Big companies are increasingly building big networks. Each person is important, treating them with respect and delivering positive experiences should be a fundamental part of your initiatives. But undoubtedly, there will be a smaller group of people who are advocating on your behalf and have the potential to reach more people in sharing your messages.

Brand advocacy is not a new concept. But social media advocacy is a new and growing area of opportunity for brands. Certain people are organically talking about you and referring your products and services more than others. Obviously you’d like your entire network to follow suit, but identifying your top advocates can help lead to specific outreach efforts and open the door for advocate programs.

A few ways to start identifying these people is to start asking and finding:

  • Who is mentioning your brand most often?
  • Who is retweeting your content the most?
  • Who is commenting most often on Facebook and your blogs?

The concept of influence is also an area of focus for many companies and brands that realize there is potential for a small number of people, who have a large voice, to help spread messages on their behalf. Like advocacy, the idea of using influencers to help spread brand awareness and preference has also been long engrained and embraced.

What is new, is that it’s easier than ever before to identify people publicly who might have a larger share of voice or influence over their networks. This is no exact science, but by considering some of the following aspects of social media users, companies can discover people who have greater ability to influence or share conversations on larger scale than others.

Looking at the following areas while engaging across social media, you can determine who might carry a stronger impact on their network to help amplify or advocate your brand message.

  • Audience size. While it’s not the sole metric you should focus on, the audience size of a person’s fans, followers and friends can help determine how much they can amplify your message if and when it’s shared.
  • Blog coverage/readership. Blogger outreach is a huge tactic for most brands as they want to spread their messages and news across digital outlets. By determining how large a blog’s readership is and how often they get shared or covered on other channels, you can determine who is best to target for sharing content and ideas. Starting small by leaving comments and raising visibility of your thoughts is the ideal way to start

Media coverage. Like blogs, more traditional media outlets can also help amplify your brand message by reaching a larger audience

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