What most practitioners (and even consultants) can agree on though, is that social is definitely only one tool in the marketing toolbox. And the way you use that tools, or set of tools, is the difference between success or fodder for another social media disaster case study.
In the word of mouth marketing world, the proliferation of social media can sometimes seems overwhelming with all the cart-before-the-horseness going on. And I know I’m tough on social media someti-well, most of the time, but I do have to admit that when it comes to identifying who the true advocates are for an industry, brand or cause, social media is a great filter.
Back in the “old days,” there was a lot more legwork to find these advocates. It was going out and talking to local store owners, or asking for and reading the “love letters” that a company received from their customers. It was tracking down and connecting the word of mouth recommendation dots offline that was part detective work, part anthropologist work. And to be absolutely clear, we still use these methods in conjunction with social channels.
But what social has brought to the table is being able to – with some work – see who those hand-raisers are online. Sure you have a million likes on your brand Facebook page, but those people commenting daily on your posts and sharing them out to their networks? That’s a no-brainer. It’s also probably less then 1% of your “community.” Same thing with Twitter. Or Pinterest. You get the idea. These people WANT to be identified and recognized. They’re practically begging for it. And creating a specific, targeted list of criteria makes a great filter so you make sure that you’re getting the best of the best – and not just people who want free stuff.
So taking these online advocates and combining them with the offline ones that you find through your legwork is a great base for an advocate program. You’ll be amazed at the power of those people coming together and what it means for your brand.