Live Conference Blog: The five drivers of brand advocacy–and where to find your brand’s advocates

Couldn’t make it to our advanced social media conference in San Jose? Follow this live blog for hot tips from the speakers.

Please excuse typos. This is a live blog.

Sean O’Driscoll–@seanodmvp on Twitter—and co-founder of Ant’s Eye View discusses how to turn fans into advocates through influencer engagement.

Advocates are defenders of your brand. Advocates don’t just love your brand, they’ll go to bat for you.

There are five drivers of brand advocacy:

  • Knowledge: Advocates want access to information that they believe no one else has. It makes them feel special and feeds their desire to be experts on your product or service.
  • Identity: People care about differentiated recognition online. Identify them as individuals.
  • Involvement: Advocates don’t want a t-shirt or a mug, they want a relationship with the company. Listen to customers, acknowledge them and let them know when they’ve influenced a decision.
  • Trust: People need to know that your product is high-quality
  • Belonging: A sense of belonging with one another. Advocates want to commune with each other. Are you providing them with the ability to do this? Private meetings with product teams? Online spaces to do this?
Where can you find these advocates? They’re typically present in one of three communities:

  • 911 communities: These are break/fix communities. People go to these communities when they have an emergency or a problem.
  • 411 communities: These communities are about learning and improving. People visit 411 communities to get feedback and solve “how do I” problems.
  • 511 communities: These are explore and discover communities.


Matt Dickman–@MattDickman on Twitter—Executive VP for Social Business Innovation at Weber Shandwick and Beth Mansfield– @BethMansfield on Twitter—public relations director for CKE Restaurants, Inc team up to talk about why your company needs a social C-suite.

Burgers. Good. I have your attention. As your stomach growls, here’s a taste of what CKE restaurants and Weber Shandwick do to create a delicious social media strategy that execs can’t turn down.

“Leadership alignment with social media is priority No.1,” says Dickman. Without executive buy-in, creating a successful social media campaign is extremely difficult. Dickman explains that there’s a three-level structure that involves the executive council at the top (the C-Suite, office level), the strategic governance council in the middle and the social media integration team at the bottom.

His strategy involves:

  • Banning the seven dirty words of social media
    -Don’t ask for a “Twitter strategy,” a “Facebook strategy, ” or a strategy for any of the top social networks
    -“Don’t mention the platform, we have to be talking higher than that. Create an engagement strategy,” says Dickman.
  • Start with corporate priorities. How is social media bolstering your business goals?
  • Show the CEO how you’re going to bring his or her business priorities to life.
  • Be able to measure your efforts.
    -CKE Restaurants measures coupons, for example, through coupon codes. They measure click-through and open rates as well as redemption.

Mansfield speaks of the “laser focus” her brand has with social media. Hardee’s customers, for example, will post negative reviews to Twitter before they’ll call an 800 number. As Mansfield says, “we had to become customer service reps as well.” Her team created standard 140 character responses to tweet to people having certain issues.

Mansfield explains that CKE’s followers—fans of Hardee’s, Carl’s Jr. and other “fun” brands—are passionate. Her team understands the importance of reaching and connecting with these fans. Why? Because then they’ll help do your work for you! Mansfield shares that many fans come to their defense, share information and promote products for them freely.


Mario Herger– @mherger on Twitter–Senior Innovation Strategist at SAP Labs, Elizabeth Houston– @elhoust on Twitter–Social Media Manager at AAP3 for Cisco and Mark Miller–@markmiller1 on Twitter–Director Marketing—Channel Strategy, Allergan Inc show you how gamification can work for you.

People love to play and people love rewards. Gamification bridges the two and rewards people for playing. When implemented properly, gamification can be a powerful tool for your business.

Miller explains that his company, Allergan Inc, uses gamification to encourage healthy behaviors. is an iPhone app that helps users understand BMI and how it affects weight management. The game component uses an e-plate challenge to teach the user how to recognize healthy foods. The user is encouraged to select healthy options that drop from the top of the phone screen to a plate. There are nine levels to explore.

Gamification can also be used to train employees. Most of us have been through/slept through dull employee orientations. Herger’s company, SAP, solves this problem and trains employees in one go. Herger explained that SAP’s sales people are encouraged to play games that train them for their roles. The winners and high scorers are featured on leader board.

Cisco is no stranger to gamification, either. Houston shared three examples:

Digital and Social Champions Program

  • Goal: Target social subject matter experts to involve and incent internal subject matter experts in social media based activities.
  • Match-make subject matter experts to specific areas where they need experts internally.
  • Every quarter, subject matter experts are highlighted and specific awards are rewarded.

Loyalty and recognition program

  • Goal: Drive user behavior and increase overall user engagement. Badges are awarded for:
    -Completing rewards profile;
    -Sharing blog posts;
    -Reading blog posts;
    -Watching videos;
    -Posting comments;
    -“Liking” things and more.

Cisco event social mobile app:

  • Goal: Rrovide and incent customers and partners in program-specific social conversations through IOS, Android and more.
  • Points and badges for behavior in an app:
    -Posting photos;
    -Commenting and more.


  • Understand the audience motivations, interest and needs;
  • Create a program where participants can earn incremental awards;
  • Ensure the program benefits are straightforward;
  • Outline participation opportunities clearly;
  • Offer a variety of gaming opportunities and ways to grow;
  • Be responsive and provide up-to-date opportunities regularly;
  • And pilot new approaches.


Jeanette Gibson– @JeanetteG on Twitter–Senior Director of Social & Digital Marketing at Cisco, shares her top tips for integrating social media into your marketing plan through SMEs (social media experts) and ambassadors.

Gibson kicked off the first session of the morning explaining that social media is an acceleration of word of mouth marketing. Social media creates more conversations through content marketing on the Web. Cisco has a powerful internal network that supports social media activity. But, as #RaganCisco attendees have heard often throughout the conference, this advocacy of social media efforts doesn’t come without a strong strategy.

How does Cisco nurture social media evangelists and experts? Here are 5 tips:

  • Create a repeatable program for local execution: Does your company have a database employees can refer to regularly? Is there a clear strategy in place?
  • Offer easy access: Cisco makes it easy for employees to find information on its intranet. Is your intranet easy to access and navigate?
  • Say “thank you” a lot: Recognize social champions via rewards programs to share success.
  • Use gamification to recruit and retain: Volunteer SME’s across the company (vote for SME awards, earn points, badges, etc).
  • Tie your efforts to events: Integrate online and offline activities to build and strengthen relationships. Find ways to bring SMEs into events to expose customers to your company’s social media experts.
  • Build a sense of community: Highlight key accomplishments through newsletters and other forms of recognition.

Gibson invited Paula Wang– @PaulaWang on Twitter– Senior Marketing Management at Cisco, to speak about her experience creating a social media ambassador program for Cisco in China.

Wang and her team first determinec where people were congregating across platforms. Once they understood this, they took steps to mobilize the ambassador program.

The steps were simple, yet effective:

  • Conduct one-on-one training sessions with Cisco executives. Wang emphasized the importance of getting buy-in from executives.
  • Ask executives if they are interested in speaking on behalf of Cisco as social media ambassadors.
  • Ensure that executives feel valued in their efforts.
  • Depending on reach and activity,group executives into four segments:
    -The listener
    -The one who engages with followers
    -The influencers
    -The vast ambassador who consistently engages and interacts
  • On a monthly basis, track the progress of the ambassadors.
  • The results? Globally, Cisco has well over 1,000 SME’s and social media ambassadors.

Brian Solis– @BrianSolis on Twitter—and the author of Engage! The complete guide for businesses to build and measure success in the social web shares his thoughts on SMO.

Brian Solis is incredibly quotable. So for our keynote session today, I thought I’d treat you to some inspiring—and informational—sound bites from one of social media’s top thought leaders as he shares his tips on Social Media Optimization.

On what social media isn’t:

“Social media optimization (SMO) is not making viral videos!”

On what social media is:

“Social media is about creating and sharing experiences. Give people something to talk about. Create something so compelling that it stops them in their tracks.”

“SEO plus SMO is the amplified findability and shareability in the traditional and social Web.”

“Now, actions speak louder than words. Verbs become social objects and click paths define the customer experience and journey.”

“The social effect is not the goal. The social effect is the result of good design.”

On search:

“Search the key words in YouTube and Twitter that are related to your industry and see what comes back. Is it related to your story? Be discoverable.”

“Everything begins with search. People are always searching. What is it of yours that they find?”

“If you create a piece of media, it doesn’t just belong in any one channel. It can mutate across channels.”

On creating shareable content:

“Headlines and title tags should have keywords up front.”

“Align content/social objects with contextual search. They add relevance.”

“Become the type of publisher that doesn’t just talk about yourself, latest deals, partnerships or new products. Become a resource to your community. So much so that whenever you say something, people stop.”

“Know the attention aperture of your audience.”

“Understand the design of your content. How is it worded? Vocabulary is important.”

“K.I.S.S. Keep it significant and shareable.”

On achieving your goals:

“Start with the end in mind. Begin with what you want to accomplish.”

Krista Canfield– @KristaCanfield on Twitter– Senior Manager of Corporate Communications at LinkedIn, shares hot tips for building a powerful presence on LinkedIn.

Advanced People Search:

  • Ensure that your spokespeople are searchable so journalists can find your company’s experts.
  • Find clients.
  • Find freelance journalists.
  • Search by beat.

How to reach out:

  • Don’t reach out journalists you don’t know.
  • If you’re reaching out to someone for the first time, send an InMail or ask a connection to connect you. Don’t ask to be connected right off the bat. “It’s like going on a first date and asking the person you’re out with if they want to get married,” says Canfield
  • When you InMail someone, don’t pitch them. Find out what you can about them from their profile and connect with them on something you both have in common.


  • Email group members even if you’re not connected with them on LinkedIn.
  • Build out stories. If you’re writing a story on, say, moms, you can find groups about moms and use their insight.

LinkedIn Skills:

  • Find out what skills are growing and how many people are adding a specific skill to their profile.
  • Build out your profile and the profiles of your spokespeople and add skills.
  • People listed under “skills” tend to be well-connected to other people who have similar skills.
  • You can find groups for specific skills.

LinkedIn Company Pages:

  • Search for companies and find employees.
  • Follow a company on LinkedIn and get updates on when people join or leave companies and job openings.
  • Look at statistics to see where companies usually get employees from and where they go afterwards.
  • Company Pages can send status updates to followers. Share blog posts, etc with them. ‘

LinkedIn Answers:

  • Ask any business or professionally related question.
  • When you ask questions, you can position yourself as a thought leader.
  • A lot of small businesses answer questions.
  • Make questions public or private.
  • Find new clients.
  • Journalists ask questions using LinkedIn Answers.
Your profile:

  • Add a photo so journalists can reach you – People with photos are seven times more likely to be viewed on LinkedIn.
  • Add more than one position on your profile – People are twelve times more likely to be view on LinkedIn when they add more than one position.
  • Have a backup email address on your profile.
  • Add keywords to help clients and journalists find you.

  • Recommendations spread.
  • When someone compliments your work, ask them if they’ll recommend you.
  • Recommendations go out to your network and the person who recommends you.
  • Don’t send out a generic request, be specific.

  • Select who can see your connections.
  • Decide which groups you do and don’t want to receive updates from and how often you want to receive updates.


Rocco Impreveduto– @Roccolmp on Twitter—Senior director of Consumer Marketing for LexisNexis and and Jeremy Bromwell– @JBromwell on Twitter—Account Director at Definition 6 team up to teach attendees how to develop successful B2B and B2C social media strategies.

“Creating shareable content is what gives it legs to go viral,” says Bromwell. “It’s the content and the story that your audience cares about, social media is just the vehicle.”

He shares his top tips for creating shareable content

Creating shareable content:

  • Create content that is good enough to share
  • Post compelling content that will interest your fan base
  • Offer exclusive content
  • Don’t just talk to your community, enable them to talk to each other


  • Listen to what people are saying about your content
  • Do they have complaints or praise?
  • Identify what they’re interested in and customize accordingly
  • Use feedback to create ongoing value

This loop will keep people coming back for more of your content.

Bromwell passes the mic to Impreveduto to speak about how dove into social media—and came out on top, especially for such a niche market.

“You have to define what you want social to do for you and what it means to your brand,” says Impreveduto. He explains that because of the strategy employed, social media became the 2nd best conversation channel for the brand, after paid search.’s approach to Twitter:

  • Monitor and respond in real time to questions and comments
  • Added influencers to tweets
  • Identify users with legal questions and join the conversation
  • Shar engageing Facebook polls and trivia questions via Twitter
  • Participate in promoted twitter campaigns to drive awareness

Facebook approach

  • Make it visual
  • Use polls
  • Ask questions
  • “People want to be heard. It’s amazing what they’ll share!” says Impreveduto.


Maria Poveromo– @mariapoveromo on Twitter–Director of Social Media for Adobe Systems, tells #RaganCisco how Adobe makes social media worthwhile

Is your company struggling with social media? Poveromo and her colleague, Maria Saltz, the Social Media Measurement Manager at Adobe, tackle the trickiest of all social media topics: Measurement.

Here are some take-home tips:

The value of social media will differ across companies. Is your company trying to:

  • Increase brand awareness?
  • Save money on marketing, advertising, etc?
  • Retain customers?
  • Increase brand advocacy?
  • Encourage revenue?

Saltz stresses the necessity of “defining value in your own terms and aligning measurement.”

With that in mind, let’s learn how you can measure like Adobe.

Adobe believes that listening plus data analysis equals a total measurement picture. Listening is simply monitoring channels for topics, trends and sentiment. Analytics involves deep dives to understand business impact.

How Adobe monitors and listens:

  • Be present on all channels, manage the content, chat with your audience
  • Use tools like Tweetdeck and Adobe tools


  • Key metrics: Understand basic correlations and how mentions are correlated with online posts, for example.
  • Keywords: Analyze keywords and figure out which ones to use to be found
  • They also look at traffic and revenue and compare how different social channels contribute to metrics

Identifying Influential authors

  • Who is talking about your brand? Who is driving traffic? Who is driving revenue?
  • Look at who is blogging/tweeting/etc about your product or service
Cross channel optimization

  • What is the revenue contribution by each marketing channel (Facebook, Twitter,etc)?
What is the value of the fan/follower

  • Why do your fans want to engage?
  • How much revenue are you getting per visitor?
  • Saltz shares that “People from social channels, specifically Twitter and Facebook, are twice as valuable to Adobe as other people.

Product innovation driven by social

  • Adobe uses social media channels to see what people think about new products
Create standardized reports

  • Create different reporting templates for different stakeholders.
  • Adobe has social manager reports, executive reports, campaign reports and more

Hot tip: Use tracking codes and’s to understand where your traffic is coming from and how much attention posts/pages are getting.


Ted Sapountzis– @sapountzis on Twitter–VP of Social Media Audience Marketing for SAP AG, shares 5 tips for social media marketing success

Business first, then social
What are your business needs? Are you trying to reduce costs? Increase customers? Once you’ve figured this out, focus on your customers’ needs. “It’s no longer about how shiny your widget is, but how it can solve people’s problems,” says Sapountzis. Enable the social experience.

Measure, but wisely
“Differentiate consistently.” It sounds like an oxymoron, but Sapountzis stresses the necessity of understading that you have to be consistent in your measurement efforts, but know how to measure differently for different things (campaigns, etc). When measuring, it’s important to measure reach, engagement, if audiences are doing what you want them to do, and whether your audience is reffering your business to their friends and family. Sapountzis notes that you should be sure to measure differently on each channel.

Less is more! Sapountzis shares his biggest pet peeve and calls for people to resists analysis-paralysis when measuring. Data is abundant in social and because of this, people get stuck on creating report after report without thinking about what’s driving the specific outcomes they’re interested in. Are you really thinking through the metrics?

Top down and bottom up
Does your CEO support your social media efforts? Without buy-in from leadership, managing a successful social media program is very difficult. Don’t start a social program until you have leadership on board. It’s also critical to have the support of other groups within the organization. Find the social media evangelists within your company and “make heroes out of them,” says Sapountzis.

Think carrots, not sticks
Think beyond governance, process guidelines and training. When you’re training people in social media, reward them with information. If you give employees convoluted instructions and complex tools, no progress will be made. And make sure the technology is easy to use! “User experience is very critical,” explains Sapountzis

The ‘F words’
Focus: “I don’t believe there’s instant gratification in social. I think it’s a false assumption,” says Sapountzis. You must have a strategy and a long-term plan. Getting a retweet or a ‘like’ isn’t the be-all and end-all!

Fail: You have to try things and you will fail. If you’re not failing, you’re not learning.


Kim Celestre–@KCelestre on Twitter–Senior Analyst at Forrester Research, shares her top tips on how marketers can reach customers.

In the old model of marketing, buzzwords drive strategy. In the old model, technology comes first. “The new model,” says Celestre “is a model in which the buyer leads the market interactions. The control is now with the buyer.” Customers have a complex online web to navigate. Today, they deal with marketing interactions, social and digital interactions and sales interactions. So how do you, as a marketer, understand how to make an impact and guide buyers in this process?

Know how to interact with your community:

  • Moderate: Make sure everyone is ‘behaving.’
  • Facilitate: Do you share topics that spur discussion? You can’t expect people to just start having discussions, you have to start them.
  • Collaborate: Work with your customers and take that information back to improve your product/service.
  • Monitor: Use platforms and technology to monitor communities. Go to the communities where your customers are interacting and gain insight from the community.
  • Inform: If you know something new and exciting is on the horizon, share that information with your audience.
  • Educate: If conversations about your brand are occurring that aren’t accurate, it’s your task to educate your community and set the record straight.

Still not sure how to implement these strategies? See what three influential companies did:

L’Oreal contacted salons that carry the L’Oreal brand and provided them with Facebook templates as add-ons to their pages and branded content for them to share. 6,000 salons posted L’Oreal’s information. L’Oreal went where the clients were interacting.

Dell energized a community of influencers on Facebook by identifying 150 influential bloggers. Dell sent them a new laptop that hadn’t been released yet and asked the bloggers to try out the laptops and be candid in their reviews. The bloggers hit 5 million impressions. Dell harnessed the power of its brand influencers.

Marketo built an interactive user community. Employees are involved deeply in the online community. Because of this, 75 percent of its customers helped other customers and Marketo saw a 30 percent cost decrease in customer service. Build a community of customers to help solve problems and put employees behind it to ensure that the community thrives.

Bonus: Quick tips on what drives interactions in a community for B2B customers:

  • Expertise of participants, demonstrated thought leadership
  • Quality of discussion, relevance of comments
  • Topics discussed by community


Carlos Dominguez– @carlosdominguez on Twitter–SVP Office of the Chairman and CEO of Cisco, wants to make you uncomfortable. Why? Because that’s when you learn the most.

So in the spirit of learning, let’s play a quick game. Dominguez posed the following questions to attendees. Scroll to the bottom of the post to see the answers—no cheating!

  1. Facebook accounts for what percent of mobile data on an iPhone?
  2. What percent of mobile shoppers share their shopping experiences on social networks?
  3. What is the TTS (time to screen) of 18 to 34 year olds?
  4. True or False? Globally, more people own a cellphone than a toothbrush.
  5. How many hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute?
  6. Are women or men more active on social media?
  7. True or False: 61 percent of CEO’s label social media a high priority.

Why did he ask attendees these questions? To illustrate how social media has truly changed our world. To survive, you must recognize what these changes mean:

  • In a matter of months, whatever you do will be replicated
  • People have more power than ever
  • Brands have less control
  • It’s not what you say, it’s what they say
  • Organizations are experiencing significant upheaval
  • There are increasing generation gaps
  • Things are moving very quickly

“We’re at a really incredible turning point in history,” says Dominguez. “The traditional way of doing things is no longer going to be effective.” He stresses that brands/companies can either create strategies and implement them or expect failure.

Dominguez encouraged attendees to weigh in on how to keep up:

  • Stay on top of technology
  • Be agile
  • Embrace younger workers
  • Be flexible
  • Have a willingness to change
  • Continue to learn
  • Be transparent
  • Be loyal to employees
  • Take risks

What are you doing to stay ahead of the game?

1) 10 percent 2) 50 percent 3) 1.5 minutes 4) True (eww!) 5) 35 hours 6) Women 7) False. 38 percent

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