This is a guest post by Erica Moss who is a community manager for Georgetown University.
Getting consumers to buy your product is one thing. Getting them excited enough to buy your product and tell their family and friends about it is something completely different.
Word-of-mouth is one of the most important ways you can boost your brand, and, in turn, your bottom line. Why? Because people make purchasing decisions based on people they know, like and trust.
Often referred to as brand ambassadors, this valuable community will do the selling for you in a really authentic way, and it’s important to keep them happy and engaged. So how do you do that? Here are a few simple, yet impactful ways:
Engage with them on social media.
“Engage” tends to be the dirtiest buzzword of them all, but there truly is a right and wrong way to go about it.
For example, there’s a restaurant that I patron at least once every two weeks. I make it a point to bring out-of-towners there, and sing its praises at every opportunity, both online and off. They’ve tweeted back at me a couple of times and thanked me for my business, but nothing memorable.
Recently, I visited a location of there’s that I hadn’t yet been to and checked in on Foursquare, indicating it was my first time. Their response on Twitter was something generic, and signaled to me that they had no idea I was a long-time customer. While it won’t prevent me from going back, it still left me feeling a bit underappreciated.
Make it your business to know the people who talk about you without being prompted, and use platforms like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter to shine the spotlight on them as often as possible. One tweet or simple favorite can go a long way.
Personally invite them to your events.
Companies will often use this tactic as a way to engage influential bloggers. For example, a designer might invite a group of bloggers to the unveiling of a new collection. The blogger gets to attend a swanky event and probably walk away with a schwag bag. The designer gets the free publicity when the blogger writes about how fresh and invigorating the collection is the next day.
What I’m talking about is something a bit different. Warby Parker is a great example. They know I’m a fanatic about their brand because I buy their products, tweet about them and also because others tweet at them, talking about how I induced him or her to try them on for size.
When they decided to host a private movie screening here in NYC late last year, I got a personal email from their director of social, inviting me to attend. Though I do blog, I’m not a fashion or lifestyle blogger like College Prepster or Love Taza, and I certainly wouldn’t be considered a thought leader in that particular space. However, they knew that by inviting me, I’d get that warm and fuzzy feeling you get when you’re invited by one of the cool kids to something exclusive, further cementing my passion for the brand. And, of course, I told everyone I knew.
Offering bloggers exclusive access to your products and events is a great idea, but don’t forget your brand ambassadors as well.
Continue to innovate and bring something new to the table.
Not only is this important for your customer base as a whole, but it’s crucial for your brand ambassadors. They’re usually looking for any excuse to purchase something from you, and are always craving new products and new offerings.
Kate Spade does a great job at this by helping fans “dress up” their digital essentials every month with a new featured wallpaper design for his or her mobile, iPad, computer and Facebook timeline. While this isn’t designed for brand ambassadors specifically, it keeps this fabulous retailer top of mind for enthusiasts like myself (I always look forward to the next colorful pattern), and I’ve been complimented countless times by those who’ve seen the designs on my digital devices, further expanding Kate Spade’s reach.
Pro tip: It’s not difficult to keep this group of people excited about you and what you do. It is necessary to make an effort, however, and simple things like branded digital goodies, free gifts with a minimum purchase and more can be just what the doctor ordered.
Channel the enthusiasm.
While unabashed passion for brands tends to be relegated to being a strictly Millennial thing (and there’s no denying it in this age group), it transcends demographics and is a powerful emotion to harness when it comes to deciding what your customers want.
Look for your biggest cheerleaders, give them a megaphone, and they’ll do the talking for you.
Erica Moss is the community manager for Georgetown University’s online masters degrees in nursing, offering one of the nation’s leading nurse midwifery programs. She enjoys blogging, TV, pop culture and tweeting @ericajmoss.