Who wants to evangelize for you? 37.5 Million consumers, that’s who
According to a newly minted study by Needle.com, there are an estimated 37.5 million adults in the U.S. who are prime candidates to become brand advocates. The research studies advocates as defined by their relationship with products as it relates to expertise, knowledge, purchasing influence, brand loyalty, and active promotion.
They found that two out of three people say that sharing their passion and helping other customers is their primary motivation. Read that: primary. That means even more than getting free stuff or getting paid, they just want to help others. Are you tapping into that free marketing possibility?
Further, they found that the average advocate is under 45, uses social media frequently, and is highly educated. Most advocates are employed full time, with one in four bringing home over $75,000 annually.
“We have always believed that advocates are a powerful and effective way to build trusted relationships with consumers – and the fact there are 37.5 million potential advocates in the U.S. really drives home that they are a huge untapped resource for businesses,” said Morgan Lynch, founder and CEO of Needle. “These are the people who are already talking about their favorite products and brands on their social networks and in real life, and pride themselves on being a knowledgeable and passionate. This is precisely the group that companies should be leveraging to provide their consumers with authentic, credible advice and great experiences.”
They’re already talking about you – how to tap into that
“This study has busted many of the long-held myths about who advocates are and what motivates them, and really validates why they can be very beneficial for businesses who are looking for new ways to engage with their customers,” added Lynch. “With the study, our goal was to create a clear profile for today’s advocates that makes a distinction between paid employees and true brand enthusiasts. Both are valuable, but we now know how and why they are different.”
So since they’re already talking about you, how are you listening? Social media is the modern version of the cup against a door – set up alerts to be notified of any mention of you or your brand online, and then do what most fail to do – address them. Be aware of any ratings or reviews that are industry specific, and check in often, always responding when possible.
Someone online says you suck? Take the time to inquire – apologize, then dig deeper, using it as a public learning experience. It may hurt at first and be embarrassing, but you have a higher chance of converting a hater into an advocate when you genuinely listen. Don’t just ask them to go to email, talk to them head on in the forum of their choice, don’t be defensive, and ask how you can make it better (or tell them how you will). Imagine if you went on Twitter and complained that you got a bad batch of Pepsi, and the actual Pepsi company apologized and sent you a free case – boom, back in good graces.
Someone says online that you rock? Retweet it, share it, thank them for it, and for goodness sake, don’t ignore it while you bask in your glory – they’re complimenting you so you see it. On purpose. So acknowledge it, and amplify it if you want others to follow suit, even if you have a small following. And collect these compliments, whatever you do – they’re your testimonials when you’re ready to pull those together.
Track your brand online, respond, and collect – then, you’ve got these 37.5M potential brand advocates wrapped around your little finger!