BOSTON, MA--(Marketwire - May 5, 2011) - Most marketers would agree that word-of-mouth marketing is among the most effective forms of advertising. While leveraging positive word of mouth has previously been more art than science, a new study helps marketers understand the actions, interests and motivations of brand advocates -- those who habitually review products and share their opinions with others around them -- and explains how brands can use these insights to their advantage.
According to research conducted by social marketing company BzzAgent and Dr. Kathleen R. Ferris-Costa of the University of Rhode Island, College of Business Administration, brand advocates are 83% more likely to share information about a product than typical web users, and 50% more likely to influence a purchase. Advocates enjoy solving problems and helping others make better purchase decisions. They are 75% more likely to share a great product experience and three times more likely to share product opinions with someone they don't know.
These findings, and many others, show that advocates act and think very differently from typical web users -- they are a different breed of consumer. The complete study is summarized in an ebook titled, "A Field Guide to Brand Advocates: Practical Insights for Marketers," which can be downloaded at http://u.bzz.com/FieldGuide.
"The rise of social media has given influential consumers exponentially greater influence in affecting the purchasing decision of their peers," said Dave Balter, CEO and Founder of BzzAgent. "This ebook not only helps marketers understand the Internet habits and interests of advocates, but also explains how and where they talk about brands, and how marketers can profitably engage with them."
The ebook goes on to offer advice to marketers on communicating with advocates. These best practices include:
Find them and communicate with them on their own turf: Twitter? Amazon? Blogs? Marketers shouldn't expect these people to flock to brand sites. Instead, companies should engage them where they connect with each other.
Provide a steady stream of interesting new content. These consumers like to share information and they are constantly looking for new tidbits to pass along. They love and will share coupons, special offers and access to exclusive videos. Marketers should make their videos embeddable and add "like" and "Tweet this" buttons to everything.
Brand advocates want to build their personal brands. Marketers should help them do that by featuring their comments on Facebook, on their site and in their ads.
Measure the sales impact of the entire program. CEOs want to see the financial impact of a social media program to justify the investment of time and budget. That's why you need to build measurement into your program from the start. It has been proven that specific social media practices can generate sales, and the ROI from these activities can be measured."
BzzAgent is a social marketing company that accelerates word of mouth to drive sales. Powered by a network of over 800,000 Agents, BzzAgent creates measurable business results for marketers through an influential advocate network, a powerful engagement platform, and a proven analytics approach. BzzAgent has been at the vanguard of word of mouth marketing since 2001, running more than 2,000 programs for global companies including Unilever, Wrigley, L'Oreal, and Michelin. For more information visit: http://about.bzzagent.com.