Identifying social media brand advocates has long been among a marketer’s aspirations. We all know that nothing carries cred like a happy, independent believer. And if that believer happens to have, say, a few hundred thousand social media followers, the boost to the brand can be enormous.
The corollary, sadly, is also true: make an enemy out of a highly-influential blogger, and you have a major PR issue on your hands.
Identifying both of them follows about the same course, so let’s stick with advocates. How can you figure out who is advocating on your behalf?
The answer lies in the combination of two “signals” that we identify in a text (in fact, the addition of one more can be a real refinement; more on that later).
The first, and obvious, signal is polarity (a.k.a. sentiment). It’s hard to consider someone an advocate if they don’t like you. So step one is to isolate posts where a positive, direct reference to your brand has been made. Essencient provides that information directly and with an industry-high level of accuracy.
Positive sentiment is not, on its own, a definite marker for advocacy. This is because advocates have more skin in the game than just having an opinion: they want you to have their opinion, too. So, they offer advice about what they advocate: they tell you to buy it, or consider it, or take some other (presumably constructive) action about it.
That’s as distinct from them just intending to do something themselves. “I like that new Beamer and I’m going to buy it” is a good thing, but not as strong an advocacy as “I like that new Beamer and you should buy it”. The offering of advice is a clear marker, with positive sentiment, of advocacy. Essencient, and only Essencient, provides the so-called Guidance signal that can identify advocacy.
There’s a good refinement available: Flamboyancy, another signal that Essencient (alone) provides. Flamboyancy measures how “flowery” the language is in a post. “I took a long, exciting test drive in that beautiful new Beamer. You should buy it immediately!” is a far stronger endorsement and call to action than the last example above. Factoring Flamboyancy into the identification of advocates can only improve your results.
As I mentioned, the corollary to advocacy is detraction. Knowing who vocally dislikes your brand is pretty important, as well. And, of course, knowing who your competitor’s detractors are is a powerful insight as well. Identifying detractors differs from identifying advocates only in the sentiment being expressed (obviously, it will be negative for detractors).
So there it is: advocates and detractors identified. If you layer on reach or Klout scores, you can pinpoint who your greatest reward and risk bearers are and, through your engagement team, influence them appropriately.