Your Believers Are Your Heroes: Part I—How Brand Advocates Generate Leads

brand advocates generate leads

Your Believers Are Your Heroes: Part I—How Brand Advocates Generate Leads

Nov. 29, 2017

Brand advocates are one of the most influential parts of dealership advertising and one of the best ways to gain positive attention from consumers and increase car sales. For starters, content that’s shared by other people receives 10 times more engagement than content shared by your brand. It’s important to utilize customers around your brand that have an online presence and are willing to support your dealership.

Defining Advocate

Online users are more and more inclined to share their experiences with brands and businesses on social media. An advocate is a customer voice that basically markets and promotes your brand, but without the yearly salary.

Creating brand advocates can benefit your dealership for several reasons.

  • 58% of consumers claim that seeing a picture of a friend with a brand’s product makes them more likely to purchase a product from that brand.
  • 49% of consumers say they’re influenced most to make a purchase off influencers’ Facebook posts about a brand.
  • 78% of users say that a friend’s recommendation is most effective at influencing them to make a purchase.
  • Content shared by employee advocates receives 8x more engagement than content shared by brand channels.
  • Only 15% of people trust recommendations from brands, while 84% trust recommendations from people they know.
  • 70% of customer brand perception is decided by experiences with people.

How Can I Have an Impact on My Advocates?

There are several outlets and ideas that will allow you to find, reach, and interact with your advocates.

Social Media. Each of your social media platforms has a huge impact on your current relationship with your advocates or influences the relationships you’re working to create with advocates. On social media platforms, advocates are 83% more likely to share information about a product than a general user, 50% more likely to influence a purchase, and twice as likely to use social media in expanding their own social networks—giving you an even greater reach:

  • Facebook has over 1,490 million users. This is the social media platform with the largest amount of active users. Almost half of consumers say they’re influenced most to make purchases off posts about a brand on Facebook.
  • Twitter contains over 316 million active users. 38% of people have recommended a brand they follow on a social network like Twitter.
  • Instagram has 300 million active users. 18% of brand advocates have 500 or more people in their social networks, including Instagram.
  • Google+ has 300 million active users. 30% of brand advocates make recommendations about brands, products, and/or services weekly on outlets like Google+.
  • Tumblr has 230 million active users. Brands with high advocate populations get 264% more earned media impressions than average brands. These impressions are made through all social media platforms, including Tumblr.
  • LinkedIn has 97 million active users. 75% of consumers only advocate brands they have great personal experiences with during their professional interactions. Create a solid professional appearance on LinkedIn and other social media platforms, but interact personably with consumers and customers, as well.

Bloggers. In the general social media environment, bloggers are a large part of influencing and advocating for brands and businesses. They generally have hundreds or thousands of followers and promote throughout all of their social media platforms. They often cover a wide variety of topics—some bloggers are journalists, car enthusiasts, parenthood bloggers, and others cover fashion, etc.—and this is a smart way for a dealership to cover all its bases. According to Technorati’s 2013 Digital Influence Report, bloggers are the third most powerful social influencers of purchase decisions. Take advantage and connect with influential bloggers in your area.

Video. Consumers constantly look to interact online, and lately, one of the most popular ways people are following brands, interacting with advocates, or just finding out information in general is through video. YouTube is always a classic way to post a video, and vlogs (video blogs) have become more and more popular, as well. Most recently, Snapchat and Periscope are an alternative, clever, and fun way to present fun and even live video content people want to view and interact with. Video is a personable and trendy way to get your name in front of consumers.

Engage. Acknowledge consumers who advocate for your brand and dealership. Offering up fun incentives or free events for advocates to attend and promote, although not necessary, can be so beneficial in acknowledging and thanking your advocates who play such a large part in influencing consumers toward your business. Even a quick reply, share on a social media platform, or shout out is a good way to engage and acknowledge your advocates and nurture your relationships with them.

Customers Are Not Your Only Advocates

Many businesses often overlook some of their most valuable advocates: employees. Employee advocates are 2x more trusted than a CEO, according to Edelman Trust Barometer 2014. Plus, employees generally have 10x more social connections than a brand does. So, it’s important to utilize your employee advocates for your dealerships, as well. And if you need more convincing as to why employees as advocates are key, here are some statistics that show just how helpful they can be.

  • Employees who are socially engaged and feel like they’re a part of a socially engaged company are 57% more likely to align their social media engagement to generate sales leads for your dealership.
  • Sales representatives who use social media outsell 78% of their peers.
  • Leads generated through employee advocacy convert 7 times more often than other leads.
  • Brand messages are re-shared 24x more frequently when distributed by employees instead of brand social outlets.
  • Brand messages reach 561% further when they’re shared via employees versus the same messages on official brand social outlets.

Make sure to communicate with your employees, highlight the benefits of professional sharing, and let them know professional sharing is encouraged and allowed. 44% of employees are unsure about what they’re allowed to share on social media platforms, so involve, acknowledge, educate, and engage employees.

Both customers and employees as advocates are extremely beneficial to building your company’s brand recognition, business, and overall consumer opinion. It’s shown over and over again that advocates get more attention, more likes, and in the end, more purchases for your dealership. Take advantage of the advocates you have, engage with your customers to gain more, and acknowledge those who are talking about your dealership often.

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