identification, content scheduling, local level engagement and reporting.Low cost tools for beginnersIf you’re just beginning your search for advocates, you may want to consider the following tools: • Google Alerts – When Google Alerts identifies a keyword mention, it sends an email to you immediately, daily or weekly based on your preference. • Seesmic – Monitors Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn from your desktop or mobile device. • Social Mention – Monitors 100+ social media properties and reports back on the keywords you set. • Brand Monitor – Great for tracking articles, blog posts, and tweets in near real-time. Also provides reports. • – Compiles information about you and your competitors including all comments made on your various social assets to improve tracking and response efforts. If you are in the market for a social media management tool, be prepared for an onslaught of data. We recommend assigning a resource to analyze your data and suggest improvements accordingly.w w w. s u m m i t m a r k e t i n g . c o m Summit Marketing 4
  5. 5. Which advocates have the most opportunity to influence? Followers, likes, pins, or views are not necessarily or the most important factors in determining a person’s influence potential. Many influential people today were only emerging online participants a few years ago, and new influencers A c c o r d i n g t o B i b b L a n t a n e ’s appear on the scene every day. Brands that initially S o c i a l I m p a c t t h e o r y, t h e r e a r e 3 Factors neglected these emerging influencers regret it now. Once you identify advocates, the next step is to assess how much and what kind of influence each may have. All customers are important and should be cared for. T H AT C A N D E T E R M I N E A How advocates are cared for and where they may best help influence can be determined based on PERSON’S INFLUENCE Bibb Lantane’s Social Impact theory. Understanding influence, purpose and potential of an advocate helps determine priority response, crisis support and campaign outreach efforts. Only the can brand reputation can be managed best throughout the entire customer lifecycle. S t r e n g t h : How important Often times, we find advocates who may only participate in one niche the influencing group is to the community. The community may be small but the following is loyal and often individual. takes actions recommended by the advocate. The community happens to be full of our target market. In this case, the quality of community overrides the quantity and we create a plan to approach the advocate accordingly. These advocates should be placed in the Strength influencer group. I m m e d i a c y: Physical Advocates who are hyper local and use location-based applications may help drive (and temporal) proximity of foot traffic to local destinations (physical proximity). Advocates who like to talk the influencing group to the about shared-interest topics – and have their own blog – may influence through individual at the time of the temporal proximity. Advocates who enable their blog readers to comment, post influence attempt. and make it easy to share content could help elevate traffic to your site, increasing leads and improving retention. These advocate groups align with the Immediacy influencer group. N u m b e r : The number of Advocates who are most active in large online conversations — and across diverse people in the group. channels — can have substantial influence. These advocates, based on the simple factor of total reach, typically serve in the Number influencer group. This is true whether or not the advocate has his or her own dedicated site/blog/network profile. Determining where each of your advocates aligns under one or more of these three factors can be done by analyzing their social assets, behaviors and various social indicators. We take a look at analysis tools and what indicators to consider on the next page.w w w. s u m m i t m a r k e t i n g . c o m Summit Marketing 5
  6. 6. Social indicators to consider whendetermining influence potential• Number of readers• Number of back-links• Number of blogs listed on blog roll• Number of groups linked to blog• Alternative forms of content (ex: podcasts/video blogs)• Post schedule & content topics• Location• Sharing venues (ex: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest)• Sentiment analysis• Number of readers in other venues• Access to writing for other venues (ex: one of our blog writers also was a writer for a major online magazine)Analytic toolsIn addition to the monitoring tools mentioned earlier, analytic tools can help you obtain the social indicatorsnoted. The analytic tools highlighted below are free and provide a variety of information like:• Number of website viewers• Viewer demographics• Recommendation of similar sites that may introduce you to previously unknown advocates• Alexa & Quantcast – & These simple and free tools require only a URL to use. Sites lacking a significant following may not have data available through these resources, but one of these sites will typically provide at least basic information. Visitor demographics, back-links, and recommended similar sites are just some of the social indicators you will find.Determine an influencer’s grade• Twitter Grader – This Hubspot-hosted tool is easy to use. Twitter Grader provides good insight as to what factors go into the grade and tips on how to improve it. In addition to an influence score, Twitter Grader provides rankings at the city, state and national level.• Klout – Due to its ever-changing algorithms, Klout is most effective when it is one of many tools used to determine influence. It also can provide indication of other topics the advocate may be interested in, thus serving up potential partnership and campaign ideation possibilities.w w w. s u m m i t m a r k e t i n g . c o m Summit Marketing 6
  7. 7. Inspire advocates toinfluence their networksBe where they areIn addition to your own social and web assets, your brand needs to incorporate outreach tactics.Find the forums, blogs and conversations where people are talking about your brand. Listen to what they aresaying and don’t be afraid to jump in when you can add value to the conversation. Often, companies openaccounts on a variety of social networks and grow frustrated when no one follows or participates. More thanlikely no one knows the brand exists on those platforms yet. Getting out of your own backyard and visitingwhere others live and converse is critical to social business success.Have a purposeCreating content always starts with establishing purpose. Is your purpose to inform, engage, inspire or movea person to action? Content can actually achieve multiple objectives at a time, but its primary purpose must beestablished before it should be created. In addition to content purpose, you should consider threekey factors:• Distribution channels – Determine the where, when, what, why and how. Not every channel works for every type of content. Know your audience prior to distribution and share content that is helpful, is wanted and/or addresses an issue. Think integration: Leverage traditional and online channels to work together and expand awareness. Use an editorial calendar for all content to make sure channels are receiving an appropriate amount of attention and delivering messages meaningful to your audiences.• Human senses – Technology accelerates change. It does not, however, change the essence of what provokes organic engagement and response. To tap into that human dimension, create content that appeals to the different human senses – sight, sound, touch, smell and taste. Create word pictures. Describe in detail. Provoke memories deeply rooted in the basic senses. You will grab attention faster and keep it longer. Human Senses• Tone – Does your content need to be serious, funny, emotional, loud, etc? The tone sets the stage for copy and art and can make or break the user experience.w w w. s u m m i t m a r k e t i n g . c o m Summit Marketing 7
  8. 8. Technical agility 40%Some see technology as a barrier, when in fact it is the solution. M o r e t h a nPartner with your IT teams. Stay up to date on the latest tech solutionsand learn from your peers. Understand the possibilities and use technologyto your benefit. Technology can help lower costs and accelerate revenues,if used effectively.Do you enable the actions you want people to take? You may need to takea step back and strengthen your overall foundation before moving forward of consumerswith social outreach. Maybe your website needs to be redesigned. Perhaps WATCH TV WHILEyou need to to add a forum, a blog, a donation button or sharing icons ALSO USING Athroughout the site. COMPUTER, iPADWhat objectives do you expect your website to help you achieve? Will or MOBILE PHONEusers find your site informative and intuitive? Hubspot’s MarketingGrader ( is a free assessment tool that can People may experienceprovide you insight to website and social performance. your brand on a 5” screen in the morning 5 am Your Message when they wake up ...Make it easy A 24” screen YourAdvocates will influence their networks but you must enable them Message when they get toto do so. If you want your advocates to share something, make sure 9 am work is shareable. If you want them to solicit action, make sure it’s easilyactionable. If you want them to tell the world how awesome you are,then be awesome and deliver what you promise. A 9.5” screen Your in the Message coffee shop ... 12 pmMake it consumable from anywhere A 60” screenConsumers are becoming electronic device junkies. More than 40% Your on TV Message in theof consumers watch TV while also using a computer, iPad or mobile 7 pm evening People may experience your brand on a 5” screen in the morningwhen they wake up, a 24” screen when they get to work, a 9.5” screenin the coffee shop, a 60” screen on TV in the evening and then back to And then back tothe 5” screen before they go to bed. Creating visually diverse content the 5” screen beforethat grabs your advocate’s attention – regardless of their device, is more 10 pm Your Message they go to bed.important than ever.In addition, smart phone growth is exploding. Consumers activated 1.5 Mold your message so it’smillion smart phone devices from December 1, 2011 to December 24, easy to consume wherever,2011, while 6.5 million devices were activated on Christmas Day. This whenever and however yourgrowth pattern is sure to impact content consumption and utilization.Optimizing all of your digital assets for mobile viewing is critical. Taking advocates want to consume it.into account texting, mobile applications, and browser resolution furtherenables influencers to share their brand experience real-time, potentiallyproducing faster revenues.w w w. s u m m i t m a r k e t i n g . c o m Summit Marketing 8
  9. 9. Begin with the end in mind – what is success?Social success – specifically measuring advocates as influencers – needs to be directly aligned withoverall business goals.No brand is perfect, and you should set your goals realistically. What percentage of mentions should bepositive? What is your website lead conversion target? What costs can be saved if customer service issuesare handled online vs. an 800 number? What percentage of donor growth should be generated by socialmedia activity? Establish trending expectations, month-over-month growth projections, and overlay iton your business goals to determine how your influencers impact reputation, retention and revenue.Knowing your key performance indicators before you start directly impacts the social flow youwant to achieve. Understanding metrics helps determine what tools should be used to ensure youcapture and accurately report relevant information. For instance, if you want an advocate to share aURL with their networks, then you may want to consider using a tool like that allows you totrack how many times the URL link was clicked and shared by others. (You can learn more about Bit.lyat building a key performance indicator plan, you may realize you need Strength influencers overNumber influencers, and so on. Starting with the end in mind drives the entire social strategy and gameplan. Don’t wait until launch. By then it will be too late.ADVOCATE INFLUENCER RESULTEXAMPLE: Advocates are identified and inspired to share a video. Did the advocate share the videoand therefore become an influencer? Did the number of video views increase? Did those who watchedthe video take the action requested/desired? Did they complete the action? Did reputation improve?Did customer attrition decrease? Did revenues increase?If there is a breakdown identified or trends aren’t moving in the right direction, you need to reviewand adjust.Here are the first areas to check: • confirm your advocates are aligned to the proper target influence groups • ensure you are empowering/inspiring your advocates with meaningful and motivational content • be certain the best efforts of your advocates aren’t being diminished or negated by poor quality and service issues from your brandThere is much to consider, but given the amount of data now available and the real-time nature of it,mid-stream reviews can be conducted and adjustments can be made quickly and with confidence. w w w. s u m m i t m a r k e t i n g . c o m Summit Marketing 9
  10. 10. Summary & additional perspectiveTechnology combined with change can be overwhelming and challenging to the best-laid businessplans. The risks are high but so are the payoffs if you implement a strategy that takes advantage of allthe opportunities that exist in a digital world. Identifying and connecting with your advocates, andempowering them to share their experiences with others can be achieved through innovative solutions.Other agencies can help you engage advocates. Summit Marketing helps you inspire these advocates tobecome influencers through intelligent, effective marketing strategies, messaging, creative content andspecific digital tactics.Summit will also fuel your strategic planning process by identifying:• when advocates want to talk to you• when advocates want to share with others• your audience’s preferred communications channels• offers and communications that drive customer interactionsThese are critical in repositioning a brand/campaign, providing a message platform that identifies points ofdifferentiation and generating tactical communications that build a meaningful and motivational dialog.How can you gain the full advocate advantage?Individuals share opinions about your brand with the push of a button. You must keep your finger on thepulse of your customer base. Identifying and courting current and future advocates strengthens your brandand creates business driving influencers. To keep your edge or gain an advantage in the marketplace, contactSummit Marketing today.References ShoppingShowcase_Sam_V4.pdf w w. s u m m i t m a r k e t i n g . c o m Summit Marketing 10
  11. 11. Doug Toomay Director, New Client Engagement (O) 913-562-3407 (M) 816-739-3112 Lisa Qualls VP, Interactive Services (O) 913-562-3401 (M) 816-210-4444 Lisa.Qualls@SummitMarketing.comKansas City St. Louis, MO Washington, DC8515 Bluejacket Street 3 CityPlace Drive, Suite 500 2011 Crystal City Drive, Suite 750Lenexa, KS 66214 St. Louis, MO 63141 Arlington, VA 22202800-843-7347 866-590-6000 571-483-2400w w w. s u m m i t m a r k e t i n g . c o m Summit Marketing 11