3 Tips for Leveraging Brand Evangelists
One thing marketers can learn from the recent presidential campaign is that with the help of brand evangelists, even the most skeptical consumer will listen to a passionate third party, or at least consider what he or she is saying on its merits.
When others speak on your behalf, it's even more powerful than when your company does. Having an ongoing conversation with your customers and prospects goes a long way in connecting with their sense of ownership of your brand. These starting steps can help you gain traction whether you have a community of online supporters or not:
1. Listen to Your Customers
Think of social media as a great set of tools for inbound marketing. Your customers are likely already online, writing reviews on blogs, talking about products like yours in chat rooms and sharing tips with their peers on Twitter (you can search for your brand or a competitor's brand at http://search.twitter.com). Monitoring online conversations is one way to learn preferences and uncover evangelists. Talk to the people who already like you, and uncover who doesn't and why. Discover who they are, what they think about and how they use your products.
2. Create and Share Relevant Content
Create relevant content for your customers and supporters, and share it with your brand evangelists or online community. Better yet, let your brand enthusiasts create the content themselves; people prefer to buy from other people who are just like them. If you have been listening, you will know who your brand evangelists are and how they might want to participate. They will help you promote your offers and spread the word.
3. Adjust Based on Feedback and Repeat
A fundamental feature of social media is it's not about campaigns and programs that come and go anymore. New marketing is not about new channels for old tactics. It's an entirely new business model. As more businesses shift their direct response spend online, they enter new territory where interactive can mean immersive, and immersion leads to engagement and consideration. Having an ongoing conversation with your customers and prospects goes a long way in connecting with their sense of ownership of your brand. With feedback from your online community, you can continually adjust your product, service and approach, and repeat.
Valeria Maltoni specializes in marketing communications, customer dialogue and brand management, and is publisher of the online marketing blog www.conversationagent.com.