According to SocialToaster, on average, brands generate a 650% ROI for every dollar invested in influencer and advocacy marketing.
Yet, the reality is that most brands aren’t leveraging customer advocacy, and those that are, aren’t tracking it.
That sounds like a terrific revenue opportunity for marketing agencies.
What exactly is customer advocacy, and more importantly, how do we do it well in such a way that we’ll actually deliver ROI for our clients?
That’s what we’re covering in today’s episode of Agency Accelerated.
We are live every other Wednesday at 2:00 pm ET / 11:00 am PT on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn. Make sure to subscribe to the calendar on the Agorapulse website so you don’t miss any episodes.
Today we’re talking about community and customer advocacy. Specifically, brands who are leveraging customer advocacy are seeing extraordinary levels of return on their investments and measurable results.
Yet many businesses aren’t doing customer advocacy at all. Are you? Are your clients? Do you or your clients have a formal customer advocacy program in place?
I’m betting most of you don’t, and for many, it’s because we don’t know where to start, how to best manage such a program, and what the real benefits are.
That’s exactly what our guest today is going to talk to us about.
Christina uses audience intelligence and social listening to learn more about audiences to determine needs, behaviors, and more. As an advocacy strategist and community builder for HubSpot, her work serves to help brands better connect with their current customers, potential customers, and fans, and drive actual revenue.
Christina has been a speaker for national events like INBOUND, Social Fresh, and many others, and we’re excited to have her with us today.
Christina’s experience with customer advocacy at HubSpot is very similar. She wants to determine, identify, and amplify HubSpot’s biggest fans. Christina also wants to figure out what they need to do to delight their current customer base to the point where the customers want to talk about the brand, give more word-of-mouth referrals, and where the overall sentiment for the customer’s voice is positive.
HubSpot differs because there was already a huge fanbase in their ecosystem. But their voices weren’t being brought together or celebrated for the love and knowledge they had for the brand.
When Christina started working at HubSpot, she started looking for ways to connect the fans and reach out to people she knew loved the brand and would support them, whether they were customers or partners.
She immediately started those conversations and tried to get to know more about each individual person. She asked questions like:
When you look at HubSpot’s ecosystem and how they care for the customer and are incredibly customer-centric, that love is already there. It just needed to be tapped. Christina’s job was to build out a program that would identify loyal customers and take them to the next level and make them feel loved, special, and appreciated.
The first step in taking care of customer delight is doing what they paid you to do. Many people assume that they can just give swag, and that’s great, but you need to be able to offer more than that. Christina looks at Maslow’s hierarchy of needs from a delight perspective.
At the very bottom of the pyramid is the “survival realm.” For needs, that is water, food, and shelter. But for a business or agency, it starts with doing what you were paid to do. Sadly in 2022, many companies still aren’t delivering on what they promised.
HubSpot agencies create a ton of content, so whether you are a customer or not, you can go to their websites and see blog posts, webinars, and groups where they provide opportunities.
This is similar to what HubSpot does, but on a microscale level—either local or specific to their niche-customer base—but they are providing value. Value is at the heart of everything HubSpot does.
Make it personal with every customer. Relationships are at their best when they’re not automated. And if they are automated, they still need to have that touch of humanity in them, so people don’t feel like they’re getting the same email as 20,000 other people.
Over the past two years, the social media landscape has changed dramatically in terms of networks and capability, usage and demographics. Customer advocacy has also evolved during that time.
Christina notes that it is interesting to see how conversations are happening online. She spends a lot of time social listening to figure out how people are talking about HubSpot, the industry as a whole, and their needs.
Customer advocacy can go into multiple realms. Some people see customer advocacy and start and stop with user-generated content (UGC.) For example, an unboxing video.
However, that only works for a certain demographic that is actually swayed by UGC. What about customer stories? What about featuring them in your content beyond UGC.
We believe strangers on the internet. Brands are going to tell you they’re great. They’re going to promise you the moon and the stars, but you’re more likely to believe a stranger who’s bought something that you need before you’re going to acknowledge that brand. And it doesn’t mean that what they’re saying is true; it just means that there’s more validity from them versus the brand.
It’s important to think about how people are using that. TikTok has been a massive game-changer because of that lack of polish. Whereas if you compared it to Instagram a few years ago, content had to be hyper-curated and perfect. This is a kind of aspirational lens into social media. TikTok broke that apart. It feels messier, but because it feels messier, it feels more human and realistic. It is playful and fun.
See what content is already out there and who is already talking about you. Let that be a baseline for what’s already there and what’s already being talked about for you. Then, determine what content is performing the best. What are people actually drawn to?
Let that be a perspective on what will work well in your strategy. Take the time to understand what your audience wants to see. Maybe they prefer when you are funny instead of serious. Or, they prefer more educational content.
Remember, it’s all about human connection. We want to have relationships with brands because we know we will spend our money anyway. We’re consumers. But if you can make your customers feel better about spending their money, they will respond to that more. This is especially important depending on what your goals and OKRs are because it determines what metrics you look at.
In talking about community, Christina once said, “Don’t try to change your people. Find opportunities to come to them. And when you find them, celebrate them.” Christina highlights Chewy as a great example of this.
Chewy could give a master class on taking care of their customers and going above and beyond what any other brands are doing—to the point where it is a core differentiator. They create core memories with their customers.
Here is an example. Anyone who is a Star Wars nerd wants to do a campaign on May 4th to highlight the phrase “May the Fourth be with you.” Chewy decided to do something in line with some of their delight mechanisms that also made sense for that day.
They asked people to share pictures of their pets that were named after Star Wars characters. There were many Grogus, Yodas, and other characters. It became an opportunity for customers to speak up and say, “Here is an animal that means the world to me. I’ve named him Chewy after Chewbacca, or Han after Han Solo, any of these things.”
That could have been enough, and many brands may have stopped there. But Chewy didn’t. They created portraits of these animals and sent them to their owners. They said—without saying—”We understand how important these animals are to you. We are using this day as an opportunity to not only celebrate your Star Wars-named pet, but to make it permanent and give you something that could last for a lifetime.”
Chewy creates opportunities for core memories so that when people think about their brand, they immediately think about something that was super lovely, meant a lot, and has an emotional pull for them.
When strategists, agencies, or companies plan their editorial calendars, they might just do the bare minimum. Brands like Chewy find and celebrate their people and make it much more meaningful.
It also comes down to relationships as a whole. Think about how marketing is like dating. When you’re dating somebody that evolves into love, and you question if you want to marry that person. And what do you remember? You think about the tiny milestones and moments that added up and made you feel special.
The big moments are hit or miss, but the small ones are the ones a brand doesn’t even have to do. It shows investment and care. These small moments are ones a brand could have ignored but chose not to.
If you don’t yet have a formal customer advocacy program in place, there are a few places you can start.
First, find out the people who love you. The last few years have been rough for businesses of all sizes. But if you’re still here, chances are people are rooting for you and repeat customers who want to see you succeed. Look and see who those people are.
Then, determine how you are engaging with your audience. While many brands would love to jump into advocacy, they do not understand the basics. For example, let’s say you have a social media manager, and it’s pretty bare-bones. Because of that, they’re focused on customer support. They only respond to customers when they’re mad or something doesn’t go right.
You should take care of that, but what are you doing for the people who’ve said positive things about you? You may not do it intentionally, but you are conditioning them to believe the only way they will get attention from you is if they need help or are angry. That’s not a good feeling.
Look at your social channels and be honest with yourself. You may be putting out the fires, but are you watering the flowers? Are you nurturing and acknowledging the people who are optimistic about your brand? And if so, how are you doing that? Do you like their comments? Are you sharing it? Are you responding? What are you doing to show your appreciation?
Understand that whatever you’re doing now, you must go one step above. If you’re not mentioning them now, you need to start looking for the positive people and make sure they feel loved, seen and appreciated.
Frame it as a relationship. If a customer says something positive about your brand and you don’t engage in any way, it’s as if that person said, “I love you.” And you said nothing in return. How would that make you feel?
Customer advocacy is fun, euphoric, and all about building relationships and core memory experiences, but how can brands actually drive ROI through these programs? At the end of the day, agencies still need to determine their budget and communicate up the chain of command on what the ROI is.
Christina explains you need clear behaviors depending on what revenue you’re looking at. If you look at influenced MRR or ARR, you have to figure out what you can attribute to be a part of that plan.
If you have a strong group of people, consider a reference pool program. This allows people to speak to someone in sales who has a prospective customer with a couple of questions and wants to speak to somebody who understands their struggles. Then, you can determine how the call went as to whether or not they were an asset in closing and influencing that deal.
Another way to drive ROI is through reviews. Reviews are a great opportunity to drive awareness and allow people to see what works for them. As Christina noted earlier, we don’t believe brands—we believe strangers. Finding ways to encourage customers and your most devoted customers to be able to leave reviews for you is a fantastic thing. Case studies are another way to define what’s working for people.
Always make sure you have processes in place to understand why a prospective customer chose you. Did they look at a case study? If so, what one? Or, did they see a review online? Did they read a blog post? Did they speak with another customer or a partner?
Unfortunately, there is a dark social component that you’ll never be able to encapsulate the full ROI. You’re never going to know what the full magic number is. Use a CRM to leave detailed notes on customers, so you know why or why not they purchase from you, whether it’s immediate or nine months down the road.
If you’re looking for another way to increase and diversify your agency’s revenue streams, Agorapulse has a free webinar to help you do exactly that. Head over to bit.ly/AddAgencyRevenue to sign up for How To Add Agency Revenue By Adding Social Media Services. Get ready to learn and start driving more revenue from social media services.
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[00:00:00] According to Social Toaster, on average, brands generate a 650% ROI for every dollar invested in influencer and advocacy marketing. Yet, the reality is, most brands aren’t leveraging customer advocacy at all. And those that aren’t actually even really tracking it. Wouldn’t you agree that sounds like a terrific revenue opportunity for marketing agencies?
[00:00:23] What exactly is customer advocacy and more importantly, how do we do it in such a way that we’ll [00:00:30] actually deliver ROI for our clients? That’s what we’re recovering in today’s episode of Agency Accelerated.[00:01:00]
[00:01:02] Welcome back to Agency Accelerated, the show for agencies who want to grow and scale. Stick with us to learn how you can simplify your growth strategy with a solid takeaway every episode from agency owners and experts in the industry. I’m Stephanie Liu and I’m here in beautiful sunny San Diego. And those of you watching live right now, let us know where you’re tuning in from in the comments.
[00:01:25] I’d love to see you. And if you’re watching the replay, go ahead and leave the comment, [00:01:30] #replay. So quick shoutout to Valerie Carlo who said, hello! I’ve been looking forward to this event all day. Yes, we do. It’s been a while since we did an Agency Accelerated episode. So I’m super excited to have you here.
[00:01:45] And for those of you who watch and engage live, you have the opportunity to get your questions answered in real time. So this is very interactive. This is engaging. This is a dialogue. Drop your questions in the comments whenever you have them, just make sure to put a capital Q [00:02:00] and a semicolon. So that way I know that it’s a question and not a comment. Not only that, though.
[00:02:05] If you’re watching on YouTube, don’t forget to like and subscribe because I’m always coming hard when it comes with a new episode. In fact, make sure you head on over to agorapulse.com/calendar and subscribe so you don’t miss any episodes and hey, you know what? Stay until the very end, because you’ll get a chance to get your hands on a creative way to grow and scale your marketing agency.
[00:02:29] All right. So we’ve [00:02:30] got Gabe on LinkedIn. Always love to see you. Thank you so much for always showing up, always supporting the show. You are always the best. There’s a LinkedIn user and I can’t see your name, but I would love to see it. And then there’s another one that says, hey everyone, Anna Harris is tuning in from Wilmington, North Carolina.
[00:02:45] Hey, Anna! I think this is the first time that you’ve actually been on the show live. So I’m super excited to see you. All right, friends. So today, thank you. All right. So today [00:03:00] on Agency Accelerated, we’re talking about community and customer advocacy, specifically, like I said, at the outset, brands who are leveraging customer advocacy are seeing extraordinary levels on the return on investments and measurable results.
[00:03:17] Yet, many businesses aren’t doing customer advocacy at all. So if you are doing it, let me know. Let me know by dropping them in the comments. And not only that though, but are your clients leveraging customer [00:03:30] advocacy? So what’s helpful to know as well is whether you or your clients have a formal customer advocacy program in place. Not something that’s ad hoc, that’s cobbled together in the background, or you have it shoved off for an intern, but do you actually have a formal process for it?
[00:03:48] More often than not, I would say that clients don’t have that. And it’s because we don’t know where to start or not only that, though, but how to best manage that type of program and what the real benefits are [00:04:00] so that way we could communicate that up the chain of command. That’s exactly what our guest today is going to talk to us about.
[00:04:07] Christina uses audience intelligence and social listening to learn more about audiences, determine their needs behaviors, and so much more. As an advocacy strategist and community builder for HubSpot, her work serves to help brands better connect with their current customers, potential customers and fans and drive actual revenue.
[00:04:27] Christina has been a speaker for national events, like [00:04:30] Inbound, Social Fresh, and many others. And we’re excited to have her here with us today. Christina, hey, welcome to the show. How are you?
[00:04:39] I’m doing well. Thank you so much for having me.
[00:04:41] Of course. Happy to have you here. Christina, in a previous episode, we had Kevin Lau from Adobe and he was talking about customer advocacy.
[00:04:51] And one of the things that he said was that customer advocacy means how can we turn our customers into raving fans of Adobe products and [00:05:00] solutions? In your experience, especially at HubSpot, how is that the same or how is that different for you?
[00:05:07] In some ways it’s very much the same. I wanna be able to determine, identify and amplify our biggest fans and also figure out what do we need to do to delight our current customer base, to a point where they want to be talking about us?
[00:05:19] They wanna be giving us more word of mouth and that the overall sentiment for the voice of the customer is positive. The way it’s a little bit different is that I’ve been in the HubSpot ecosystem for quite a [00:05:30] while before I joined myself and we already had a fan base. They just weren’t being weaponized.
[00:05:37] They weren’t being brought together. They weren’t being really celebrated for the love and knowledge that they have for us. So as soon as I started reaching out to the people who I knew were the ones who would raise their hands, who loved us, who knew what we were doing, either customers or partners.
[00:05:52] And I immediately started those conversations, where I wanna know more about you. I wanna know what carrot is working for [00:06:00] you. How do you feel motivated? Do you feel loved? I think that if you look at HubSpot’s ecosystem and the way that we take care of the customer and being incredibly customer centric, that love is already there.
[00:06:11] It just need to be tapped. And so, my job was to really build out a program that was not only gonna be able to identify these people, but take it to the next level and make them feel loved in return. So Kevin does great work at Adobe. I’m a huge fan of his, and they’re doing really great things there. For me, it’s how do I make them [00:06:30] feel special? How do I make them feel taken care of and appreciated?
[00:06:36] See? There you go. Sound effects. Super duper hopeful. So having said that, Christina, just how important is customer delight and what are some examples of how HubSpot or HubSpot Partner agencies, how are they doing that so well?
[00:06:51] Yeah, I think what’s really important for customer advocacy and also taking care of delight is you have to start by doing what they paid you to do. [00:07:00] A lot of people assume that they can just give swag and that’s great, but you need to be able to offer more than that. And so, I really like to look at Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, but do it from a delight perspective.
[00:07:12] And so, if that survival realm at the very bottom of the pyramid, where for needs, it would be like water, food, and shelter. For a business or for an agency, it starts with actually just doing what you were paid to do and sadly, it’s 2022, and there’s still tons of businesses who still don’t deliver on what they promised.[00:07:30]
[00:07:30] And so, I believe in delighting customers. I believe in taking care of them and making sure that they have an elevated experience that differentiates them from others. But you have to start with that foundation of doing what you promise, doing what you have in that contract, doing what they are expecting.
[00:07:47] And from there, you can delight them, making sure that they feel taken care of that they get value. One of the things that’s really helpful for HubSpot agencies is they create a ton of content. So whether you are a customer or [00:08:00] not, you can go there and go to their websites and see like the blog pages they have, the webinars they’re doing, the hub groups that they’re a part of, they’re providing opportunities very similarly to what HubSpot does, but on a micro scale, either it’s local or it’s for their specific niche customer base, but they’re providing value. It’s very value first, inbound, which is at the heart of everything we do. So, you need to make sure that you’re doing what you promised, that you’re taking care of them and giving them value without asking for anything in return.
[00:08:29] And then you have to [00:08:30] know what they need before they realize they need it and know that it feels personal. It feels human. Relationships at their best are not automated. And if they are automated, they still need to have that touch of humanity in them so that people don’t feel like they’re getting the same email as 20,000 other people. They still feel special.
[00:08:49] I love that you added that tidbit about adding that humanity when things are so automated. Cause oftentimes, I feel like when we sign up or we subscribe to something, it [00:09:00] feels as if we’re just on the same conveyor belt, it’s like this cookie cutter approach. And one of the things that Jerek Robinson was on our I think in season one episode before, but he had said that the most frustrating thing that can happen on the planet is where you want this one basic thing and this other person will give you everything else except that one basic thing. And it’s come on. Whether it’s customer support or just giving me the resource that I need in order to get from point A to point B, just like that.[00:09:30]
[00:09:30] That’s always very helpful. So Christina, over the past two years, the social media landscape has changed dramatically, just both in terms of networks and capability, but also usage and demographics. So, how have you seen customer advocacy evolve in that timeframe? Where are you seeing these conversations and where are you pulling sentiment from?
[00:09:54] Yeah. I think it’s really interesting to look at how those conversations are happening online. I do a lot of social listening [00:10:00] daily to figure out how are people talking about HubSpot, our industry as a whole and what their needs are. I think it’s really important that customer advocacy can go into multiple realms.
[00:10:10] So a lot of people see customer advocacy and they’ll start and stop with UGC. They’ll have user generated content and be like, see, this is what it actually looks like. Here’s an unboxing video. And then they’ll stop. And that only works for like a certain piece of the pie. That only works for certain demographics that are actually swayed by [00:10:30] UGC.
[00:10:30] But what about customer stories? What about featuring them in your content beyond UGC, where I’m hearing a testimonial, a customer story? Because at the end of the day, we believe strangers on the internet. Brands are gonna tell you they’re great. Like, of course, they are. They’re gonna promise you the moon and the stars, but you’re gonna believe a stranger who’s bought something that you need before you’re gonna acknowledge that brand.
[00:10:54] And it doesn’t mean that what they’re saying is true. It just means that there’s more validity for you from them [00:11:00] versus the brand. And so, it’s important to think about how people are using that. TikTok has been a huge game changer because of that lack of polish. Whereas, if you compared it to Instagram or everything, a few years ago had to be like hyper curated and perfect.
[00:11:17] And this is this aspirational lens into social. TikTok really broke that apart and it feels messier, but because it feels messier, it feels more human. It feels more [00:11:30] realistic. It feels more playful. It feels more fun. And so, look and see what content’s already there. Look and see who’s already talking about you and let that be a baseline for what’s already there.
[00:11:41] What’s already being talked about for you and then look and see which of that content is performing the best. What are people actually drawn to when it comes to that? And let that be a perspective as to, maybe this should be a part of our strategy and more so than that, these are the parts that tend to do well.
[00:11:59] They prefer this [00:12:00] audience, prefers it when we’re funny, versus when we’re serious. Or they prefer more educational content, or they prefer something else. But it’s that plus connection. The thing is that we want to have connections with brands because we know we’re gonna have to spend that money anyway. We are consumers, but if you can make me feel better about who I’m giving my money to, because they, if I tweet to them positive, they like it. If I tweet to them negative, they’ll like it and respond it and they respond and try to resolve my issues. [00:12:30] They have missions that I believe in. They feature people who speak well about them.
[00:12:35] All of those things are really important depending on what your goals and your OKRs are. That’s gonna determine what metrics you look at, whether it’s, do we have more market share for word of mouth than maybe a competitor? Or maybe they have more word of mouth, but our sentiment’s more negative versus theirs, or how many people are talking about these keywords versus those keywords?
[00:12:58] Are there pain points that we’re missing? [00:13:00] Are there things that our competitors are missing out on that we could jump in and really be that solution solver for them? All of those things. It’s just constantly going in and understanding that you are dealing with humans. It is a human experiment every day.
[00:13:14] Their needs may change, the way the economy has just changed in the past week, past two weeks, past three weeks, there’s always some new headline, whether it’s crypto or the bear market.
[00:13:25] If you’re just tuning in, we’re talking with Christina Garnett about how agencies [00:13:30] and their clients can build communities and customer advocacy programs that deliver real results.
[00:13:35] But first, a quick story about how another agency owner we caught up with at Social Media Marketing World relies on Agorapulse for reporting their success.
[00:13:45] I’m Anne Pulitzio and I am the owner of Social Sweat. We’re a boutique digital marketing agency, specializing in social media, Facebook advertising and organic social media.
[00:13:57] I chose a Agorapulse for a few [00:14:00] key reasons. I think the primary reason was the robustness of their reporting and the analytics that they have. It’s a really great platform for agencies. It makes it really easy to manage a team that’s doing multiple layers of scheduling approval.
[00:14:17] It’s a simple tool to use, but gives me really robust information that actually helps me develop better strategies for my clients and better plans of action.[00:14:30]
[00:14:30] I’ve used Hootsuite. I’ve used Sprout Social. I’m much happier with the functionality and the reporting of Agorapulse.
[00:14:44] So if you’d like to learn more about how Agorapulse helps thousands of agencies grow and scale their business, head on over to bit.ly/AdAgencyRevenue. Now, let’s get back to your agency with Christina Garnett. Christina, in talking about community, you once said, don’t try to [00:15:00] change your people. Find opportunities to come to them.
[00:15:03] And when you find them, celebrate them. What are a couple of examples that come to mind of brands who have found and celebrated their people?
[00:15:12] I’m gonna go with Chewy. I think Chewy does a masterclass on taking care of customers and taking it to beyond anything else that any other brands are doing to the point where, it is a core differentiator. They are creating core memories now with their customers. Great example. [00:15:30] Everyone tries to do, or not everyone, but anyone that’s a Star Wars nerd would love to be able to do an activation for may the force be with you on May the Fourth. But Chewy decided to do something that was in line with some of their delight mechanisms that also make sense for that day.
[00:15:46] And so, they had asked people to share pictures of their pets that were named after Star Wars characters. So there’s lots of Grogus, there’s lots of Yodas. There’s lots of just everything, little bit [00:16:00] of everything. And what you wind up seeing is that this is an opportunity for their customers to especially speak up and say, here’s this animal that means the world to me. And I’ve named him Chewy after Chewbacca, or I’ve named him Han after Han Solo, any of these things. And then that could’ve been enough. And honestly, most brands would’ve stopped there and been like, oh, that’s thanks. We’re just gonna retweet this. They didn’t. They created portraits of these [00:16:30] animals and they gave portraits of the animals to the owners. They basically said, without saying, we understand how important these animals are to you. We are using this day as an opportunity to not only celebrate your Star Wars-named pet, but to make it permanent, to give you something that could last for a lifetime.
[00:16:51] And so what they are doing is, and Chewy does this all the time is they are creating opportunities of core memories so [00:17:00] that when people think about Chewy, they are immediately thinking about something that was super lovely, that meant a lot to them, that has emotional pull for them. And so, you could beat them on price.
[00:17:12] You’re not gonna beat them on emotional pull.
[00:17:15] Oh, I love that. Yeah. See? I love that you’re pointing out like the core memories, for sure, but not only that though, but it’s you’re giving them a dose of happiness and there’s this acronym for DOSE where it’s like that dopamine, that [00:17:30] oxytocin, that serotonin, and those endorphins.
[00:17:34] That’s love.
[00:17:36] Bottled up. It’s one of those things where so much of us have like loyalty branded into us. And so, when we think of, wow, they went the extra mile for me. I’m going to do the exact same for them. And that is such a cool example.
[00:17:52] I’m gonna have to look up that case study for Chewy and just see how they did it and run with it because you’re right. Oftentimes, when [00:18:00] strategists, agencies, companies, when they think of what should I put in my editorial calendar? It’s oh, hey, it’s national so and or fill in the blank day.
[00:18:09] So let’s just do the bare minimum. Whereas, you have these brands who find and celebrate their people and make it much more meaningful. It’s more of a, when you say celebration, I think of like my family and we go all out. We get the cake, the balloons and all the things and it’s not like, oh it’s fill in the blank day.
[00:18:27] Here’s a gift card. It’s no. Let’s throw a party! Let’s [00:18:30] celebrate. Let’s make it memorable. Let’s take pictures. And these are things you could scroll back and look at.
[00:18:35] I think that comes down to just relationships as a whole. I know that there’s been a lot of slack because you’ll have those threads being like, how is marketing like dating?
[00:18:46] But I think there’s some core understanding for that because it’s all about relationships. And so when you think about like, when you’re dating somebody and that evolves into love, that involves into like you wanna marry that person spend the rest of your life [00:19:00] with them. What do you remember? What are those little moments of love that were like those tiny little milestones? Think of the big ones, but it’s not the big ones that foster love.
[00:19:12] It’s the little tiny pebbles that add up. That’s what makes people feel special. It’s the ones that could easily have been, like the big, stuff’s easy to hit and miss, but it’s the little ones where we’re like, you didn’t even have to do that. Like, you didn’t have to do that at all. And you took [00:19:30] that time for me?
[00:19:32] It shows investment. It shows care. It shows that the brand or the person could easily have been ignored because it’s such a small little token. And that’s what you’re doing, is you’re how can I make someone feel special? How can I give someone permanence? And a lot of the work that I do at HubSpot is I work with my advocates to figure out what does love look like to them? What makes them feel special? And it’s not the same for everybody. Others are like, oh, you’ll retweet me, [00:20:00] done, I’m good. I’m fine. That’s all I need. Others? They want access. They wanna be able to talk to leadership. They wanna be able to feel heard. They wanna have a seat at the table and say this is what I think should be on your roadmap.
[00:20:13] Others? They want to be thought leaders. They wanna write a blog for us. Or, we had one, where we were updating a HubSpot Academy certification and they asked if I had any advocates, I think would be a good fit. And I immediately know exactly who I was gonna pitch. And I was like, this [00:20:30] is the person, they’re amazing.
[00:20:31] I will fight whoever you need me to fight on this one. It’s that person. It’s that person. That one. And so, when she got it, she could have easily just said hey, check me out. I am honored. Like the token LinkedIn, like I’m so honored. Thank you. Check this out. But that’s not what she said. Her response was, I’ve made it. This is a major career milestone.
[00:20:53] This makes me understand that like, it quieted her imposter syndrome. [00:21:00] Like, it made her have a whole different level of self worth and that’s priceless. Like a hoodie isn’t gonna give you that. Like a cup isn’t gonna give you that. But these are things. If you don’t know where to start, what’s gonna make him feel special?
[00:21:18] What’s so good they’d have to put something on Twitter or on LinkedIn or on Instagram and then what’s so good they’d put it on their resume? Or they’d hang it in their house? Like varying levels, so [00:21:30] basically like, a delight journey from aww to, I’m gonna remember this for the rest of my life.
[00:21:36] That’s beautiful. I absolutely love that. It’s one of those things where you understand that people are motivated by different things, recognition or just being heard, or just even the access. And oftentimes, I find that when you ask the client, so what does success look like to you? Or what does recognition look like to you?
[00:21:55] Or what does a strategic partnership actually mean to you? What does that look like? Sound [00:22:00] like or feel like? And if someone says if you have quarterly meetings, advisory boards, I’d like to be a part of that, I’d like to contribute. And when you categorize all of that, you could say, okay, great. This is what I can do for you.
[00:22:12] Then it just makes that relationship so much more special.
[00:22:16] Yeah, it feels bespoke. It feels customized.
[00:22:20] Absolutely. So for brands or agencies who don’t yet have a formal customer advocacy in place, what are your [00:22:30] suggestions on? Where can they start? Is there a book? Is there a podcast?
[00:22:33] Is there a HubSpot thing that they should be reading or what’s your first step for them?
[00:22:39] Yeah. I would find out who are the people who love them. Because chances are, if they’ve survived the past couple years and they’re still doing okay. Past couple of years have been very rough for businesses of all sizes.
[00:22:54] So if they’re still here, chances are, they have people pulling for them. They have people rooting on them who are repeat [00:23:00] customers who want them to survive, let alone succeed. Look and see who those people are. And how are you engaging? Because I find that a lot of people would love to jump into advocacy, but they’re not getting the basics.
[00:23:13] Great example of this. Let’s say that you have a social media manager or someone on your team is doing social media, too. And it’s bare bones. Because of that, they’re focused on customer support. So they’re only responding to people when they’re mad or when they’re angry or when something didn’t go that’s fine. You should [00:23:30] definitely take care of that. I say you should take out, put out the fires, but what are you doing to the people who’ve said positive things about you?
[00:23:39] You may not do it intentionally, but you are conditioning those people to believe that the only way that they will get attention from you is if they need help or they’re angry. They will only get your attention when what they have had to say has been escalated and that’s not a good feeling. So I would look at your social channels and I would look and see, and [00:24:00] be very honest with yourself. You’re putting out the fires. Are you watering the flowers? Are you nurturing and acknowledging the people who are positive about your brand.
[00:24:10] And if so, how are you doing that? Are you disliking their comment? Are you sharing it? Are you responding? Thank you so much. That’s lovely. Or we appreciate you. What are you doing? And then understand that whatever you’re doing now, you need to do one step above that. So, if you’re not mentioning or doing anything with them now, you need to start [00:24:30] looking for the positive people.
[00:24:32] And you need to make sure that they feel loved. You need to make sure that they feel seen. You need to make sure they feel appreciated because it’s very quick to turn love into hate or love into apathy. And you probably will do it without realizing it, just from neglect. Just from not acknowledging people.
[00:24:49] So make sure that you do that. Like I said, frame it as a relationship. If someone’s saying something positive about your brand and you don’t like it, you don’t comment, you don’t do anything, that [00:25:00] person said, I love you. And you said nothing in return. How would that make you, you feel? How would that make you feel?
[00:25:09] And if you were that person who said oh, I love this brand so much. This is great. How would you feel if you were ignored? You would feel unappreciated. You would feel like they didn’t see it, or you want a priority. And especially if you see how they’re reacting to people who hate them or who are mad at [00:25:30] them.
[00:25:30] And so you have to put out the fires, but you have to water the flowers, because think about this way, the more you nurture and you amplify the love that will model that behavior, and give positive reinforcement for us, so others will in turn. I know that if I speak positively about this brand, they’re probably gonna put my picture on Instagram or they’re probably gonna retweet me.
[00:25:54] You see what I’m saying? Like you have the opportunity to every day to condition your audience, to do to the [00:26:00] desired behavior. Take care of the mad ones. Make prove that you are there to help, but if they love you, love them back and make it very obvious you love them back. And then others will see that and be like, ooh, I like them.
[00:26:13] I would also like to have that experience. I would also like to be treated that way. And then, you’re slowly building the snowball of love.
[00:26:23] You know, one of the things that I was thinking about when you said yeah, on social media you could be putting out the fires or you could be watering the flowers [00:26:30] and then even from a strategic mindset, I was like, yeah, but you could also be like planting the seeds with them.
[00:26:34] Like where is it that you wanna go? Where do you see your business evolving into let’s plant those seeds together? Like, I’ll be there in the garden with you. Let’s plan out what it is that you want to flourish and thrive. So good! See? Now I am like, wow, I need to see you on stage. You’re so engaging.
[00:26:55] I love this episode.
[00:26:57] Thank you.
[00:26:57] And maybe it’s just because [00:27:00] we’ve said love so much, but it just sounds like when you talk about customer advocacy, there’s a lot of warmth to it. It’s very genuine when I hear it coming from you cause like I said, I’ve heard so many different things. It’s hey, it’s fill in the blank day.
[00:27:13] Should we do something? And it’s if we’re gonna do it, let’s make sure we do it right. And are we doing it just so we could beat our own chest and say, hey, we’re awesome because we checked off a box or are we doing it because we’re being super mindful on how this is going to impact our [00:27:30] audience and create those core memories as you like to say.
[00:27:33] That’s the thing. Like, for example, we’re gonna have a meet up for all of our advocates and inbounds, and I’m so excited to see them. I can’t wait to see them. I’m not a huggy person. And I already know I’m gonna be a hugger when I like, when I see all of them. That’s the thing is if you know that you’re supposed to be in community and advocacy, if there is this just generalized love that you can’t, and you see this in social too. If you’re in social media and you find [00:28:00] yourself like, you’re done for the day, but you’re still keeping up with trends, you’re still looking and seeing what’s happening. You’re consuming content. That’s usually like that can be a red flag, but more often than not, it’s a sign that you’re in the right move because that part of your brain is we don’t shut this part off. Like we keep going. We keep doing this. And it’s the same thing with advocacy. I am constantly trying to figure out. And just having the emotional intelligence to figure out what they need. So they don’t need another speaker at that meetup.
[00:28:27] They wanna talk to each other. It’s been years. They’ve [00:28:30] been friends online for years and I get to be part of the people, part of the reason why they get to be in a room together. That’s amazing. I get to be a bridge for them. So that’s the beautiful thing, too, and what I love about my work at HubSpot is there is this bridge between advocacy and community.
[00:28:47] So not only do I get them, not only do I get to identify them and provide opportunities for them to feel special, but then I get to get them together. And I’m like, now y’all can work together. Now there’s opportunities you can share. Now there’s things that we can [00:29:00] learn from each other, questions that you probably felt uncomfortable asking, but now you have a safe space.
[00:29:05] It’s just now it amplifies and you’re giving this intangible value that’s like the MasterCard commercial. It’s priceless.
[00:29:14] No, it’s so funny, cause recently I was at a meetup and it was just so funny cause you’re so used to everyone in like little boxes, and when we’re in boxes, we’re all the same height.
[00:29:26] We all have the same head room. And then it’s so funny when you meet [00:29:30] people in person, and you’re like, oh, that’s the lower half of you. Like you have legs or like taller than I had imagined. I remember when I saw the Agorapulse streamer at Social Media Marketing World, and I was like, wow, you’re really tall.
[00:29:44] Or I’m like, hey, we’re the same, it’s just, there’s that connection where yes, I do love being able to connect with people remotely. It’s definitely open up doors, but there’s just something about that warmth, that vibe, where instead of putting out fires, you’re kindling a [00:30:00] fire that just everyone wants to come and gather and be around and share stories, share a success, or just find a solution to something that they’re trying to overcome.
[00:30:10] Yeah. I think it’s also interesting when you consider what our internet friends have done for us the past couple years. If we’re a hundred percent honest, if you work in the digital space, the past couple years have been quite difficult as it has been for those outside of it, but you’ve had to rely on your internet friends because they are the people who truly [00:30:30] get it.
[00:30:30] When you say like you’re burned out and they’re like, we just sit at a computer all day, how are you burned out? Like, how are you tired? You just sit, what are you doing? But there’s people there. You have internet friends who’ve in your DMs, like calming you down and giving you all the love that you need and telling you, like those are the people who’ve been around for us in ways that our own family and friends haven’t been able to just because there’s just that lack of understanding of what it’s like daily, especially when [00:31:00] you have to decide it, like, all right, this tweet happened five minutes ago. And because of that, we have to tell the entire social team to go.
[00:31:07] Or we have to we have to pause all of our paid. We have to do this, we have to do that. Like, there’s all these things that and variables that were thrown at all of us, that we survived communally. We all have this shared trauma of having to be plugged in. Like, our job is to know what’s happening online and to be able to read the [00:31:30] room at any given moment.
[00:31:31] And because of that, some of the darkest times our world is seen, we have not had the luxury of unplugging and the only other people who know what that feels like are the people who were also just as plugged in as you. Now, imagine you get to put those people in a room and be like, we don’t have any homework.
[00:31:47] You don’t have anything to do. You just get to hang out with your friends. That sounds euphoric. That sounds so lovely to me. Go to Boston just for that. We get to hang out. No pressure, just have drinks and hanging out and talk. That sounds [00:32:00] great.
[00:32:00] Consider me sold. Cause I’m like, you know what?
[00:32:02] I need to go get my ticket and head on over to this event, cause this exactly sounds like the place that I want to be. So Christina, the big question on everyone’s mind is how do you actually drive ROI through these programs? Cause you make it sound so fun, euphoric and core memories and all that other stuff but at the end of the day, we still have to carve out our budget, communicate up the chain of command on what the ROI is. So I’d be curious to hear what your thoughts are.
[00:32:29] [00:32:30] Yeah, you need clear behaviors. So depending on what revenue you’re looking at. So if we look at influenced MRR or ARR, we have to figure out what can we attribute so that that can be a part of that plan.
[00:32:41] So a really great thing to think about is if you do have a really strong group of people is a reference pool program. So for people to be able to speak to someone in sales, who has a prospective customer that just has a couple questions and wants to actually speak to somebody and understand what that looked like to them and [00:33:00] what were their struggles and things like that.
[00:33:01] That’s a really easy way because you can determine whether or not like how that call went as to whether or not they were an asset in closing and influencing that deal. So reference pools are great for that. Another is reviews. Reviews are a really great opportunity to drive awareness, to drive opportunities for people to see what works for them to be able to, like I said, we don’t believe brands.
[00:33:25] We believe strangers. So finding ways to really encourage customers [00:33:30] and your most devote customers to be able to leave reviews for you is a really fantastic thing. Case studies, if there are case studies, making sure that you’re essentially doing very clear industry use cases, what that looks like.
[00:33:44] That’s a really great way to be able to define what’s working for people and then making sure that you’re having things in place, a process in place so that you understand why someone chose you. What made you do this? Did you look at any of our case studies? If [00:34:00] so, which one? Did you have a reference?
[00:34:02] Did you see something online? Did you read a blog of ours? Did you talk to one of our customers or partners? Whatever that looks like, but finding out like where their source actually came from? Like, why did you choose us is incredibly important and it is difficult. The thing is that, especially with social is there is this dark social component that you’re never gonna be able to encapsulate the full ROI. You’re never gonna know what the full magic number is. And [00:34:30] I’ve told that to my manager, because let’s say for example, let’s say I have an advocate who represents us in another community that HubSpot doesn’t own and they talk to them and they go through and they ask questions.
[00:34:47] And because of the way that those questions are answered, they decide to move on and to jump in and become a HubSpot customer. I can get the screenshots and I can say okay, this conversation went really well. That’s great. [00:35:00] But what if someone else from their team does that deal? Or what if they don’t decide to actually become a customer of ours for nine months?
[00:35:09] And I didn’t do anything. I didn’t put that note in there. There’s always gonna be things that you don’t understand. So figure out where are the gaps and how can I cover those gaps with a customer questionnaire? Okay. You had this conversation, awesome. What did that look like? And if you’re the advocacy manager, how can I put that in the CRM?
[00:35:27] So that I know, hey, [00:35:30] this person spoke to this person in this community on this day, here’s the screenshot. So that if they ever do come back, then I’ll be able to see that, like this seed was planted. Yeah, but that’s a lot of manual work, so you’re always gonna have some like leaks. So set a process.
[00:35:50] How did you get to us? Why did you choose us? What does that look like? What kind of resources did you use? Where did that come from? Reference pools is usually the easiest to attribute because you’re [00:36:00] keeping all those notes in your CRM, or you should be if you’re not, and then going from there.
[00:36:07] I love that. It feels like going off our same metaphor of the garden, where you have people on your team that are putting out the fires, people that are watering the flowers, planting the seeds, that when you have a system in place like the sprinklers, like I know every morning at 6:00 AM, boom, the sprinklers come on, you know that you’re going to have that put into place.
[00:36:28] And so, oftentimes it might not [00:36:30] feel as so manual because it just becomes ingrained in your process and it makes it so much easier. Christina, you’ve been amazing. I am so happy. Yeah. I am so happy that we got to connect. I’m already like, okay, so where’s her next speaking engagement because I need to see this. I need see this.
[00:36:48] If you wanna go to France with me next week.
[00:36:50] I’m going to France next week. Goodness.
[00:36:55] Yes. I mean, if you need a handler, you need someone to make sure you look good on [00:37:00] camera, on stage. I can do that. I know. I have a checklist. We talked about this in the green room. So Christina, can you tell folks where they can connect with you? Where they can learn more cause I’m sure people just want to be a part of your world as much as I do.
[00:37:17] Thank you. They can find me on Twitter at ThatChristina G . Also on LinkedIn, feel free to search for Christina Garnett and you can find me there. And then, if you wanna join the Hub fans community, go to community.hubspot.com and we have an [00:37:30] entire advocacy menu, so we have a blog you can write for. So we have different community groups that you can be a part of, and we’re just excited. If you love HubSpot and you wanna share your knowledge, I wanna work with you. Let me know and would love to learn more about your journey.
[00:37:44] Love it. So that’s the invitation France for you to connect.
[00:37:48] As I always say, here at Agency Accelerated, we always bring the industry experts. They’re always willing to connect so take them up on that offer. PS, by the way, in the coming weeks, we’ll be changing things [00:38:00] up a bit as we experiment with different time slots, topics, and maybe even some guests, but we’re going to keep bringing you the most amazing experts and strategies to help you grow and scale your agency.
[00:38:10] So definitely, stay tuned. And remember, you can bring your podcast on Apple and that’s a great opportunity for us, for you to leave a review. So we know how we’re doing. I’d love to know what you think. And as far as that goes, I’ll see you and your agency accelerating into the next show.[00:38:30] [00:39:00] [00:39:30]