Build a Social Proof Machine: Consistently Generate Real Advocates at Scale

As a Head of Customer Success, you’ve heard the benefits of advocacy.

You get that it’s somehow the golden ticket—a game-changer that’s supposed to turn the business flywheel faster than ever.

But somehow, the magic hasn’t happened for you.

Your advocacy program is more of a flicker than a flame, and you’re wondering if the whole thing is just hype.

Sound familiar?

What if I told you that you’re just scratching the surface and that there are strategies you’ve probably never considered, strategies that could radically shift how you view advocacy?

Before you write off advocacy as another failed experiment, let’s take this as an opportunity to dissect what you might be missing.

Yes, customer advocacy is critical to growth; you’re not wrong about that.

But let’s dive into three paradigm-shifting ideas that will not just validate your gut instincts about the power of advocacy but also give you a fresh playbook to run with.

Get ready, because you’re about to have a “light bulb” moment—or three.

Customer Success Podcast: Impact Weekly Episode 47

If you want to go deep on this topic, listen to this episode of our Customer Success podcast, Impact Weekly, that comes out every Wednesday. You can listen below or on your favorite podcast app:

Your “Silent Advocates” Are a Goldmine Waiting to Be Unearthed

We often chase after the loud advocates—the ones who are eager to jump into a case study or shout out your merits on social media.

But what about the “silent advocates”? These are your customers who renew year over year, who regularly engage with your product, but aren’t necessarily vocal about it.

They’re the ones who may not fill out your NPS surveys but have stuck with you for three product cycles. They’re also the ones you’ve probably overlooked.

The power of silent advocates is latent but immense.

Start by identifying them through metrics like retention, expansion, and product engagement, and cross-check that with progress toward goals, and then approach them for unique advocacy opportunities.

They might not want to be in a video testimonial, but they might be open to providing quotes, giving references behind-the-scenes, or even co-authoring a whitepaper.

But you have to engage them, preferably through graduated advocacy asks over time.

Social Proof: The Underrated “Force Multiplier” in Your Advocacy Arsenal

We know social proof is potent, but have you ever considered it as a “force multiplier” for your advocacy efforts?

Here’s what I mean: Imagine you have two equally enthusiastic advocates. Advocate A’s testimonial is on your homepage. Advocate B’s testimonial, however, is strategically placed at a point in the customer journey where hesitation typically occurs—say, on the workflow setup screen. (You thought I’d just say next to the “upgrade” button).

Guess whose advocacy packs more punch? Yep, it’s Advocate B.

This is advocacy multiplied through the power of social proof, placed not just anywhere but precisely where decisions happen.

It’s not just about having advocates; it’s about putting those advocates where they will make the most significant impact on customer behavior.

In this sense, advocacy becomes not just influential but also highly strategic.

Spin Your Advocacy Flywheel: Advocacy as a Continuous Loop, Not a Destination

Many Heads of CS think of advocacy as the end game, but World-class Heads of CS know it’s not a one-and-done thing.

The customer gives you a testimonial or leaves a review after they’re received some value from your product and that’s it.

But what if I told you advocacy isn’t the finish line but is a part of the customer’s journey toward success?

Welcome to the concept of the “Advocacy Flywheel”—an ongoing cycle where advocacy feeds into customer acquisition, which in turn creates new customers, who then become new advocates.

It’s a virtuous circle that builds its own momentum.

And the best part? This isn’t theoretical; it’s actionable.

For instance, consider using your existing advocates to kickstart personalized referral programs or targeted campaigns aimed at similar customer profiles.

By doing this, you not only keep your existing advocates engaged but also accelerate the growth of new ones.

We give even more examples in the podcast episode.

Make an Impact… Weekly

Don’t miss out on the insights that could revolutionize your partner relationships. Ensure you’re at the forefront of customer success management by subscribing to our Impact Weekly podcast.

Every Wednesday, we delve into a new aspect of customer and partner success, equipping you with the knowledge you need to thrive in the multi-channel landscape. Subscribe now, and let’s keep learning together.

About Lincoln Murphy

I invented Customer Success. I focus primarily on Customer Engagement. Learn more about me here.