Anybody can go on Facebook and spend a lot of money on ads to increase their total number of fans, or go out and buy Facebook likes through any one of a number of marketing services. Gaining exposure is relatively easy in comparison to making people love your brand. Yet, while any form of advertising or marketing can help you out, it's gaining brand advocates that will really propel your business into greater popularity.
What are brand advocates?
How do you create brand advocates?
People aren't going to advocate for your brand merely out of the goodness of their heart. They need to see some benefit or feel some benefit out of being attached emotionally to your brand. They also need to know that you have a positive online reputation within your niche and won't damage their own reputation associating with you. There are many ways to get more brand advocates. You need to target the right strategic influencers and leverage the correct employee evangelists who can help guide the burgeoning community. You can provide access to free resources and education that people will trust, refer to, and link again and again. You can gamify the experience in your community and create badges and incentive like point systems and other contests to encourage this. You can celebrate the role that your brand ambassador's play and give them more and more of an incentive to get involved and happy.
Sustainable Social Growth
Once you gain some brand ambassadors and advocates, your brand will be better represented online and your overall online reputation will be improved. Don't prematurely declare Mission Accomplished though. Just earning them isn't enough because you also have to maintain this business relations. It takes work to ensure that you're responsive to the needs of the community and communicating effectively and addressing any concerns or weak pots that you have. Twitter is great for monitoring this effectively because you can automate the tracking of certain search keywords on Twitter and create a report on this.
If you adopt this mentality and provide people with value, you too can create brand advocates for your own brand.