In theory, as social media becomes more common place, organizational audience engagement objectives, strategies and tactics should evolve past acquisition towards advocacy. I’m sure some consumer brands are heading in this direction but, in my experience, many companies and agencies still seem to be focused on driving audience awareness and using “likes” and “follows” as success metrics.

To spark some discussion on the topic I thought it might be helpful to present an encapsulated view of advocacy. This infographic aims to present advocacy at a glance, explaining where it sits on the audience relationship spectrum while visualizing the steps organizations can follow to move connections towards becoming advocates.

Here are a few notes on the process:

  • Listen – The first step involved in moving passive social media connections towards some level of engagement is to understand their information needs. What type of content do they want to consume? What conversations do they want to have?
  • Publish & Participate – Designing a content strategy that make you relevant is very important. Part of this publishing plan should include active participation on behalf of your organization. Don’t just broadcast.
  • Identify – Set up Boolean searches using tools like Hootsuite to monitor your social media channels and flag your most active fans. Also, consider using more advanced tools like mPact or SocMetrics to find possible influencers.
  • Activate – Be proactive. Reach out, communicate and build relationships with your advocates. Don’t wait for them to come to you.
  • Nurture – Offer intrinsic/extrinsic incentives to help make advocates feel special and an extension of your brand or company.
  • Empower – Help them help you spread brand messages through the use of services like Zuberance or BzzAgent

I’d love to get your thoughts on The Social Media Advocacy Model infographic, the rationale behind it and what might be missing. The comments are yours.


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About Mark Smiciklas

Mark Smiciklas

Mark Smiciklas is a Digital Strategist, author and President of Intersection Consulting; a Vancouver based digital marketing agency that teaches organizations how to leverage the dynamics of the web to achieve business goals. Mark is also the managing editor at and is an established marketing and social media practitioner recognized for his visual thinking and practical strategic approach. You can connect with him on Google+.

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Comments & Reactions

Comments Policy

Comments on Social Media Explorer are open to anyone. However, I will remove any comment that is disrespectful and not in the spirit of intelligent discourse. You are welcome to leave links to content relevant to the conversation, but I reserve the right to remove it if I don't see the relevancy. Be nice, have fun. Fair?

  • Amy Singer

    Excellent article.. I have looked at it as a 4 step process:
    audience gathering

    • Mark Smiciklas

      Thanks for the comment Amy. Glad you enjoyed the post.

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  • Arthur Huynh

    This is an excellent article! It’s mirrors very closely the process we advocate to eCairn’s users. Our platform is built around supplementing and complimenting this
    process for marketers.

    Our tool also helps to identify influencers, though we use our own algorithm which you can learn more about here:

    • Mark Smiciklas

      Thanks for dropping by with a comment and for sharing some information about eCairn. I look forward to checking out the product.

      • Arthur Huynh

        No problem Mark, drop me a tweet anytime if you’re interested in a demo or something. @arthuranswers:twitter

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  • Kirsten Wright

    So often brands overlook the listen and publish steps and try to get right into identifying. It can be hard to explain why ‘identifying’ is pointless without getting into the space. While you may think you know who you’ll identify, it will shift once you get involved with the community and really see who is out there. Great graph – it really shows the clear focus and alignment of the process.

  • Anonymous

    The “listen” step is the most overlooked step I encounter with clients.  They make assumptions about what their audience wants or needs… moves straight to content without the foundational understandings. Great infographic… I love infographics.  I can show them to people, and they immediately get it.

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  • Chris Horton

    Great Article. A smart model that is suggestive of a new PR model for businesses.

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  • simon falvo

    Great infographic, clean and very clear. I guess that the most difficult thing, in many cases, is getting companies understand that there can not be advocacy – or at least an effective one – without listening, connecting and engaging. 
    Too many corporations still follow the old model of ‘spreading their message’, and don’t get that customers don’t want to listen any more, but they ask to be listened at. 

  • Claire Dunford

    Fab infographic – really drives home the message.  The key things that people often forget are that “likes” and “followers” really mean nothing – they are results, and not outcomes. 

    Social media may be fast moving, but that doesn’t mean that you should limit your goals to simple numbers when the picture could be much greater.  Content should always designed with that in mind.

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  • Merangey

    Really great graphic and post with specific tool mentions. I’m always looking to hear more on using digital engagement to build positive, proactive advocacy efforts. Easier to topple a regime (or brand) with negative protest campaign than it is to foster excitement and action around a positive initiative. What are some of your favorite intrinsic/extrinsic incentives to make advocates feel special?

  • Daryl Banks

    Great article, thanks.  SEO is always a bit of a guessing game.  

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  • Market Research

    It’s Great Article, very well explanation by info graphic…. Thanks A lot..

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  • Andrew

    Can you tell me what WOMM stands for on the top left of the info

    • JasonFalls

      That would be word-of-mouth marketing.