If you’re actively building a community around a brand in due time you’ll notice that a subset of the community members stand out amongst the crowd. They’re the people who can’t seem to get enough of what you’re doing and would gladly spread your brand message to every friend, neighbor, relative, and person they come in contact with. These people are brand advocates and they’re an incredibly valuable asset that shouldn’t be taken for granted.
Here are 5 tips for getting the most out of your biggest fans:
1. Offer exclusive rewards
Brand advocates put in a lot of time and energy in talking up and promoting your company, so it’s perfectly reasonable to expect some type of special treatment in return. Offer early access to a new product, insider’s access to company news, or some type of exclusive perk that not just anybody can get.
2. Give praise as frequently as possible
It’s a huge mistake to let the passion of brand advocates go unnoticed. A simple thank you or other form of acknowledgement can go a long way. I know a particular community manager who frequently sends handwritten thank you cards to her brands most active evangelists. Any form of showing appreciation can end up going a long way.
3. Assign responsibility
Brand advocates always want to lend a hand. Offer brand advocates a volunteer role or make them part of a marketing or other type of outreach campaign and more often than not they’ll enthusiastically agree to participate. When a customer has even just having a small level of responsibility for a brands success, it will end up strengthening the brand to customer relationship.
4. Throw a party
Have an event at least once or twice a year where brand advocates can get together. It doesn’t have to be big or extravagant and can even be done for free or relatively low cost. Use Meetup or Eventbrite for organizing events across multiple cities.
5. Keep an open dialogue
Let your brands most active evangelists feel appreciated by always being open to listening to their comments and concerns. These people are on the front lines generating word of mouth marketing and thus need to be given extra consideration when it comes to customer feedback. They’ll have a unique perspective on what real people think of your brand, be it both positive and negative, and can help serve as a bridge between the brand and its customers. Keep the lines of communication open at all times.