How to Turn Brand Advocates into Content Creators

It seems like brands everywhere can’t get enough high-value good quality content to fill their growing marketing needs. Content marketing isn’t exactly a new strategy but it has definitely taken off in the last 2 years. After spending the last few years focusing on building followers and social media ROI, marketers are now seeing the benefits of educating and entertaining their customers, fans and followers using quality content.

However, content marketing poses a few problems for marketers. Not only are fans and followers devouring content quicker than marketers can keep up, good quality content marketing also takes time and money. Many brands have taken to outsourcing content development and creating content, whether internally or externally, is expensive and brands are struggling to have their budgets meet demand.

With expert tips and tricks, you’ll learn how to leverage band advocates to get more content that is affordable, performs better and will solve your content problem.

Differences Between Brand Content & Advocate Created Content

Let’s be honest, not only is branded content expensive, with many companies spending up to 25% of their allotted budgets to create the content; most of that content is also pretty self-promotional. Consumers eventually get turned off by content that is too self-promotional. Advocate created content has an edge because it allows your brand story to be told through the eyes of others. Consumers find this type of content so trustworthy that advocate created content gets 10X more engagement than branded content. 84% of these consumers will trust honest reviews and recommendations from friends and family more than any form of advertising, according to the 2013 Nielsen Global Trust in Advertising Survey.

So how do you find out who your brand advocates are? Your brand advocates can be bloggers who review your products, customers who have had positive experiences and even your own employees. You can find and develop relationships with your brand advocates by searching through fans and followers on social networks and filtering through customer and employee databases.

Once you’ve found them, you can start encouraging them to share the content they’ve created. Here are 5 tips on how to do that:

1) Make It Easy

Your brand advocates will be more willing to share your content if you make it easier for them. Provide advocates with great available content. Even though advocates love your brand, they might not necessarily go out and look for content to share. Providing them with great available content lowers the barriers and increases the likelihood that they will create and share great content for your brand.

Example: Chipotle created an animated short known as the Scarecrow to illustrate how important it is to cultivate healthy, non-processed food is and incorporated a mobile game with the campaign. Not only did the YouTube video get 6 million views and turn viral, the content was shared numerous times by brand advocates and fans all over the world.

2) Help Them Get Started

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One way to encourage advocates to create short-form content (such as an Instagram video) or long-form content (ie. a blog post) is to give them a prompt to get started. Advocates may want to share, but they could be having trouble finding something to say. Giving them a topic or theme can go a long way to getting advocates to share content quickly.

Example: The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) has simply asked celebrities and festival goers to share their favorite moments from the festival using the hashtag #TIFF14. Any content with the hashtag gets shared and collated across all social media platforms and helps break the ice for advocates wondering how to get started.

3) Don’t be Too Rigid

Giving advocates prompts or directions to help them get started is great, but be aware of being too restrictive. Advocates know their audiences best, so allow them to the freedom to customize messages that fit their audiences best.

4) Provide variety

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Providing advocates with content in different formats is a great way to ensure that they always have a variety of content to choose from. Videos from events and infographics are great examples of shareable content.

5) Keep it Fresh

Update your content and prompts every couple of weeks to make sure advocates always have opportunities to share new content. Also, inform advocates when new prompts are available so they can contribute

Re-purposing Advocate Content

Re-purposing advocate content on your brand-owned channels is a great way to thank your advocates and also maximize the reach of their content. Here’s another reason to repurpose that content: advocate content performs 7X better on brand owned channels than the brand’s own content.

Where to Re-purpose Advocate Content

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Social Media

Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube are great platforms to repurpose advocate content because of the high visibility the channels provide brands. All these channels are great places to re-purpose videos, photos and any blog posts or articles.

Website

Showcasing advocate content on your website homepage, blog or dedicated page is a great way to thank you brand advocates for their great content and create a content hub that other uses can go to, to see the best of your advocate created videos, blog posts and photos.

Print

Whether it’s inside a bricks-and-mortar store or in a catalogue, taking digital images offline can help extend the lifetime of the content and help to maximize its ability to reach different audiences.

Conclusion

By engaging with brand advocates to share their content to supplement what brands are already doing on their own online and social channels, brands will see higher social engagement. Powering advocates to share their story helps companies to grow their businesses.

Stay tuned here every week to find more expert tips and tricks to creating better marketing campaigns and become a PR pro!

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Top 10 Valentine’s Day Ads

With love in the air this month, how are you celebrating? Are you surfing online stores to find that perfect gift for the love of your life, making something by hand or just sitting down to a fantastic meal?

While I’m uncertain about what kind of surprises will come my way personally, I couldn’t help but be curious about how the world of advertising and business chooses to observe Valentine’s Day. After all, you see print ads in magazines, ads on network television and billboards all over every major city for holidays such as Christmas-what kind of ad campaigns would there be for Valentine’s Day?

After doing some research, I found more than few creative ads as well as a few heartwarming campaigns that have become some of my favourites that I would love to share with you all.

Without further ado… (in no particular order)here are some of best Valentine’s Day ads I’ve ever seen .

1. Watch Out. Love Is In The Air. (Heineken)

Love is in the Air-Heineken

Love is in the Air-Heineken

I chose this one because I love how the fog rising from the ice-cold bottle of Heineken forms the image of Cupid shooting an arrow. It’s somehow much more artistic than other beer ads I’ve seen and it definitely speaks to the theme of love without being too sentimental.

Original Link: designtaxi.com   

2. Levi’s

Valentine's-Levi's

Valentine’s-Levi’s

I like this one because it’s about more than selling a pair of jeans. It’s got some sex appeal, but more than that, it has some genuine affection in it. It’s also simplistic with no taglines or further imagery to obscure the visual of impulsive young love.

Original Link: Creatives in Love

3.  Love Needs  a bit of UpKeep(Wilkinson Sword Hydro 5)

Love Needs a bit of UpKeep-Wilkinson Sword

Love Needs a bit of UpKeep-Wilkinson Sword

Beyond being a reminder to the men in our lives to shave, the message in this ad is definitely true-and not just for Valentine’s Day either. We all have a tendency to forget that love isn’t just magic, that it doesn’t stay constant, nurtured or grow; if the people involved in the relationship don’t want to put in the time and the energy to make it work. It’s a lesson I learn every day, but every once in awhile,  it’s nice to have a reminder.

Original Link: Valentine’s Day Campaigns

4. A perfect day to try out a few new positions (Toyota)

New Positions-Toyota

New Positions-Toyota

This tough-in-cheek ad from Toyota is naughty without going overboard and it also reminds to spice up our love lives every once in awhile. And guess what, you don’t have to wait for Valentine’s Day to do that either.

Original Link: Creatives in Love

 5. Mother Nature please, the room is already paid (Tampax)

Mother Nature-Tampax

Mother Nature-Tampax

Speaking as a woman (without going into details), I will say that it’d be absolutely amazing if an occasion such as Valentine’s Day could control this aspect of life. The ad message gives it a little attitude, a little spunk AND it definitely reinforces the notion of not letting anything-even Mother Nature- stop you from having a good time.

Original Link: Valentine’s Day Campaigns

6. Oops, I Forgot Valentine’s Day Again! (Miller Genuine Draft)

I Forgot Valentine's Day Again-Miller Genuine Draft

I Forgot Valentine’s Day Again-Miller Genuine Draft

I love this one, not only because it’s creative, funny and sweet, but because it’s a genuine effort on the part of one significant other in the relationship to make up for missing Valentine’s Day. The idea of a personalized coupon book makes for a great actual Valentine’s Day gif, too. I should know, I made my sweetheart one for our first Valentine’s Day together.

Original Link: Creatives in Love

7. Love is the language that unites people. English is what translates (Wise Up Intelligent English)

Love is the language that unites us all-Wise Up Intelligent English

Love is the language that unites us all-Wise Up Intelligent English

This one is adorable and so very true. You don’t have to speak the same language or be from the same culture to be in love. Love is a universal language after all and it can bring all kinds of people together. This one in particular also speaks to me because the boy is Chinese, which is my culture. My partner’s cultural background is also in Eastern Europe, Ukrainian, actually and being able to reconcile the two and have a mix of both in our relationship is a source of new discoveries for us both.

Original Link: Valentine’s Day Campaigns

8. I just called to say I love you (Brasil Telecom)

I just called to say I love you-Brasil Telecom

I just called to say I love you-Brasil Telecom

For anyone who has ever had to spend Valentine’s Day or any significant chunk of time away from their loved one, this ad will definitely speak to you. Even just a short phone call is enough to show that you care. I’ve phoned my sweetheart in the past and received phone calls. It doesn’t have to be a large extravagant gift, it’s the thought and the effort that counts.

Original Link: Creatives in Love

9. Happy Valentine’s Day (Nutrient Water)

Happy Valentine's Day-Nutrient Water

Happy Valentine’s Day-Nutrient Water

The various poses of those having fun, in love and experiencing so much joy paint a simple picture. To be in love, happy and healthy is the best feeling in the world. After all, if you’re not healthy, how can you enjoy yourself? Using people in various poses to spell out the words was creative and I definitely commend Nutrient Water for that.

Original Link: Valentine’s Day Campaigns

10. Valentine’s Day is no time to be apart (Wonderbra)

Valentine's Day Is No Time to Be Apart-Wonderbra

Valentine’s Day Is No Time to Be Apart-Wonderbra

This naughty ad does make a good point without being too overboard in the risqué department. Valentine’s Day is a time to spend with the love of your life. But in what capacity, is up to you.

Original Link: Creatives in Love

Some old favourites I couldn’t resist adding…

This next one isn’t really an ad…but it does have to do with Valentine’s Day and it’s one of the sweetest things I’ve seen.

Valentine’s Day-Google

This one happens to be an ad, but a TV ad rather than a print one and it is definitely my top favourite from Super Bowl 2010.

Parisian Love-Google