Bury Your Competition With Peer-To-Peer Marketing From Advocates

Truman Tang

Pop quiz!

What do B2B technology buyers want from you?

A. A cold call from a sales representative
B. White papers that talk about all of your product’s features
C. Social proof from peers that your product really works

If you answered “A” or “B”, the 1980s are calling and they want their retro marketing tactics back.

Today’s B2B buyers are turning to their social networks for proof that your products deliver results – especially in the form of unbiased reviews from customers who have experience using them.

Peer-to-peer marketing is the new gold standard

According to IDG Connect, 86% of B2B technology buyers use social networks and content as part of their buying process. This means that peer-to-peer marketing and peer-generated content will soon “have greater weight versus editorial and vendor content in making IT investment decisions.”

So, how can you get your customers to post awesome reviews that will influence people just like them to work with you instead of your competitors?

To give you some ideas, I’d like to share how we mobilized our advocates to recommend Influitive on a popular Q&A website. This is truly peer-to-peer marketing in action.

I recently came across a thread on Quora that asked for recommendations for the best refer-a-friend solution on the market. When I browsed the answers, I saw that all of the “recommendations” were from vendors trying to pitch their own products. That’s not exactly the kind of social proof B2B technology buyers want.

QuoraPost_TrumanI thought the thread should be more objective and helpful, so I turned on the peer-to-peer marketing machine and asked Influitive’s advocates to share their recommendations.

Within 24 hours, our advocates had left six recommendations for Influitive on the thread.

However, not many people could see these recommendations. They didn’t have enough votes to appear at the top – yet.

Then I asked our advocates to vote up their fellow Influitive VIP members’ answers. The results were astonishing. The pro-Influitive answers from our happy customers outvoted the competition’s by 100%, generating a lot of buzz for us on Quora.

Here is a before and after look at the thread on Quora:


The Quora thread BEFORE our advocates spoke up.

Quora thread after our advocates.

The Quora thread after our advocates spoke up.

As you can see, our advocates literally buried the other vendors’ “recommendations” in this thread. At the risk of sounding too obvious, I think it also proves that we know our stuff when it comes to advocates and peer-to-peer marketing.

Why did this work, and how can you get a similar strategy to work for you?

Here are three ways to drive peer-to-peer marketing when and where it counts most:

1. Ask advocates to complete quick and easy tasks

Your advocates are busy people. They may not have the time to participate in a full case study, but it only takes a few minutes for them to leave a review or comment. If you look at the Quora thread, you’ll notice that some people left detailed recommendations, while others just wrote a line or two. It’s up to them how much they want to do for you. Advocate marketing works best when it’s self-serve for your advocates.

2. Provide advocates with a variety of activities

Getting customers to write a recommendation is important, but voting up those recommendations is just as – if not more – essential to the answers being seen. It only takes a few seconds for them to vote a recommendation up on Quora, so asking our advocates to vote up recommendations from others engaged people who might not have participated in the thread otherwise.

3. Realize that your advocates will do more if you ask them to do more

You may think that asking advocates to write a recommendation and then also asking them to vote up the recommendations is pushy. However, in my experience, the more you ask, the more they will do. It’s not pushy if they already want to help you.

Note: Don’t be a spammer!

Some review or Q&A websites will think it’s suspicious if lots of your advocates log on at the same time to give you five-star reviews or glowing recommendations. There’s nothing worse than having your recommendations blocked because the website thinks they are spam.

Avoid this by limiting the number of possible challenge completions, closing the challenge after a certain period of time or making it available to only a small number of advocates at a time.

If you want to see more than the screenshots, you can see the full Quora thread here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *