contentIn today’s social and connected world, every organization wants a slew of brand advocates singing their praises on social media, spreading the word to their friends and family, and otherwise advocating on their behalf. Building a solid reputation is important to increase the longevity of your company, whether you’re just starting out or have been a key industry player for years.

But just how do you turn relationships into brand advocacy?

Content marketing has become a key way for companies to do this. The inter-connectivity of the social web means organizations without a solid online presence stand to lose legitimacy, tank their relationships, and otherwise appear to be uninterested in the public they serve. But creating shareable online content isn’t easy — according to a recent marketing trends report, the top three roadblocks to creating a content marketing strategy are creating original content, finding time to make it, and finding high-quality content. Still, 28 to 33 percent of marketing budgets are dedicated to content marketing, meaning this strategy isn’t one to be ignored.

Brand advocacy works as a valuable and renewable marketing tool for any organization–and a satisfied consumer can often help do much of the work for you. Here are five ways to get them producing shareable content:

1. Reach out to advocates. The first question an organization should be asking is: Where are our advocates? Social media, email, company websites, mobile devices, and company blogs offer a great platform for companies to dig into the minds of their consumers and determine just what they love about the organization. Run a Facebook poll asking how likely your customers would be to refer your services or products to friends and family. If they rate you highly, they’re already advocating for you.

2. Help advocates create content. Make it easy for advocates to engage with your brand online. Invite them to write company reviews, or interview them about their experience with your company. Create videos of satisfied customers, have them share stories, ask what their favorite product is, or invite them to share how they came across your organization. Each of these pieces of content should be search engine optimized to ensure it gets the most reach.

3. Boost their voices. Brand advocacy isn’t a one-way street — show your brand advocates and satisfied customers some love in return for their content marketing contributions. If a customer writes a positive Facebook comment, feature it in a status update. Retweet and answer questions on Twitter, or link to a blog that’s mentioned you positively. Building relationships is a give and take — the worst thing a brand can do is ignore the voices they need the most.

4. Keep a track record. If your organization aims to keep building new advocates over time, it’s best to keep profiles of the people helping you out with content marketing. Find out their names and occupations, and keep track of what is it they’re raving about: Is it a specific product? Great customer service? A great deal they received? Note what type of content they’re creating, whether it be reviews, stories, answers, or social media posts, and see how big their social media networks are to gauge reach.

5. Remember: Advocacy isn’t a numbers game. Resist the urge to count your followers or retweets. Brand advocacy means building and maintaining relationships–and overall, being human… not winning a numbers game on social media. Always respond promptly to messages, thank customers for their patronage, and acknowledge when your audience has helped you out. Never take them for granted, and always deliver on your brand promise.

Brand advocacy is the No. 1 way to get your content shared across the Web. Your audience is your most valuable asset, so don’t skimp on relationship-building. Your audience will appreciate your efforts to acknowledge them, and your brand reputation will soar.



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