It’s rewarding when a client compliments your work, but how will this generate more sales? It won’t. While client/customer satisfaction is very important, it is not enough anymore. If your clients are not compelled to proactively tell their peers about your product or business, then it’s time to work toward creating a dedicated strategy for brand advocacy.

Why is brand advocacy so important? One word: Trust. According to a study by Fast Company, nine out of 10 online consumers say recommendations from friends and family are the most trusted form of advertising, whereas only about two out of 10 trust online ads. Here are a few ways you can start building brand advocacy for your business:

At this point, you should know what you are selling and your audience. What you need now is to reach out to industry influencers to help get your message out. Research these influencers, their background, interests, social media audience, etc. Once you have a list, it’s time to start engaging with them:

  • Follow influencers on social media
  • Engage with their content
  • Send them free products to review

It takes time to build these relationships, so make sure to have a strategy in place to stay engaged.

When was the last time you actually asked a client for a referral? Regardless of what industry you are in, be proactive and ask. Like any relationship, making connections and getting a referral takes time. Once made, referrals cut the sales cycle in half because a sense of trust is already instilled in your brand thanks to your referrer.

Online Reviews
Similar to referrals, it can be difficult obtaining online reviews if you are not proactive about it. The first step is to reach out to about 10 clients you have a good relationship with and ask for them to leave a review. Once you have a good handful of reviews, you can move onto to connecting with other clients.

Customer service will never go out of style. Take a hint from Zappos, a company that strives to be the leader in customer service, and they are doing a pretty good job. In order to retain customers, you can’t just meet their needs, you will need to go above and beyond their expectations.

Ultimately, the goal of brand advocacy is to generate sales and grow your business. To do this, it is vital to identify specific metrics, such as growth in profit, brand reach through influencers’ content and traffic to brand’s website.

Building powerful brand advocacy can not be merely a function of customer service, it IS customer service and should be the cornerstone of how your entire operation is organized. Every aspect of the company should be viewed through the lens of defining and receiving stellar advocacy from your clientele. If not, you’re making room for your competition.

Brand advocacy is about developing and maintaining relationships and creating a structure within your business to reinforce and reward its successful engagement. When you reward customers and make them feel they are an integral part of your business, the long-term benefits far outweigh the effort.