By lowering the barriers to sharing, brands are discovering that they can harness the power of earned reach. At the pinnacle of that earned reach is advocacy. To-date, the definition of advocacy has been synonymous with positive sentiment, but advocacy deserves more credit as it is much harder to achieve than positive sentiment alone. Defined by Mr Youth, advocacy is a piece of content that must contain both positive sentiment and a clear call-to-action.
With this definition in mind, we set out to understand what consumers were organically advocating for across social media. Were they advocating for a brand? A celebrity? A cat video? We had our hypothesis, but we wanted data to back up our experience and intuition. As a result, we cast a wide net across Twitter and Facebook and manually sifted through conversations that contained both positive sentiment plus a call-to-action. For example, a consumer saying: “This music video is awesome, you have to watch it” would have been considered advocacy.
We then analyzed the conversations that met our definition of advocacy and discovered the top five things consumers advocate for are:
These five specific categories can be distilled into two main motivators: entertainment and emotion. These elements are inherently social as consumers like to entertain and inspire each other.
In looking more closely at the leading category of videos, the content posted most often related to music– specifically both artists and bands. This finding surprised us as we had initially hypothesized that humorous videos would drive advocacy.
In diving deeper into the category of causes, we observed that consumers were tapping into their emotional side by advocating for causes and subsequently linking to the respective cause’s videos or website. Consumers also created status updates supporting close friends’ business ventures while other updates focused on a non-personal connection like a soldier on active duty abroad.
Products and brands in particular trail these top five categories. So how can brands increase their own earned advocacy? The first step is to increase opportunities for sharing positive brand experiences.
While not all brands have an entertaining edge or an emotional tie, they do have the opportunity to activate their brand advocates by allowing for frictionless sharing of their assets. If marketers are striving to create brand advocacy, they need to strategically lower the barriers to sharing which will in turn generate earned reach. While lowering the barrier to sharing is essential, it is also important not to force consumers to share – for doing so can completely backfire. Take Spotify for example: consumers were annoyed when they first realized the application broadcasted their embarrassing playlists to their Facebook friends, and as a result many fled right back to Pandora. Don’t make that same mistake.
Given this differentiated definition of advocacy (positive sentiment + a call-to-action), take a second look at your own brand’s health across social media – do you have as many advocates as you originally thought you did? Do you know where they prefer to hang out online and how to activate them?
To make your social properties advocate for your brand, reach out to the architects of advocacy at MRY for a comprehensive audit of your ecosystem.
1 MR Youth examined a randomized sample from the last year, manually sifted through conversations to get 200 that fit our definition of advocacy and then grouped the conversations into categories that were not mutually exclusive. For example, a post advocating for a music video would be categorized in both music and video.