Make Your Fans Work for You

Celebrate your biggest fanThe power of word of mouth is that it isn’t a marketing channel the way other marketing channels are. It’s your customer recommending you to other people and automatically comes with more credibility than a press release or a post on your company blog. And one of the most wonderful things social media has done is that it has amplified the power of word of mouth.

But that doesn’t mean you sit down and do nothing. That fan who touts your services does it because she loves your services, but that doesn’t mean you can’t help her along. That doesn’t mean she wouldn’t appreciate a thank-you.

Take it a notch further. Make your customers and fans feel really special. Make them proud to associate with you and make them want to boast about you.

Here is a 6-step guide to making your fans work for you.

1. Find your biggest fans

Which customers simply love your product and can’t stop talking about it? Which followers most often retweet and repin your stuff? Which readers comment most actively on your blog? If you don’t yet know, find out!

2. Thank them

Duh. But seriously, do this. Whether it’s an email thanking you for your service, or a tweet recommending you to another follower, don’t forget to thank your fans. Even send them a handwritten thank-you note once in a while.

3 Give them something to share

Even your biggest evangelists need something to work with. Create material they’d look good sharing: blog posts with tons of good info, interesting case studies of customers using your product, videos of customers using your product, pictures of your team working on something cool.

Like all the other tips, this isn’t something that is, or should be, limited to social media. At events, hand out t-shirts or cool gifts that evoke your brand. I’d put up a branded calendar, for instance, if it had amazing photos. Try something that works well with your brand, so it’s not just the logo that makes people think of you. For example, we send some people embroidered holiday cards for a special greeting; some get tumblers or bags. Heck, throw them a party. Make sure you have a photographer or two and share the pictures with the attendees.

4. Make it easy for them to share

Put sharing buttons on your posts and pages, tweet links to your posts, pin your pictures … put yourself out there and let your fans find you and share your stuff. If you want them to manually tweet your posts, they might just move on to the next cool site.

Constant Contact All Star Award for 20115. Give them something to be proud of

When I was a little girl, I got a letter proclaiming me a member of the Maggi Club. I also got a button to wear. Grown-up me may look on this as a cheap marketing gimmick, but ten-year-old me was thrilled!

Reward your fans and give them something to share at the same time. We started the Social Star program this year, and every month, a fan gets chosen and receives a special gift from us. Recently, Constant Contact gave out their All Star recognition and we got one. They give these out to 10% of their customers and I bet most of them talked about it more than once.

6. Deliver on their expectations

All of the above won’t help you if you don’t provide a great product and/or excellent service. It only means that you will fail even more spectacularly if you do fail.

And once in a while, do something that completely blows them away. That goes so far beyond their expectations they can’t stop talking about it.

About Unmana Datta
Senior Marketing Manager at Affinity Express, Unmana is an obsessive consumer of blogs and social media, and fascinated by their use in marketing.

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