Wouldn’t it be great if you and your marketing team could sit back, relax, and let your customers do the work of promoting your brand for you? If there was an army of deliriously happy customers who couldn’t wait to spread the word about how much they love your products and services?

That’s brand advocacy, and thanks to social media, it’s not some unobtainable daydream.

The brands that can deliver exceptional experiences, discover which customers are most vocal about those experiences and empower those customers to spread the word are going to be big winners on social media. Here’s how you can use social data to identify your advocates and unlock their word-of-mouth marketing potential.

Find potential advocates

In order to work with brand advocates, your team must first find them. To start, you can simply explore who is mentioning your brand’s Twitter handle, product and service names, and other related names on social media. Using the LeadSift platform can help you automate this process by pulling out users who have mentioned your brand in a specific timeframe, so that you can add them to your database of potential advocates. You can also compare mentions of your brand versus your competitors and keywords, to determine if they are truly a fan of you, or just your industry as a whole.

You can also discover potential advocates by exploring who has interacted with your tweets and other social posts. Chances are, many of the customers who are already commenting, retweeting and clicking your links would be willing to increase their interaction with your brand with a little nudge in the right direction.

Separate the advocates from the data.

You will need three vital pieces of information in order to identify the best candidates for brand advocacy: a) their stage of the buyer’s journey b) their sentiment and c) their level of influence.
If a users tweets to your brand frequently but they have not yet made a decision between you and your competitors, they are unlikely to be a good candidate (until after they make a purchase). And if their tweets are negative in sentiment, it’s likely that they won’t be the best representation of your brand. And, even if this user is a current customer tweeting positively about your brand, if they have only a handful of disengaged followers, their high praise of your brand is unlikely to be seen by many others.
You want to target influential current and past customers who have had positive experiences with your products or services, as these are the users with the credibility and drive to want to share their experience with others, and the chance to be effective while doing it.

Your brand ambassadors at work

Identifying who your potential brand ambassadors are can help you empower them to become part of your brand – and to encourage others to do the same. By offering them exclusive or early access to content, public shout-outs on social media, or other incentives, your “unofficial” marketing team could balloon to include hundreds of your happy customers.