Every marketer wants to have engaged customers who create content, submit referrals, and write glowing online reviews about their brand…but building a pool of eager brand advocates can sound really time-consuming.
After all, marketers are busy people with growth targets to hit. When are we supposed to find time to develop an advocate community on top of our other projects?
“I’ll get to that right after I send out this email campaign…”
We won’t lie: advocate marketing takes time. But the time you put into it is well worth the investment. Advocate marketing can help you achieve many of your marketing goals more efficiently and effectively.
For those wondering *exactly* how much time they should set aside each week to run an advocate community, the truth is there is no right or wrong answer. It depends on a number of factors, including:
- How many advocates or targeted advocate groups you plan to have
- How much you want to get out of your advocate community
- How quickly you want to achieve your objectives
A more significant time investment will yield better results more quickly, but there isn’t a standard amount that will work for every program.
Below we’re sharing some benchmarks and best practices from our customers, as well as the questions you’ll need to ask yourself to figure out what time investment works for you.
How much time should you invest in your advocate community weekly?
Running a stellar advocate community will require a time investment from a creative marketer on your team. They’ll need to:
- Plan activities, challenges, content and campaigns for your advocates
- Create, manage and approve engaging challenges and advocate recognition
- Set and measure goals that align to those of the business and promote results internally
Here’s how some top advocate marketers invest time into their advocate communities each week on average, broken down by activity:
|Planning advocacy challenges, campaigns and overall strategy||3-7 hours|
|General maintenance (such as managing requests, rewards and feedback)||1-2 hours|
|Goal setting, measuring and internal promotion||1-2 hours|
We recommend that you dedicate a minimum of 13 hours per week to your advocate community to generate the results you want and keep your advocates coming back for more.
Do you need to hire someone to run your advocate community?
You may not need a full-time person to start a small- to medium-sized advocate community with 200 or fewer active advocates, but someone on your team should dedicate at least a third of their time each week to the program. You can also split that time between two marketers.
For a larger community, or one with distinct advocate personas that will need a number of different challenges, you’ll want to dedicate a minimum of 50% of someone’s time to the program. Once you see your initial results, you can always dedicate more time to the program to uncover more advocacy.
You may want to make it a full-time position around the 350 active advocates mark, but this will vary depending on your goals and advocates.
“For three years, we’ve used Influitive’s AdvocateHub without a full-time person, and it has been very manageable. We just hired our first customer marketer to be dedicated to it,” says Bo Bandy, Marketing Director at ReadyTalk.
Exactly how much time will you save with an advocate community?
The time an advocate community will save you varies depending on the type of tasks and advocates you have. Here are a few examples of time saved by Influitive customers using AdvocateHub.
Filling PR requests in hours:
“As the head of PR at Aerohive Networks, I frequently get requests from editors looking for a customer that does X, Y or Z. Before Influitive, I would have to reach out to my sales reps to find out if we have any customers for the editor to speak with. Then I would have to reach out to each of the customers to see if they could take an interview and hope that they would get back to me quickly so that I could meet the editor’s deadline. This took a lot of my time. Now, with Influitive, I have our customers together in one place where I can put an ask out to all of them at once and get multiple responses quickly (typically within hours), ultimately saving me lots of time and getting me exactly what I need to meet my deadline.”
–Jenni Adair, Director of Corporate Communications and Customer Advocacy at Aerohive Networks
Saving days looking for references:
“Instead of having an Excel spreadsheet with referenceable customers to manage—where any time we had a request, we would have to go to the account rep to get approval on leveraging that contact for, say, an RFP—we can now just put up a challenge [in the PGi Insiders program] and typically get it fulfilled within three business days.”
Sourcing content in weeks, not months:
“Within the last quarter, we’ve added another 20 new case studies, and over 30 new videos, created as a result of our customer outreach and AdvocateHub. What a marketer would want to have created throughout the entire year, we were able to do in one quarter. It’s been pretty powerful.”
How can you build an advocate community—even if you don’t have the bandwidth?
If you want to invest in advocacy right away, but are worried you have too many other initiatives on the go you have options.
- Request Influitive services. Trust the advocate marketing pros to help you strategize how to engage your advocates and take care of the day-to-day management of your program.
- Ask one of our experienced service partners for help. “By closely managing AdvocateHub activity, Demand Spring gives time back to clients, allowing them to concentrate on their day jobs,” says Lisbeth Hansen, Director of Customer Advocacy at Demand Spring, an experienced service partner for advocate communities.
Your team will have to commit roughly 1 hour a week to meeting with your services partner to strategize for upcoming campaigns and review AdvocateHub engagement levels and results.