Showing that a brand cares about its customers’ experience and satisfaction is a powerful way to build trust and credibility with target audiences. While organizations may realize that leveraging customer advocacy in their marketing can help foster brand loyalty and growth, the challenge lies in doing so in a genuine and authentic manner that resonates with consumers.
Here, 15 Forbes Agency Council members share practical tips on how to organically incorporate customer advocacy into marketing efforts. Follow their actionable insights below to ensure your customer advocacy feels authentic, not forced, and elevate your marketing strategy to create a lasting impact on target audiences.
1. Invite Customers To Be Podcast Guests
Invite customers to be guests on your podcast to authentically share their firsthand stories and experiences. Avoid scripting. Focus first on their experience, their struggle (the problem you solve) and the impact of this on their business. Your solution (your service or product) will be a natural part of the discussion. Ask engaging questions that draw out specific details and emotions. – Diana Marquez, PinkPiano Inc
2. Endorse Your Clients
We routinely endorse our clients at conferences and via email and social media. Because we have built our own reputation and relationships over time, this vote of confidence from us is meaningful. We also set up our own publishing platforms to facilitate the quick and unfettered dissemination of client videos, podcasts, news releases, articles and profiles. – Marie Swift, Impact Communications, Inc.
3. Have A Robust Recruitment Process
Besides continuous training, it’s essential to have a robust recruitment process. Recognize potential early and provide growth paths. Culturally, as a Salvadoran, I believe in nurturing relationships, which applies directly to our staff. We foster a committed and knowledgeable customer advocacy culture by understanding and aligning their ambitions with company goals. – Rodolfo Salazar, QUDOX Growth Marketing
4. Ensure All Employees Actively Engage Customers
Authentic customer advocacy starts at the top and permeates every level of the organization. Every team member plays a role in building genuine relationships with customers. When employees actively engage with, listen to and understand the customer, it fosters a deep connection that naturally translates into advocacy, strengthening the brand’s organic reach. – Bryanne DeGoede, BLND Public Relations
Forbes Agency Council is an invitation-only community for executives in successful public relations, media strategy, creative and advertising agencies. Do I qualify?
5. Let Customers Share Their Stories In Their Own Words
When it comes to weaving customer advocacy into marketing, it’s all about keeping it real. Let customers share their stories in their own words—no scripts, no prompts. Celebrate those genuine moments and let the world see why people genuinely love what you’re offering. Authenticity beats any ad spend, every time. – Kenny Tripura, Edkent Media
6. Match Your Messaging And Brand Goals
Inexperienced marketers often get caught up in the ad hype, focusing on delivering instant results while skipping tried-and-true brand and customer advocacy growth. Brand development in the digital space, in and of itself, cannot be done with ads alone. Customer advocacy is a pillar of brand growth, so the messaging and the targeting must match brand goals and be done naturally. – Aleksandar Sasha Jovicic, Executive Digital
7. Amplify The Reasons Customers Love Your Brand
Authentic customer advocacy comes from customers who have real, relatable stories about your brand. Find out why they love you and how they use your product or service. Then, amplify their stories via social and public relations to others who are similar to your original fans. Finally, double down by building your offering around your most vociferous fans, which gives them even more reason to talk about you. – Reid Carr, Red Door Interactive
8. Make Customer Advocacy A Core Brand Value
When customer advocacy is a core brand value, marketing around it feels organic and authentic. But if it’s just a marketing campaign, it can come across as virtue signaling and backfire. To avoid this, brands should focus on building deep customer relationships, creating opportunities for customers to share their stories and giving back to the community in meaningful ways. – Uri Samet, Buzz Dealer
9. Ask Clients To Film Video Testimonials
There is no question that video is the most powerful marketing tool right now and likely will be in 2024 as well. Getting clients to film a quick video testimony can prove highly beneficial; it helps you come across as authentic while utilizing video and showing that clients like your business so much they’ll film a video for it. – Trey Robinson, Story Amplify
10. Create Case Studies To Spotlight Client Successes
Most leaders want the opportunity to share their success. We offer clients an opportunity to spotlight their accomplishments in case studies that provide insights into strategies, challenges and success metrics. In this way, we do the heavy lifting by developing the case study, but they get the chance to shine in the eyes of their peers. It’s a win-win because we can showcase our efforts as well. – Paula Chiocchi, Outward Media, Inc.
11. Support Advocacy In Your Own Company
The best way to incorporate customer advocacy is to support advocacy in your own company. My firm grew out of my advocacy work in the cannabis industry, and we still uphold those same values as individuals and as a team. When advocacy is built into your company’s identity, highlighting the activism of your clients feels natural—and meaningful, too. – Evan Nison, NisonCo
12. Implement A ‘One Extra Step’ Policy
Empower everyone in your customer-facing team to send one extra follow-up email, to ask one extra question, to give one extra piece of advice, or to say one extra “thank you” to clients for putting their trust in your company. Always overdeliver, and do whatever it takes to show that you really care about them. People will spread the word about you naturally. – Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS
13. Film Client Interviews Over Zoom
Rather than asking for reviews on Google (which are great), jump on Zoom interviews with your clients and chat about their experience working with your brand. This content can then be edited into testimonials and used in your promotional content. The unpolished nature of Zoom can actually convey more credibility and authenticity to your audience. – Bernard May, National Positions
14. Include Product Reviews On Product Pages
Product reviews that appear on product pages are the best way to incorporate customer advocacy that will have a big impact on your bottom line. Of course, to get the reviews, a brand has to have the right products, accurate descriptions and photography, and great customer service. Following up each purchase with a review incentive is a great way to encourage happy customers to share with the world. – Revecka Jallad, DIVISA
15. Focus On Building Relationships
Start by identifying satisfied customers and inviting them to share their experiences through testimonials, case studies or user-generated content. Offer a platform for these advocates to share their stories, whether it’s a feature on your website, social media or community forums. – George Arabian, NVISION