Advocacy and Community Programs go Hand-in-Hand

3 minute read

May 9, 2022

Advocacy and Community Programs go Hand-in-Hand

Customer advocacy is proving itself to be a key business driver. If you want to know how you can build an effective advocacy program through your community, Captivate Collective are experts on the topic.

If you have the word “customer” in your job title in 2022, chances are you are enjoying your moment in the sun right about now. Sip that daiquiri, friend, because customer engagement is the sizzling hot topic du jour in the world of B2B SaaS and beyond.

But, while customer programs certainly aren’t new – just ask your community or advocacy program manager – the confluence of customer-facing channels, programs and initiatives is a more recent happening. Why? Because more and more, customers are seeking a more seamless experience with your organization – and that includes your customer programs. 

The customer advocacy and community fields have been seeing huge growth over the years – the past 2 in particular. Over 80% of respondents have an advocacy program and online community, compared to just over 70% in 2020 (According to Influitive’s 2022 State of Customer Marketing report). As these programs grow, organizations are starting to think about how advocacy and community programs can and should coexist. 

As we say at Captivate Collective, customer advocacy is a practice, not a platform. Think about your customer advocacy strategy as omnipresent; it does not need to be tied to a specific program or platform. As your advocacy strategy matures, you may actually utilize multiple channels to drive your outcomes.

One channel ripe for building customer advocacy engagement is your user community. After all, your most engaged customers are likely already community members. Also, including your community as part of your advocacy strategy allows for a more streamlined engagement for your advocates.

Here are five of my top tips for making customer advocacy and community your powerhouse duo:

  1. Whether or not you are using platforms to run your community and advocacy programs, it’s ideal that they don’t live on their own islands. If you have two platforms, integrate, embed or link them where possible. If you don’t have an advocacy platform, you can utilize your community to provide advocacy opportunities to your customers. 

  2. The best way to find out what types of advocacy activities your customers are interested in is to…ask them! Post a survey in your community to see which types of activities community members would likely be open to.

  3. Utilize your customer community to learn who your biggest fans are. Look for people who are jumping in to help other members, share about their success with your product, or get involved in product discussions. If members are organically taking these actions, they would likely be excited to beta test a new feature or open to sharing great content from your brand.

  4. Members will share a lot of valuable information in your community. If members are posting about different use cases for your product or innovative ways to use your technology, keep track of it. You can ask these same members to share their forward thinking ideas on a webinar or blog. Or you can ask them to join your reference pool as a subject matter expert for that use case.

  5. Advocacy only happens once a customer has received value. Some of that value can be provided with a fulfilling community experience! This could include connecting them with peers, providing a sneak peak into your roadmap, hosting exclusive community events, or self-serve educational content. Customer communities are powerful tools in creating authentic relationships with customers. Use what you learn about your customers’ goals (professional and personal) to provide them with relevant advocacy opportunities.

Not sure where to start? Try taking that first step by trying out one of these five tips. And remember: Do what you can with the time and resources that you have.

Perhaps pull some reports to see who is most engaged in your community and consider what advocacy opportunities you might be able to serve up to them. Or, go ahead and post that survey to learn more about what types of advocacy your community members might be interested in. You might be surprised at how willing your customers are to take that next step with you.  

Want to learn more about advocacy programs? Captivate Collective’s Advocacy Maturity Model is free for you to download!

 

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Bella Lane

Written by Bella Lane

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