When setting up an advocacy program, new practitioners often confuse knowing basic information about their advocates (like birthday, age, industry) with having enough knowledge to build a powerful advocacy program.

For example, most marketers know an advocate’s job title, but not exactly what they do in their role. They also don’t know what their advocates’ frustrations, greatest strengths or professional and personal goals are.

When marketers don’t know what really makes their advocates tick, they won’t know what they should be asking their advocates to do, or how to recognize their advocates to drive participation.

Do yourself, your advocates, and your CMO a favour—make sure you know a few key pieces of meaningful information about your advocates. This knowledge will let you know exactly what you can ask your advocates for, and what your program should offer them in return, if you want them to stick around for the long run.

P.S. We’re hosting a handy live training session for new advocate marketers on November 2nd that will show you How To Confidently Create an Engaging Advocacy Experience for your Advocates, so check it out!

10 things you absolutely must know about your advocates

1. Their team structure

If you don’t know how many people are on your advocate’s team at their workplace, or the structure of that team, you’re in trouble. Should you want an advocate to do more than write a personal review, being aware of their work circumstances will help identify those opportunities, craft the right asks, and help you know the ones to avoid.

2. An advocate’s business’ pain points

Offer advocates the kind of value people in a business relationship with you really care about. If you understand what frustrates your advocate’s boss, or which business objectives they’re worried about achieving, you can tailor rewards to helping solve those frustrations. You’ll know when to offer advocates a best-practices guide on using your solution, and when to offer more general industry-related help. Making your advocates look like champions at work goes a long way.

3. Their professional assets

Knowing what to ask your advocates for is also important. You’re missing an opportunity if you don’t take advantage of an advocate’s public speaking prowess, or their massive Twitter following, or whatever else they bring to the table. Advocacy programs, when done right, are all about mutual benefit. Don’t be afraid to figure out what you stand to get out of your program early on.

4. Career-related fears or frustrations

Engage advocates in professionally relevant ways, and you’ll get their attention. Knowing how advocates feel about their industry and role will help you craft effective messages and recognize people in a meaningful way. You’ll know whether to give an advocate industry tips, connect them to valuable contacts, or send them awesome inspirational content.

5. Their personal values

B2B buyers are 50% more likely to make a purchase if they have emotional ties to a brand. If there’s an organization your advocates really support (like a charity or a sports team), know it. Know if they really value loyalty, and if having exclusive access to certain groups is their cup of tea. Know whether they’re Yankees or Red Sox fans, or if they even like sports to begin with. This will help you make sure recognition efforts, or that thank-you gift for that awesome thing your advocate did, go a long way.

6. Their goals

This point goes back to knowing what to offer your advocates. You want to extend speaking invitations to the aspiring thought leaders in your circle, and exclusive training to those who want to improve their skills—not the other way around.

Knowing your advocates’ goals also helps you identify mutually-beneficial opportunities. Everybody wins if your advocate delivers a rockstar presentation at your next conference, right?

7. Their schedule

More specifically, are your advocates busy? If they are, sending really short-form outreach is the most effective way to communicate with them. If not, and your advocates prefer longer, more meaningful conversations, do that instead. Know what your advocates have time for (or don’t) and when they like to be communicated with.

8. Where they spend time

Are your advocates die-hard Twitter fanatics, or do they prefer email correspondences? Do they prefer a phone call, or a text message? Meeting your advocates on their home turf (in terms of communications platforms) is a great way to increase your program’s effectiveness, and show your advocates they matter to you. Two birds, one stone.

9. Why they’re doing business with you

Our in-house Advocacy Consultant, Adam Hayat, recommends finding out why advocates are in a business relationship with you when executing your advocacy program. Doing so allows you to keep a consistent theme to your messaging, and guides your program’s activities to best fit advocates’ desires. You can also track advocates’ goals, to make sure you’re delivering on your promises, and increase the chances they’ll stick around.

10. Pseudo-basic information

There are marketers out there who know their advocates’ ages, but not birth dates; industry, but not personality type; whether they’re married, but not if they have kids. Advocacy is all about building real human relationships (yes, even at scale), and these tidbits of information are the foundation for it. Plus, it’s not too difficult to check your advocates’ Twitter accounts every once in awhile to gather this intel.

Gathering all this information is hard!

Juggling advocacy program setup, administrative work, and other priorities can make getting to know your advocates feel overwhelming. But there are effective ways to collect and use this important advocate intel.

Influitive’s education program, EDGE, is hosting a live training session on how to confidently create an engaging advocacy experience for your advocates on November 2. It’s packed to the brim with advice on:

1. Why some advocacy programs fail—and what you can do to avoid this
2. How to align your program with your advocates’ needs so your program actually works
3. How to decide what form your program will take (platforms, rewards, activities)
4. How to consistently keep advocates engaged for program longevity

Our resident advocacy expert, Nadia Hogg, will be spilling the beans on how to impress your advocates and your CMO. Reserve your spot now, space is limited.

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