I’m well into Google+ at the moment and whilst I was cursing around it I noticed update shared by Mike Hickinbotham.

Mike Hickinbotham – 9:18 PM – Public

Question for G+: Do Australian businesses effectively cultivate relationships with brand advocates?

Do Australian businesses effectively cultivate relationships with brand advocates?

If social media is perceived as a golden hen, then brand advocates could be the golden eggs marketers seek to get their hands on. Research conducted by Dr Kathleen R Ferris-Costa at The University of …

It got me thinking about brand advocates. What if there aren’t any? Or, what if your advocates can’t reach a substantial amount of potential consumers. So I replied to Mike’s interesting post with the following thoughts:

I don’t think Social Media is always perceived as a golden hen, silver bullet or the answer to everything. Often brands think of Social as an all in one solution – I disagree – it’s often a lot more work & sometimes far less effective than some of the more measurable / effective channels like EDM or Search for example.

But… If Social Media IS a golden hen – then of course advocates do hold the key to success – even more so in an E-commerce environment. But what about the huge portion of consumers who’s time online is spent connecting with friends – not to read blogs or connect with highly influential people – I.e. like The Teens, Tradies’ or even Grand Parents? How are they influenced? I’d like to think they were encouraged by their peers & friends – in a word-of-mouth fashion – like the old days.

With that in mind, if brand advocates are not available or effective in certain niches, how do businesses effectively cultivate positive mentions between small clusters of people – the ones who actually buy the product?

There is now real answer (in my eyes) at this stage. I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please, I’m actually quite bugged by this one.

(Updated Post – Reason: I’d had a few beers and wrote in what looked like English – now fixed.)