In a previous blog post, we discussed some ways that organizations can incentivize brand advocates. Incentives are a big part of driving the success of social media advocacy programs, and are critical in keeping advocates onboard and engaged. Advocates will not want to get, or remain, involved if they do not feel that they are being properly compensated for their time, effort, and loyalty. That being said, incentives don’t just have to benefit the advocates- they can be mutually beneficial, and serve as yet another form of marketing for the organization.
How is this so? A simple way of incentivizing advocates is just simply paying them. This is the approach that a lot of influencer marketing campaigns take on- celebrities can get paid large sums of money for posting on social media about a specific product. But other than the increased exposure from the influencer’s post, how does the organization itself really benefit? It is important for organizations to consider some more creative ways of incentivizing advocates that can also benefit the organization itself.
The best approach to take is incentivizing advocates with free/discounted branded gear or products. For example, an advocate can receive a free t-shirt with the company name in exchange for sharing a certain amount of posts about the company. By doing this, the company is essentially paying brand advocates to be marketing reps in exchange for…you got it, being marketing reps. If someone is willing to help share and promote a brand in exchange for a t-shirt which itself promotes the brand, then it is a win for everybody.
Research has shown that promotional products can be a very effective form of marketing in and of themselves- they draw as many as 500 percent more referrals from satisfied customers than an appeal letter alone. It is important, however, to dig a little deeper and think about what exactly your advocates would value in promotional products. Different consumer groups may be more impacted by different products. In general, however, research has shown that the most popular types of products include items that can be consumed, items that can be worn, and items associated with digital communication, like mouse pads and USB drives.
Where many companies tend to stumble is the actual execution of social media advocacy programs, and a big challenge within that is determining how to effectively distribute incentives to the advocates. Luckily, Fanzee is here to make it a lot easier. As the ultimate platform for social media advocacy, Fanzee streamlines the process and makes it a lot easier for organizations to tap into this powerful marketing strategy. Through the ability to offer incentives, like branded promotional products, organizations using Fanzee have the power to get people to share content and improve the marketing position, but also to intrinsically feel a part of the brand/organization by being rewarded for doing so. This method allows organizations to nurture would-be advocates into advocates, and to leverage their social media reach while also inherently positively reinforcing their connection to the organization/brand.
In conclusion, offering incentives is a key element of any brand advocacy strategy. It is what keeps brand advocates engaged and what drives them to continue to share content from the organization. That being said, offering incentives should not be just an exchange of a reward for a service (sharing the content). By offering promotional products that are branded as an incentive, organizations can strengthen the relationship between consumers and the brand, and get the double benefit of advocates that share content and also display their promotional products for others to see, a form of marketing itself.