When customer service is done right, many people are eager to share their enthusiasm. From social media posts to traditional word of mouth, happy customers can quickly turn into brand advocates who are willing to boast about the brands they love. Needless to say, these customers are vital to brand success and, when engaged properly, can play a key role in future brand growth and creating great customer experiences. But like any customer, these fans need recognition and ongoing engagement to cultivate their advocacy. Here are seven creative ways your brand can engage advocates for ongoing satisfaction and success.
First and foremost, your brand needs to find out who your advocates are and acknowledge them. Look closely at your social media channels, analyze customer emails, listen to call samples, and analyze customer feedback to determine which customers are saying great things about your brand. Then begin to engage them by taking the time to thank them and acknowledge their comments.
Embracing an omnichannel approach is important to reaching out to your brand advocates on a global scale. Never underestimate the channels they may be present on, and strive to make contact with them on their preferred channels. Understanding the key channels your customers use is essential to delivering great experiences and engaging regularly with your advocates.
Among your brand advocates are a few people who truly promote your brand above the rest. These influencers are often highly active on social media, and millennials are frequently key influencers, as they tend to be most active on social platforms. Reach out to these advocates who have a strong following, ask them for their overall feedback, and offer to let them review products or services. The more good things they say about your brand, the more their followers will take notice.
Your customers know better than anyone else just which products or services work well (and which don’t). Go a step further than merely asking for feedback and ask your advocates to get involved in brand development. Ask them for their opinions on how products can be improved, or contact a select group of influencers about a specific product in development and ask them for their participation in reviewing and previewing the product.
An ideal way to engage your advocates is to turn their advocacy into a fun game. Run “fan favorite” contests that encourage your advocates to vote for a favorite product, and offer rewards for their participation. Social media channels are, once again, ideal platforms for generating fun competition and promoting your brand. In addition, offer advocates exclusive content such as sneak previews of upcoming products and behind-the-scenes views of product development.
Always remember the human touch! Addressing advocates by name is a must, and taking the time to make personal contact is important. Send handwritten notes thanking them for their advocacy, offer them special discounts, and, whenever possible, send them a free product to enjoy.
Your advocates are loyal to your brand, so show them your appreciation with a loyalty program. For example, offer your brand advocates upgrades, discounts, and free products based on points they have earned through purchases. Offering additional bonuses such as extra points after a first purchase, on a birthday, or during major holidays are also great ways to keep them engaged. Lastly, honor their goodwill to your brand by offering a referral program as well. Help them gain extra points and rewards whenever they refer family and friends, and be sure to reward these new customers, too! Brand advocates are the embodiment of great customer experience. They are the champions of your brand and therefore key players in helping your brand improve continuously. With a personal touch, ongoing engagement, and acts of appreciation, your brand can delight these advocates for long-term loyalty.
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