Loyalty, Social

How To Turn Customers Into Brand Advocates With 4 Simple Activities

Gavin Hayes Head of Strategic Partnerships

Before we dive into how to turn customers into brand advocates, let’s start with the basics. A brand advocate is a person or customer who talks favorably about a brand or product and then passes on positive word-of-mouth (WOM) messages about the brand to other people.

Word-of-mouth about your brand is one of the most powerful forms of advertising – it’s cheap, it’s effective and people trust it. Essentially, word-of-mouth is the holy grail of marketing.

In fact, a McKinsey study reported that marketing-induced word-of-mouth can generate more than double the sales of paid advertising.

The Value of Turning Customers into Brand Advocates

The power of word-of-mouth created by brand advocates is amplified through social media – making it even more valuable. One piece of user-generated content can reach thousands of people within hours.

Brand advocacy is also a great way to reach social media users who use ad-blockers. Did you know that 18% of mobile and desktop users in the United States use an ad-blocker? (December 2016, Page Fair/Business Insider)

An Example of Brand Advocacy on Social Media

An example of how Starbucks turn customers into brand advocates. Here we have a collage of four Instagram photos shared by a Starbucks brand advocate. In the upper left quadrant we see a woman in medical scrubs and a doctor's white coat, sitting at a desk with a laptop and a Starbucks frappucino. In the upper right quadrant, we see the same woman, smiling and wearing a t-shirt with the Starbucks logo and 'Starbucks Queen,' written on it, holding another frappucino. In the bottom left quadrant, she has an iced tea. In the final photo in the bottom right quadrant, the photo is taken overhead so we see her frappucino with whipped cream and her outfit.
A collage of Instagram photos shared by a Starbucks’ customer, turned brand advocate.

Starbucks is one of the brands that inspired us to create our free ‘Guide to Turning Customers into Brand Advocates eBook‘. Rose (@rosieee93 featured above) is just one example of a Starbucks brand advocate on Instagram. Rose describes herself as a ‘Foodie 🥞 Medical Student 💉 Starbucks ❤️er,’ in her bio. Her frequent photos of Starbucks products prove that she is a true Starbucks fan and brand advocate.

Starbucks turn customers into brand advocates by actively engaging with them by commenting on or regramming their content to their 15.5 million followers. They also reward them for their advocacy. For example, Starbucks sent a personalized, reusable Starbucks cup to Rose to thank her for promoting Starbucks products in her Instagram posts.

An Instagram photo of a gift of a personalized, reusable cup that a user received from Starbucks for her brand advocacy with the caption: 'When @starbucks sends you a personalized reusable cup and some coffee to go with it so you know the love is real! 😊💖 #coffeelovecups S/O to the artist @hansel_doan for this beautiful creation, I really appreciate it!’
A thank you post by a Starbucks brand advocate on Instagram, for a gift she received from Starbucks.

At Popdeem, we’ve analyzed the strategies of leading companies that excel in creating brand advocates. We have identified 4 simple activities you can use to turn more of your customers into brand advocates, backed up with real-world examples.

Discover the 4 Key Activities to Turn Customers into Brand Advocates

#1. Social Listening
Listen to what your current customers and advocates are saying to identify engagement and market research opportunities.

#2. Identifying Influential Customers
It’s important to put a system in place to help you spot influential customers and target them with a CTA (call-to-action) to engage in brand advocacy on social media.

#3. Social Rewards
Reward your customers for connecting and interacting with your brand on social media to encourage brand advocacy. For example, with Popdeem,  you can reward brand advocacy with coupons, loyalty points or run competitions when customers share photos on Instagram, check-in on Facebook or use a branded hashtag. Visit this story on QSR Magazine to see how Popdeem’s rewards work for a U.S. coffee chain.

#4. Integrating Social Engagement into the Customer Journey
Optimize the customer journey for maximum social engagement. The hospitality industry excels at this activity. For example, when guests check-out at a hotel, the staff often request guests to review their stay on networks like TripAdvisor.

Get your free copy of The Guide To Turning Customers Into Brand Advocates

Discover more about these activities and how to execute them, using real-world examples. As well as consumer trends and behavior research in our free and comprehensive eBook.

Simply enter the email address you’d like us to send the PDF to in the form below.


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Gavin Hayes Head of Strategic Partnerships
Co-founder and Head of Strategic Partnerships at Popdeem.
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