Advocacy networks are the next big platform for growing your reach [This is How!]

Advancement in technology is moving at warp speed, and this means that content marketing strategies that worked yesterday may not be as effective today! Advocacy platforms are now the most effective tool to grow your reach and get qualified leads.

In a recent report, Steve Rayson from Buzzsumo writes;

If you’re sticking with your content approach from 3 years ago, it’s now 50% less effective.
Content engagement, such as shares, likes, and comments on social networks, has halved since 2015.

In this post, we are going to look at the effectiveness of content libraries and advocacy platforms for your marketing strategy.

State of Content in 2018

One of the biggest challenges with content marketing is that the number of posts published is growing at a rapid rate, and as a result, it is becoming more difficult to get the attention of readers. (Source: Buzsumo Report).

Furthermore, when a topic becomes popular, the number of posts published on that topic grow exponentially.

For example, with the popularity of Cryptocurrencies, by December of 2017, there were over 40,000 articles a week being published about Bitcoin. (Source: Buzsumo Report)

Beyond daily news, there are only so many ways you can uniquely talk about certain topics, so obviously creating content that repeats common knowledge becomes less effective.

The Content Shock Effect

Content Shock effect is when the number of shares per content goes down as a result of the explosion of content on those topics.

This effect makes it hard to stand out as the number of articles explodes, but the coverage of the topics remain similar.

According to the Buzzsumo study:

We took a random sample of 100m posts published in 2017 (Jan to Nov) from the BuzzSumo database and compared the level of social sharing to what we found in our 2015 study. We found that median shares have fallen from 8 in 2015 to just 4 in 2017
We want to look at new methods for beating the trend and getting noticed.

Marketing is still Reach and Exposure

Traditional TV marketing uses GRP (The Gross Rating Point) to measure the effectiveness of advertising campaigns.  The measure is divided into two parts, reach and exposure.

We want to explore how to get consistent exposure with small budgets.

Much of the content that rises to the top of search engines, is produced by people with a large reach.

For example, for topics related to content marketing, an influencer like Neil Patel, has a mailing list of potentially hundreds of thousands of subscribers, and a large social media following (287K twitter followers and 922K Facebook followers).

So obviously when Neil writes a new post, his reach predicates the attention he receives.

The difference in reach has created a huge gap between the 1% and the rest of the marketplace.

In this post, I will show you new methods to expand your reach and match the performance of the one percent in terms of shares and exposure.

Buying into Advocacy Platforms

One of the fastest ways to grow your reach is to buy into an existing growth hacking platform.

I use a platform called Quuu.  Quuu markets itself as a “suggestion Platform”. The idea behind Quuu is very much what you would do with your own advocacy platform.

Quuu has created a social network of micro-influencers, who have indicated their interest in certain topics.

Marketers submit content. The staff at Quuu reviews the content and once accepted it will suggest that content to its group of advocates.

I have promoted 3 separate posts. Each promotion ran for a month and they produced exceptional results.

The first promotion I ran was in Content Marketing, and it performed in the top 5% of shares in a 30 day period

In the second month, I ran two promotions. I changed the image and description of the post above and received both more shares and clicks. (Paying attention and testing your message still matters!)

Promoting the same post over 4 months will place it in the top one percent of contents in terms of shares.

The second content I shared was on Productivity.  This one also ranks in the top 5 percent of shares in a mere month.

As you can see advocacy networks work.  They allow you to get more exposure and test your messaging in ways that are not possible with minimal exposure to your content.

Building Your own Advocacy Growth Network

It is great to tap into services like Quuu, but building your own advocacy network is more powerful and adds additional control and analytics that are essential to your strategy.

With an Advocacy platform, you build and manage your own brand ambassadors and can analyze and optimize your performance with more detailed analytics.

Expanding Your Reach, Building Trust

A post by Asier Aranguiz at Social Seeder on “What is Employee Advocacy and How to use it“, breaks down the reach of the average user as follows:

With these numbers as a guide, the potential reach of the average user via social media is 2000.

In addition, to reach, studies show that recommendations from people you know are the most effective way to establish trust with your audience.

 

This trust results in much higher retention and conversion of leads.

Getting your employees and people you trust to generate leads from their trusted network is an effective way to scale your lead generation.

Supercharge your messaging with Content Libraries

Now that we established the power and effectiveness of advocacy networks, let’s look at effective ways of executing our messaging.

As we mentioned before, advertising measures success by reach and exposure.

Andrea Stenberg, in her post “The Rule of 7“, outlines the reasons why you need multiple touches to gain a prospect’s confidence

The first few times someone sees your message its likely it won’t completely register with them.
Even if you’ve closely targeted the right people, they may not need your product or service today.
The real reason people don’t buy the first time they run across your marketing message is they don’t know you from a hole in the ground.
By providing free information to your prospects on a regular basis, you are building a solid relationship.

The challenge with exposure is variety and volume. Self-promotion, 100% of the time will turn people off, especially on social media.

In a post on “Curation vs Creation sweet spot“, Tristan Handy writes;

Conventional social media marketing wisdom suggests that brands should avoid being overly self-promotional. Thus, brands seek to “be a part of the conversation” by sharing links that are relevant to their followers but often not specifically about their products and services. This act of finding good content and sharing it is known as content curation.

A mix of curated content, plus branded content will help you message your users frequently and increase your exposure.

Furthermore, a well organized curated library makes it easy for your salespeople to find and share relevant information from your site.

In a post on “How the Modern Digital Buyer has changed B2B Sales“, Steve McDonald shows how their sales team increased lead generation and traffic by building and sharing content from a content library on their site.

Once our sales teams started using content from our library and sharing it with their network on LinkedIn, they saw an increase in reach (impressions) grow from 1,600 views per month to now more than 45,000 views!

Content Libraries that let you organize access to content in one place, and drive traffic back to your own site are essential to your content marketing success.

Using Advocacy Platforms to push your message

Now that we established the value of employee advocacy and a strategy for building our content pool, let’s look at how an advocacy platform can help us get even more reach!

An advocacy platform generally has 3 components.

  1. CRM for building and managing a list of ambassadors
  2. An email system for messaging your ambassadors
  3. Analytics for measuring the success of your content marketing

The email system is what sets the Ambassador program apart from an email program. Users receive messages that are ready to share on social media.

The one-click sharing is what makes this platform effective.

The third advantage of an advocacy platform is the ability to measure the success of each message and each ambassador separately.

When you run your own advocacy platform, you get better analytics and ability to measure your success in detail.

Conclusion

One of the biggest challenges for small and medium businesses is to get exposure and engagement on a consistent basis.

One-off message blasts will drive traffic to your site but are not as effective as a systematic and sustained marketing campaign.

A sustained marketing campaign is the only way to ensure growth and a steady stream of leads to grow your business.

Curating new and valuable content, and using that as a resource to build new branded content with establish your company as a leader in the industry and keep fuel your content marketing program.

Furthermore, content libraries will give your employees options to share content that is approved by the company and addresses a wide range of your client’s needs.

An advocacy platform will allow you to maintain consistency with your messaging and powerful analytics to optimize your approach.

Contact us and set up an appointment for a demo.