Finding the catalysts of your community

Every brand has 3 types of followers. Learn how to find the ones most relevant to your growth.

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Mayank Sehgal

No matter the size of your community, whether it’s 1000 people, 5000 people, or 500,000 people, there are always three different types of people that follow you —

Your three types of followers

The champions/advocates —

These are people that not only love your brand but also champion it to others. They might have their own micro-communities which trust and support them and are influenced by what they say.

In other words, these people have their own voice and they aren’t afraid of using it to draw attention to the things they support — which could be your brand.

When they like a product or service, they go and tell everyone on social about it – on LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter – wherever their largest audience is, usually.

These people are catalysts to brands’ growth, because they’re the ones who spearhead spreading the word about your brand. They have the largest amount of trust, which leads others to follow their lead… and you see where it can go.

The quiet supporters/lurkers —

These are people who like your brand, so they like your posts, watch your stories and engage with them, but they don’t post anything of their own.

You know them — people who follow a few accounts and only post once in a few months at the most. It’s not that they don’t support your brand, it’s just that they themselves don’t feel comfortable posting on social media.

They might still advocate your brand in person to their friends and family when the topic comes up.

The ones that follow you because “why not” —

These are people that follow 300 brands on Instagram just because they want to be in the know — but they don’t necessarily purchase anything from these brands.

They might not even like every post or engage with every story, simply because Instagram doesn’t necessarily even show them all the posts and stories.

Where your growth is going to come from

If you’ve heard of the Pareto Principle, it states that 80% of your results come from 20% of the efforts. In this case, 80% of your organic/viral growth is going to come from 20% of your audience, as well as 20% of your content.

This 20% of the audience is… you guessed it: the champions/advocates.

In this article, we’re going to talk about five strategies that you can use to find these champions/advocates. We’ll also talk about how you can find people that come under the advocate category, but don’t necessarily know your brand yet.

Finding your ambassadors

Why find your advocates?

Since we’re clear on the fact that 80% of your growth and engagement is going to come from 20% of your audience, it makes sense to find that audience and then nurture them to the best of your ability.

This way, you’re achieving two things —

  1. You’re letting your advocates know you see what they’re doing, and you appreciate it. This encourages them to remain advocates.
  2. You’re signaling to your quiet supporters that if they publicly advocate your brand, they will be rewarded. This encourages them to become advocates.

You want to turn your advocates into ambassadors – and you want these relationships to be based on shared values, genuine respect, and loyalty.

Otherwise, you could have just reached out to any influencer marketing agency and found a couple of hundred influencers that would be ready to post about your brand in exchange for a fee. But that’s not what we’re trying to do here.

How to find your (potential) advocates

Let’s now talk about the five ways we’ve identified that you can find your advocates and potential advocates—

1. Manually identify the people that comment the most, and comment first on your posts.

These are people that see your posts at the top of their feed when you publish anything. This means that Instagram’s algorithm believes that your content is relevant to them, and this usually happens when they like your brand a lot.

These are also people that are eager to engage with you and make a connection with your brand as well as the rest of the community around your brand.

2. Manually identify the first 100 people that view your story consistently.

On a similar note as before, these are people that see your Stories at the top of their list, as you publish them – meaning that Instagram thinks they are relevant for them.

You can also check if these are the same people that always respond to your polls, quizzes, Q&As, and so on. They might just be.

3. Look at the people who always respond to your Instagram Stories.

Make sure you ALWAYS reply to them, to make them feel heard and listened to.

4. Look into your customer list to find repeat purchasers.

Depending on the type of product you’re selling, repeat purchasers might purchase every month or every year.

Make sure to reach out to these people and understand what they feel about your products. Do they gift them to others? Do you they post about them on social media?

Try and include it as part of your checkout process to gather users’ Instagram handles so that you can track the kind of content your customers are posting after receiving your products.

5. Look into your customer list and find high-value shoppers.

These are people that take big bets — they might also be the ones who like to tell others about the big bets they’ve taken. Try and find them on Instagram and see if they post regularly, and whether they’ve posted about your brand yet.

Among all of these people, you need to find the ones that post regularly on their profiles — they are the ones who’ll be most willing to post about you, given the right incentive or push.

Identifying a good fit

Now that you have your list of potential advocates, how do you identify which are the ones that will make the best ambassadors for your brand?

The cool thing with finding a good fit is not just that you get the best people to represent your brand, but when the fit is right, it fits right for them too. They are more likely to agree wholeheartedly to advocate your brand.

1. Look at the number of collaborations that the person has already made.

This number can be zero, but it definitely shouldn’t be too high. You’re trying to make an ambassador relationship, not rent a billboard for a day.

2. Look at the aesthetic vibe of the account.

This is really important because if this person’s sense of aesthetic doesn’t match yours, it will look super off-brand and potentially inauthentic. You’ll also be limited in terms of what you can do with the content.

That being said, it’s not always a bad thing — sometimes a different aesthetic can be an asset because it’s something you wouldn’t have come up with yourself.

3. Look at the engagement rate.

There are many tools available online to do this.

But it’s important to keep in mind that what defines a good engagement rate depends on the number of followers a person has.

The average ER values are as follows:

>1M — 1.97%
100K - 1M — 2.05%
20K - 100K — 2.15%
5K - 20K — 2.43%
1K - 5K — 5.60%

These are the average. You should definitely find people with more than this.

4. Look at the followers.

Not just the number, but also the type. A higher number of followers isn’t necessarily better if they’re not the right kind of followers.

Can you imagine their followers becoming your customers? If you can, then this person is in the right direction for you. If you can’t, then maybe it’s not the best fit.

Conclusion

Even though this is a potentially laborious process, by now you have a good list of potential advocates and ambassadors for your brand.

These will be the “points of leverage” for your brand – by nurturing them, there’s a high chance that they’ll bring you greater reach, greater loyalty, and potentially convert others into advocates/ambassadors as well.

Thanks for reading! If you have any questions, feel free to send me an email at mayank@getubu.com and I’ll be happy to talk to you about it! :)