The effect the new Facebook algorithm has had on brand pages is no secret. A recent study found that 90% of Facebook fans do not return to a page once they have liked it. After the initial like, there is not much action happening on your company’s page from your fan’s perspective–unless you invest in boosting your Facebook posts. So what can brands do now to cultivate consumers, especially consumer advocates? Marketers are now making the switch to advocate communities, which have recently become a hot commodity for targeting and engaging influential consumers.

There are a large number of brands that have made the switch. How can you be sure that your advocates are authentic and will benefit your brand? Here are four rules for an effective advocate community.

1. Start Small

Quality over quantity proves true for a successful advocate community. In the initial stages of an online community, your brand is going to want top-quality advocates speaking for you. By having dedicated consumers share their honest feedback with friends and followers, your brand can spread awareness as well as learn from consumers.

2. Keep Your Advocates Updated

As a brand, it is important to have the members of the community feel like the community will benefit them in a positive way. Sharing updates like new products, announcements, or behind-the-scenes information with these consumers will allow them to feel special and in-the-know. This will keep them engaged and encourage them to share this information with their networks.

3. Get Informed

Use your community as a hub of information. When a member joins, ask them about themselves. This gives you a better understanding of who makes up your community. Message them properly to make sure you are getting the most information out of them to help your brand grow and prosper. Your consumer knows best, so communicating with them will lead you to the best results.

4. Reward Those Who Reward You

The best reward is a consumer purchase, and the second-best is a recommendation. Why not thank those members by rewarding them? Give community members a shout out on your social channels or surprise and delight them with special offers. The smallest actions can lead to a huge benefit for your company. If your influential consumers are happy, your brand will be happy.

Online communities can be a valuable strategy to increase loyalty, advocacy, and sales if you take the proper steps when beginning this transition. The rewards can be used for a multitude of brand insights and feedback that will benefit both the consumers and your brand. When you take the leap and begin your online advocacy community, remember these four rules to make it successful.

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