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Are You Engaging Brand Advocates To Market Your Business?

Brand AdvocatesI’m going to say something radical: I’m sick and tired of hearing that if you post great content on your blog you’ll become a star, or bad content and you’re in the doghouse.

Of course you’re trying to write the best content you can. Does it make sense that you would post your worst content?

Great content is likened to the Pied Piper, leading readers to your site where they will leave nifty comments and buy your products. But I’ll let you in on a little secret. If you believe that by simply building it they will come, I have a bridge in Brooklyn I want to sell you.

Engaging Brand Advocates

No, you need to work your (I was about to say ass off) connections so they become your brand advocates to promote your business. Who are these people?  Your brand advocates are your employees, your connections in your social media communities and your personal friends who will voluntarily spread your message across the web.

Let’s start with employees

Even if you are head of a very small company, your employees are no doubt already on either one or all of the most popular networks: Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Assemble a pilot group of employees who are willing to promote your company and its products or services through their social networks. You can create simple guidelines about not spilling the company’s secrets.

But, as Jon Iawata, SVP of Marketing & Communications for IBM says in this video, you can trust your employees to do the right thing. If they wanted to give away your proprietary information, there’s nothing stopping them now from doing it at midnight in a garage.

Your employees want the company to be successful because then they have more opportunities to grow. Give them the messages you want to communicate and set them loose. Also ask them to comment on your corporate blog posts and retweet them.

Allow them to set up their own company branded blogs. Again, using IBM as example, check out IBMer’s Blogs where dozens of employees are blogging away. Just imagine the traffic they are driving to the company’s website and the good will they are building for the IBM brand. And you know what that leads to –more business.

Tap into your social media communities

Suppose you are a solopreneur. You don’t have a cadre of employees to promote your blogs and company information. You can leverage your blogs by:

  • Publishing them to social media sites. You’re already doing that, right? If you have a WordPress blog there are a number of plugins that will automatically send your content to pingfm.com and you can choose the networks where you want to post your content, including the Big Three.
  • Start discussions on LinkedIn. You can belong to up to 50 groups on LinkedIn related to your subject area. Post your blogs to the appropriate groups – and your own updates — and you will get a lot of traffic back to your blog. When I first started blogging, LinkedIn was my main source of traffic. Now it’s search engines, but I still receive hundreds of visitors a month from LinkedIn. Also, answer questions, post your slide shows through Slide Share, and get recommendations. These are golden.
  • Join Ning Communities. Facebook isn’t the only game in town. You can form your own community on Ning or join an existing one, as I did, the Employee Engagement Network. I’ve commented on discussions and posted original blogs, all linking back to my own site. I even contributed a quote to one of their e-books, “Employee Engagement in Just Six Words.” (My quote was “Can I Help You to Improve?”).
  • Join Groups on Facebook. The groups on Facebook don’t have as many members as on LinkedIn but they will grow. Also, get people to Like your fan page so that your content gets posted to their walls.
  • Join Support Groups. I belong to two groups, one on LinkedIn and one on Google Groups. In the LinkedIn Group, Bloggers Helping Bloggers, we comment on each other’s blogs, which improves our SEO and attracts more visitors. Members of my Google Group retweet each other’s blogs so that our posts get distributed to all their followers.

Personal Friends

Hey, there is no reason why you can tap into your personal friends. They understand what it means to have to make a living. Ask them to post comments to your blogs, RT, Digg, Stumble, and Like on Facebook and Reddit. What are friends for but to help you build your business?

Don’t Get Discouraged

There are hundreds of thousands of blogs. So you may be discouraged because you thought your blog would automatically bring you tons of traffic that would convert to business. Your blog, in my view, should still be the centerpiece of your social media strategy. It’s your hub, the springboard for driving your content throughout the web. You’ll get traffic — but it won’t happen all by itself. You need to give it a push.

So what are you doing to market your business on the web? Please share your ideas in the comments section. Thanks, and happy hunting!

About Jeannette Paladino

Jeannette Paladino, Writer-in-Chief at Write Speak Sell, helps organizations leverage social media to burnish their brands, increase their revenues and engage employees as brand advocates.

11 comments

  1. New Balance 1063 says:

    Great article! That is the type of info that should be shared around
    the web. Shame on the seek engines for now not positioning this put up upper!
    Come on over and discuss with my website . Thank you =)

  2. werbemittel says:

    It’s really challenging to build up a successful business in a short period of time . but if we follow a proper good plan then we can make our dreams true. i think you are right that advocates are our employee.

    1. Jeannette Paladino ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      Nice to see a couple of new comments. It is difficult to build a business when you’re a solo entrepreneur. A lot of people leave jobs thinking they can make their own hours and build in a lot of free time for their hobbies. The reality is, if you work alone you probably are on a 24/7 schedule. Nonetheless, you can leverage your social networks to market your business by constantly “liking” Facebook pages, retweeting content and engaging in conversations. They will go viral and you will be getting great exposure even when you’re sleeping!

  3. Jac Evans says:

    Hi
    To make the business successful and continue is not easy thing. We have performing a lots of function. We have also know how about the market.
    thanks,

  4. Brad Harmon says:

    Great tips, Jeannette.  One of the tools I advocate for small business owners to set up is a listening post.  There’s so much valuable information you can glean from these including who’s talking about you online.  Hopefully, your employees are saying great things about you.  If they’re not, then it might be a sign that you need to step up and foster an environment that encourages them to do so.

    I’m one of those who hasn’t used LinkedIn beyond the very basic functions.  It’s something I’ve started to concentrate on in the past few weeks.  Any great posts on your site as to how you’re using it so effectively?

  5. jeannettepaladino ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Appreciate the comments on my post. If you’re not engaging on LinkedIn you’re missing out on gaining new readers. Also, it’s the social network of business professionals and there’s more involved then just getting your numbers up. You can forge new relationships and business opportunities. It can be overwhelming, so you need to choose carefully otherwise your email box will be filled with group discussions!

  6. Aaron Andrews says:

    I really need to do a better job with my social networks.  I know I am not engaging enough on Twitter.  I work a 8-5 every day and it’s pretty hard to update, but it can be done.  Some times I struggle with finding things to talk about, there are times I really don’t have anything to say lol.  That is something I need to improve on though.  

    1. Danny Iny says:

      I know what you mean, Andrew, it can be pretty challenging.

      Something that I’ve started using is BufferApp – that way when I read my regular list of blogs in the morning, instead of tweeting things out in rapid succession, I can put them in the buffer to be tweeted out throughout the day.

      Thanks for stopping by, Andrew!

  7. Anonymous ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Nice post and so true in many aspects.  The point I like most is posting to your groups in LinkedIn.  I have not done that.  I do belong to several really good groups but I have not put the time in I should.  I always think about it and tell myself I NEED to do that.  I receive several messages about their discussions but honestly I am not engaging as I should be. I believe I am in the right groups for my market and you have definitely inspired to make that effort.  Thanks for the suggestions!

    1. Danny Iny says:

      You bet, Michelle – Jeannette did a great job with this post. 🙂

      Actually, I’m in the same boat as you – I’ve got several LinkedIn groups that I belong to and would probably get a lot of mileage out of working with properly… I just haven’t found the time…

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