Reward Your Advocates. Be Rewarded.

If you’re a brand or merchant who makes something people like, the chances are someone has made a video saying so. Great products lead to endorsements, free publicity and promotion from the most credible source of all, your customers. Brands often forge a relationship with influential players in traditional media, such as journalists. But these days we turn to our peers online for information and opinion as much as any other source. So, how have consumers turned into content creators? What presence do they have and most importantly, how can you connect with and reward them?

Consumers aren't passive

Twitter, Facebook, blogs and any number of other platforms act as a megaphone for us to rant or rave, to praise or put down. The internet has created a universe of opinion, and whether it’s valid or not there’s no denying that it’s there.

The sheer volume of opinion means most will have little influence, but within this maelstrom of inane Facebook updates, tweeted cat photos and conspiracy blogs there are people who care very deeply about things, express their opinions clearly, and because of these two characteristics develop a following that makes them an opinion leader in their online community.

They're vlogging

As consumers we don’t care strongly about mediocrity. When was the last time you went out of your way to strike up a conversation about something average? What we tend to care most about are things that are either great or terrible, we want to recommend or warn. Pinterest is a great example of a platform that taps into our appetite to share the things we love. People pin and repin craft ideas, fashion items, delicious recipes and great photography. Its success is wholly reliant on our willingness to curate content.

For many people, a personal blog is where they talk about the things they love, and recently this has taken the form of video blogging, or ‘vlogging’. Make-up tutorials, ‘Get the look’ fashion tips, product reviews and gaming walkthroughs, these are just some of the vlogs featuring your brand’s products. There are thousands, if not millions more.

These vloggers are your advocates, they love what you do and they want to share it with everyone, and they do it for free, usually in their spare hours outside work. This content is hugely valuable for your brand because it rings true with other consumers. It’s credible.

Reward and be rewarded

There are many ways to reward your brand or product’s advocates. Give them VIP access to your events, sneak previews of new products or just give them free stuff. Some brands, such as LEGO, have truly appreciated the importance of fan content and built an entire online community around it, enabling them to upload their homemade LEGO videos to share with likeminded enthusiasts.

Furthermore, through Coull LEGO are able to reward their fanbase by enabling them to make money from their videos by integrating affiliate links for LEGO products. Check out this great fan movie about a daring LEGO bank robbery and escape:

By creating a video about one of your products, your fans are implicitly recommending it to their audience. Why not give these advocates a way to not only direct their audience straight to that product’s page on your ecommerce site from their video, but also to earn commission on every sale from that connection?

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