Social media has forever changed the way brands market. The consumer has now become a brand’s most influential stakeholder, wielding the ability to influence friends and peers significantly more than advertisers. This shift in power has caused a corresponding transformation in Social marketing: consumer advocacy is now a critical part of any brand’s marketing strategy.
Over the past few years, brands have made significant investments in building Social marketing presences and amassing Social followers. This brand-focused approach to Social marketing has left companies struggling to understand the real value behind these initiatives. Until recently, the only available metrics were around engagement – number of likes, followers, +1s, etc., which don’t translate directly to measurable ROI.
The next phase of Social marketing is all about consumer advocacy. As consumers continue to gain more influence, brands have an opportunity to harness the power of their customer advocates to get them spreading the word on their behalf. Brands can identify their highly engaged, loyal customer advocates and ignite them to foster the sharing of content (earned media) around the products and services they sell.
Advocacy programs, ambassador programs, or consumer to consumer (C2C) Social marketing programs, as we call them at Extole, amplify results across the entire marketing funnel because they harness the power of trusted recommendations from friends. Improved marketing results include:
Brands drive new high-value sales and leads with increased conversion rates, higher average order value and greater lifetime value. For example, Folica, an online retailer of hair care products, knew from online reviews that new customers often purchased because of recommendations from their friends. Folica launched a C2C social marketing program to amplify word of mouth (WOM) referrals. Within 30 days, Folica saw a 93% email open rate and a 16% conversion rate for the program.
Brands amplify awareness and reach across Social networks and drive referral traffic back to their brand.com website, while generating powerful earned media to improve paid media. Roku, a provider of streaming entertainment devices, knew that 25% of its customers bought a Roku player based on referrals from family or friends. In order to harness this social WOM, Roku launched a C2C social marketing program. After six months, Roku increased its customer-based referrals by 30%.
Brands gain unprecedented insight into program ROI, advocates and influence, as well as Social reach and amplification. The ability to track, optimize and test C2C programs based on deep insights enables brands to see real social marketing results. For example, SendGrid, a cloud based email delivery service, achieved a 428% ROI with its C2C social marketing program.
Marketers are realizing that the true power of Social marketing lies in consumer advocacy – turning customers into a highly effective marketing channel. Brands can drive earned media, amplify awareness, and acquire new high-value customers, while gaining valuable insight into customer bases and advocates. At the end of the day, brands’ consumers are their most valuable asset and can be harnessed to drive real marketing results.
©2015, The Tomorrow Project, LLC