Jaci Russo joined Bernie and Rob this morning on Acadiana's Morning News to discuss the importance of what she calls "building people to build your brand," using people who enjoy and support your brand as advocates for your business on social media and in the local community.

Jaci points out that there is a powerful and free resource that businesses and brands can use to build: the people who love what you offer and social media.

There are a lot of people who like you, your company, or product. Harness that power and get them to spread the word. The old adage in marketing is "word of mouth."

Use the power of social media where there are conversations about likes, dislikes, etc, and get people talking about your brand.

Jaci also encourages business owners to be confident in asking for reviews, acknowledging that people like their product, and in making clear what separates their product or service from the rest.

Define your differences. What makes you stand out, what makes your different, what makes you unique? How are you different? Let people know it's okay to share that and get them to brag about you a little bit.

Advertise that people love you. There are a lot of people that love you that don't think about leaving a review. Encourage them to say nice things online, and then ask them to share it.

Jaci recommends being honest and polite when it comes to handling negative reviews posted online

On the off chance you find something that's negative, say something nice to that person and own whatever went wrong. Every business has had problems before, address it and move on. Apologize and make it right, and you'll get more respect than if you ignore it.

People will have expectations that weren't met. If you get enough positive reviews, people will realize that that isolated negative experience is one of a kind, because there were 15 positive ones. Happy people don't usually share it, so get your happy people to share their experience. Don't be hesitant to ask for positive reviews.

Click the image above to listen to the rest of Jaci's thoughts on building your brand through your advocates and social media, and click here to read more about this topic on Jaci's blog.