In today’s hyper-connected world, building an authentic relationship with customers is not merely a strategy—it’s the lifeblood of sustainable growth. Customer advocacy programs aren’t about transactional relationships; they’re about fostering a thriving customer community that enhances loyalty, inspires innovation, and amplifies word-of-mouth.
But before jumping into it, businesses need to create an environment that focuses on the customer.
They have to make sure that everyone feels important.
This is where having a community comes into play. It’s more than just a place for people to talk about products; it’s about bringing people together.
THREE REASONS WHY COMMUNITY AND CUSTOMER ADVOCACY ARE A GREAT MATCH
An online community with a brand’s name on it is like a gathering spot for customers. What is the community there for? It’s a place where customers can talk to the company, solve problems together, and learn how to use the products better. The online community itself becomes a tool that turns customers into fans and promoters of the brand.
Here’s why having a community is an important step toward finding and building new advocates for a company:
- Finding and Making Customer Advocates
The more positive experiences a customer has with a brand, the more they start to trust it. That trust turns them into advocates – people who’ll speak up and support the brand. This is where the community helps.
Through building an online community, businesses can keep engaging with customers and fostering engagement with each other.
How? Here are some ways:
- Create content that matches the interests of customers
- Tailor the experience based on different types of customers
- Make the user experience special for each person
To find advocates, businesses need to look for customers who:
- Take part in the community often
- Stand up for the brand if something goes wrong
- Are really excited about the product or company
- Share good stories or help others
- Answer questions or give feedback willingly
With tools like Higher Logic’s online community platform, businesses can even send personalized messages to customers and help them along their journey.
- Helping Other Customers Become Advocates
Have you ever seen a ladder and noticed how it helps you go higher one step at a time? That’s how advocacy works, too. The more involved a customer becomes in your online community, the more likely they’ll become an advocate.
Advocates in the community help others who are new or need assistance. When experienced customers share tips and excitement, it spreads to everyone else. This helps the business keep customers and make more money.
You can imagine the online community as a guide. It welcomes new people, helps them, rewards them, and identifies those who can be advocates. This is like walking someone from the bottom of the ladder to the top, step by step.
- Creating a Space for Working Together
A community isn’t just about customers. It’s about the whole company. It’s a place where advocates can show off and help others. Even people who are just thinking about buying something can join in and learn from the community.
Customer advocates are often more trusted than salespeople. The more advocates there are, the more help there is for selling more products and growing the business.
MAKE CUSTOMER ADVOCACY STRONGER WITH AN ONLINE COMMUNITY
Customer advocates are special. You can’t just buy their support; you have to earn it. Building a community lets a business give before asking for anything in return. By identifying who’s already an advocate and making more, the business can then use their help and expertise.
If you want to learn more about building a strong community-led advocacy program, you can check out an eBook that talks about how to make customer advocacy better with a community.
A SIMPLE SUMMARY: WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
Here’s a way to understand all of this in simpler terms:
- Customer Advocacy Programs: Think of them like a group of fans for a favorite sports team. They cheer, spread the word, and bring in more fans.
- Community: This is the stadium where all the fans gather. They talk about the game, share tips, and enjoy being together.
- Finding Advocates: Imagine the most loyal fans who are always there, cheering loudly. They’re the ones who love the team the most.
- Helping Others Become Advocates: It’s like loyal fans encouraging others to cheer. They share the excitement and make others want to join in.
- Working Together: The stadium is open to everyone. Even people who are new to the game can come in, learn, and become fans.
By bringing all these parts together, a business can create something powerful. It’s about more than just selling products; it’s about creating connections, trust, and a sense of belonging. It’s about building something that lasts.
The community becomes the heart of the brand, where customers feel like they’re part of something bigger. It’s where they can find help, share experiences, and become more than just customers—they become advocates, champions of the brand, who help it grow and thrive.
So, the next time you’re part of a community—whether it’s for a favorite brand or anything else—remember that you’re not just a customer.
You could be an advocate, someone who helps make that community, and the brand behind it, even better. That’s the power of community and customer advocacy. It’s something we can all be part of, and it’s something that can make a difference for businesses everywhere.
Want to figure out where you are today? Start with this Customer Advocacy Maturity Model.
Director of Marketing, Corporate
Jeff Breunsbach is the Director of Marketing, Corporate at Higher Logic, and co-founder of the well-known Gain Grow Retain community for Customer Success leaders. Previously, Jeff was a Managing Partner at Customer Imperative, which was acquired by Higher Logic in 2020.
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