Converting the power of social media into brand advocacy
Diana Dietz, e-PRO
Apr 13, 2012
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With a growing number of businesses integrating social media into their organization, it’s important to establish a strong social media team of both employees and customers to be company brand ambassadors, according to Michael Brito, senior vice-president of social business planning at Edelman Digital.

Brito recently presented a lecture series The Shift to Social Business as part of HootSuite University’s library of social media content. He says it’s important to learn how to engage social customers, and integrate social media across a business organization. He offers insight into how businesses can convert the power of fans and followers into brand advocacy.

‘How to reach the social customer’

“From a brand perspective, because of the social dynamic of the customer, how do we reach the customer?” asks Brito. “The social customer filters content so that he only interacts with the content that is relevant to him at that specific time.”

“The key to successfully reaching the social customer is through advocacy. An advocate is somebody who’s influencing their community through the purchase funnel,” adds Brito. “You need to have consistent messages across all social media platforms in order to change the behavior of the customer so they buy your product or recommend to others to buy your product through natural conversations.”

‘Define a social brand’

A social brand is any company, product, or individual that uses social technologies in order to communicate with the social customer or the general public. “A social brand is somebody who is using technology to connect with customers.”

‘Brand omnipresence’

“When we think about Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, everything needs to work in sync. A brand needs to be very specific,” explains Brito. “There are certain types of behavior and types of Tweets and Facebook updates that may put your company in jeopardy. It’s important to make sure everyone in your company receives proper training and guidelines internally.”

‘Social business’

The way an organization communicates creates and engages through social media creates value to the customer. “The social customer creates value by buying our products and indirectly selling them through advocacy,” notes Brito. “By taking those insights and actually changing a business model based on what the community wants is true business value for the customer. Listening to the social customer without any type of action is worse than not listening at all.”

“The shift in social business is more than Twitter and Facebook,” concludes Brito. “It’s driving internal change. It’s creating shared value not just among customers but also employees. When you have employees who are happy to go to work each day and who are sharing messages and communicating with customers and friends; that’s where the true business value is.”