Your Brand’s Uber-Fans Are Not Uber-Advocates. So Who Is?

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From Fast Company:

In this unknown territory of advocacy, marketing teams are using the terms “fans” and “advocates” interchangeably, which is wrong. The definition of a fanatic (or fan) is an individual marked by excessive enthusiasm and often intense uncritical devotion to a person, place, thing, etc. An advocate, on the other hand, is someone that pleads the cause of another, or one that supports or promotes the interest of another.

A recent study did a great job of profiling a brand advocate. It found that advocates are prolific content creators, producing and curating more than twice as many online communications about brands as the average web user. The report also found that nearly 60% of advocates send information about products, brands, sales, or stores via social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. On average, brand advocates are 2.5 times more likely to use social media as a means to expand their friend network and they’re recommending you about 26 times a year.

Here’s one idea: Like Nascar, launch a brand-owned and operated online community that creates exclusivity amongst stakeholders and serves as an additional marketing touch point. The Nascar Fan Council includes 12,000 handpicked Nascar viewers that are given a chance to be heard as they connect directly with the brand and other fans to influence key decisions within the organization. When customers, or in this case viewers, are given a stake in the future of a brand, they’re much more likely to become and stay advocates. Customers that see their opinions turn into real choices, like the launch of the Gen-6 model for Nascar earlier this year, are more likely to stick around and vocalize their positive attitudes about the organization to others. The Nascar Fan Council approach is one that works. It’s so popular today that it has wait list of folks in line to join the community.

Continue reading the rest of the story on Fast Company