Reflections on Brand Advocates & Social Influence

Reflections on Brand Advocates and Why They’re so ImportantWhen we’re talking about a business managing a social media presence – or several for that matter, we’re beginning to hear more about brand advocates. But who are they – and why are these people so important to your business?

Here, I will try to make some reflections on the subject. I will try to figure out the answers to these questions, and also make a small discussion about how brands should try to make use of these important advocates to create a positive impact on their businesses. Any given brand loves some good exposure, so why not start to consider how to obtain this by implementing brand advocates in your social media strategy?

Brand advocates = trusted people
First of all, brand advocates are people supporting and having favourable perceptions of your brand. They are people that help you and your brand generating awareness and influencing decisions to purchase exclusively based on their own interest. Naturally, this makes brand advocates very important to your business and especially in relation to your social media presence, where there’s great possibility of making an impact in various online communities.

As customers ourselves, we know that we put a greater trust in other customers of a brand rather than in the brand itself. If a person has had a great experience and shares it on a brand’s Facebook page, for instance, we listen to it and remember it as a trustworthy recommendation for choosing exactly this brand. The same goes for negative feedback, which makes us be a bit more reluctant. In these situations, we also get to see that brands are vulnerable in social media, but being in this online environment, a business can regain the good image by dealing with the situation.

Brand advocates = Facebook-ers, bloggers etc.
On Facebook, I think that many of us are fans of some great brand pages. And here, it’s especially obvious to see how popular it has become for fans to express their happiness about a given brand. They write comments, post pictures and they are active in the community. Social media has thereby brought with it a great opportunity for people to connect with their favourite brands and engage in dialogue with likeminded. And here, I would say that the same thing goes for blogging.

It has also become extremely popular to run a private blog. Whether we’re talking about social media and marketing blogs, fashion blogs or something third, we’re seeing an increase in the amount of people blogging. Here, it can be smart to be on the look out for the ones that include your brand. What are people saying about you, and is there some way that you can help and show them that you appreciate what they’re doing? The same goes back to the most active fans on your Facebook page. Notice who are the most active ones of the crowd and show that you know they’re there and making a priceless effort.

Brand loyalists vs brand advocates
However, when talking about the bloggers, the Facebook fans or who/where your fan tribe is, the most appropriate name for these might actually be brand loyalist. But then comes into the picture the chance of making them something more. An idea could be to give them exclusive access or special privileges or offers. Make them just a small part of your brand. This can turn them into an even more engaged crows and create even more awareness around you. Also, definitely keep an eye on the ones most engaged in your brand. Respond quickly to them and their feedback or leave a comment on their blog, so they know you are listening. This also creates a great image to other readers or fans as they can see you’re present.

To turn brand loyalists into advocates you might therefore consider the following:

  • Identify and mobilize your advocates
  • Find your brand loyalists
  • Give exclusive access and special privileges
  • Respond fast to comments and feedback
  • Monitor and reach out proactively
  • Give brand loyalists a voice

You can also read about the benefits of making your customers your brand ambassadors on our blog.

What do you think about this? Do you have something to add? Let me know 🙂

Why Oreo’s ‘Daily Twist’ is one of our all-time favorite social media campaigns

Few cookies have reached the same level of iconicity as Kraft Foods’ Oreo. Its round shape, blackish color and white cream stuffing have undeniably added to its success but as a social media agency we wonder: where would the crowd-pleasing, twistable cookie be today without effective social media marketing?

Let’s zoom in on one of their global digital and social media campaigns that reached millions of hearts (and mouths) and delivered proof that even cookies can provide endless food for thought. We are talking about the wildly successful ‘Daily Twist’ campaign that saw a 110% growth in fan interaction per social-media post only a few months after the campaign was launched. Even though the campaign dates back to 2012, in our view, it earned a spot among the best food branding campaigns on social media ever. Here’s why…

It used milestones and pop culture events to create engagement

2012 was the year that America’s favorite cookie turned 100. Needless to say, it was a cause for celebration.

Every day for 100 days, the Oreo was given a different “twist” – styled to look like Elvis, a panda bear or like the surface of Mars after the Mars Rover had driven over it. On the ‘Daily Twist’ site, users could suggest their “twist”. The campaign was driven on Facebook and also featured on Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest.

The Oreo twists were especially created to spark conversation and sharing, referring to milestones or pop culture events that people could relate to and share their thoughts about.

It had timely and shareable content combined with an element of surprise

While some of the cookie designs were planned ahead like the Olympics or Labor Day, others were more agile, tapping into events like the premiere of ‘Batman: The Dark Knight Rises’, the release of the iPhone5 and the birth of a Chinese panda bear. Monitoring trending topics and utilizing current events ensured the content was always relevant and timely. Couple that with the surprise of what each day would bring, and you’ve got a campaign worth tuning into.

They exercized strong brand values

The campaign kicked-off with the Gay Pride rainbow cookie in recognition of the LGBT community, much to the chagrin of conservative crowds.

The Facebook post set off a heated online debate that even led opponents of gay marriage to call for an Oreo boycott. But while supporters and opponents were fighting their online battle, the rainbow cookie doubled Oreo’s fan growth.

By having a strong stance and sticking to it, Oreo established itself as a courageous brand amongst its more liberal fans.

The campaign had an integrated marketing approach, combining the offline and online worlds

The campaign finale took place at Times Square in New York. They set up a pop up agency there, from which they designed the last ‘Daily Twist’, based on suggestions from fans. Earlier that morning, the brand had asked its Twitter followers and Facebook fans to offer ideas, which were going up live on a billboard. Creatives would select the best ones and three of them were then put to an online vote. The winning cookie, celebrating the anniversary of the first high five, was designed on the spot and was displayed on a big billboard.

A seamless flow between the online and offline worlds, and the mix of social and traditional marketing allowed for a greater experience and showed that Oreo mastered the integrated marketing approach.

It put the product in the center – without being self-centered

Oreo’s ability to put their product at the center of the campaign and still make the content relatable and entertaining for a massive range of users is (in our opinion) the most important factor in the success of the ‘Daily Twist’ campaign. The content was heavily branded, yet still relevant, timely and shareable – without ever begging for likes, comments and shares.

Lessons learned

The ‘Daily Twist’ campaign set an example of how important it is to create content that resonates with your audience. There are many ways to find out what moves your fans. For Lurpak®, we identified what kind of recipes the audience was searching for. As a result, we created content that we already knew people wanted to engage with. Read how we did it here.