Accumulating Twitter and Facebook followers is important for every brand, but if those followers aren’t listening and engaging, they’re useless. Worse, if none of them turn into brand ambassadors, your brand is not long for this world. The actual most important social media statistic is what I have dubbed “The Ratio.” That is, the amount of engagement you have on your profile compared to your overall subscriber count.
Achieving a solid ratio is naturally more difficult than just gaining followers. Think of it this way: Do all of your friends want to talk about the exact same topics with you and spend the same amount of time with you? Probably not.
There will be some consumers who want as many details about your brand as you can give them, some who would like to hear from you twice a week, and some who just want to know about significant moments for your brand. Figuring out how to give these different groups what they want is no small feat.
Moreover, the reality is that only a small percentage of subscribers will see your posts, and an even smaller number will engage with them. Understanding that not every consumer will become a brand ambassador is a bitter pill to swallow. However, once you’ve taken that pill and learned what certain groups of fans want, here are four ways to elevate regular fans to all-important brand ambassadors.
1) Give them some credit
It’s simple psychology, but the easiest way to encourage good behavior is to provide positive reinforcement. I’ve found that the first thing a super fan wants is to be heard. Determine which fans are engaging with your content the most.
Which have the most positive brand sentiment? Which seem like they would talk your brand up to family and friends? Like their tweets, like their Facebook comments, and regram their Instagram posts. But don’t stop there. Encourage them to be real people who interact in real and creative ways. For example, if someone brings a homemade sign to a concert, mention how beautiful it is on stage.
You immediately increase customers’ loyalty simply by recognizing that their dedication does not fall on deaf ears. The great thing about acknowledging one power fan is that it usually makes an entire fan base excited in the hope that one day, others might have a similar experience. All your fans can live vicariously through one fan’s recognition.
2) Make it worth their while
If brand ambassadors constantly support you in a positive way, take things a step past acknowledgement and deliver a full-blown reward. It can be anything from a free offering from your storefront to tickets to a concert to a personalized video message. If possible, make the reward tie into to your brand.
3) Give them 15 minutes of fame
If it’s possible, and it’s in good taste, I encourage brands to showcase the super fans who are getting rewarded. It shows that the brand cares about their ultra-loyal customers, gives other brand ambassadors something to aspire toward, and makes the fan feel great. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.
4) Repeat, repeat, repeat
Even once you have super fans, you can’t ever stop rewarding or acknowledging your fan base. Sometimes it’s impossible to get to everyone, but it’s important to do what you can. A little bit goes a long way, and it’s always important to show your audience that you’re listening.
It takes work to develop super fans, but having them on your side is invaluable. They’ll amplify your brand on social media and in person. They’ll give you quick feedback. And they’ll set a positive tone for others that will help you attract more customers and bolster engagement rates. Those are the metrics that matter.
Always seeking innovative ways to create organic, meaningful connections between artists and their fans, Cassie Petrey formed Crowd Surf in 2007. The Los Angeles-based company provides catered and specialized marketing services to clients at some of music’s biggest labels.
Image courtesy of Nicu Buculei on Flickr.