So I wrote last week about the ‘advocacy pyramid‘ and how essentially I see successful digital marketing and SEO and being scrum based; today I want to elaborate slightly on the role of the ‘activist’.
The reason digital marketing is done badly so frequently is that website owners really struggle to find that essential balance of building an exceptional user experience as well as understanding the benefit that delivers for your online business. All too often when speaking with marketeers and business owners they’ve over emphasised either how sexy they want the site to look, how much social media to integrate, the ROAS of target keywords, linkbait or some other element of SEO past or present without paying any mind to what motivates users to engage and advocate your business and ultimately delivers most of those elements that demonstrate the inherent value of your brand to both users and search engines.
The lifeblood of any successful online business is (and always has been) the community of users that promote, advocate and recommend what you do; be that via social media, a link or by word of mouth. The role of activist is to provide a buffer between your online marketing department (or explicit marketeer) and the community that are passionate about that brand. The activist can combine a number of different functions and should be focused on serving the needs of the customer in at least equal (if not greater) proportion than the marketing needs of the business, on occasion almost playing the role of shop steward or ombudsman for the community and provide a impartial sounding board for the community. Activists can incentivise and reward user generated content, reach out to users who’ve already done so and connect with them (often they will naturally evolve into activists themselves).
The main difference between a community member and an activist is that activists are pro-active and continually prompt user-engagement; the key is to make that user engagement customer focused and rewarding, just wasting peoples time with aimless and transparent attempt to curry favour are often frowned upon. Be open and honest, try and make your activist knowledgeable and useful to their community, championing their needs and rewarding their loyalty. Once you have that degree of loyalty from a customer make sure you nurture and value it, if you truly excel at what you do then your customer base will grow and so will the community and those recommendations begin to rack up.
Care about your community and it will care about you. Feed some love down the layers of the pyramid and you will see it returned ten fold, from there your trust, authority and ultimately SEO and sales will blossom.