Your customers are your greatest marketing asset. Who is better to recommend your brand than the people who have already purchased from you? If you want to turn your existing customers into active spokespeople for your brand, take a look at these tips… and unleash the potential of your advocates.
1. Contests, giveaways and competitions
One sure-fire way of getting the attention of your customers is to run a competition or contest. Brands have been doing this for years, of course, but these days there’s the added social element: brands want you to share the message with your networks too.
Car manufacturer Audi are leading the way when it comes to capturing the imagination of their fans. Their Facebook page has nearly 7 million ‘Likes’, and they focus heavily on social recommendations to bring the conversation to a whole new level. Audi set out to find their most devoted members of the online ‘Audisphere’. 200 of them received an Audi travel mug and flashlight. Klout’s ‘Audiphiles’ tweeted more than 12,000 times about the hashtag #ProgressIs, creating a viral chain of Audi-related chatter online. The company then chose the best tweets and the winner won a trip to California to test-drive Audis, and also got to choose a charity to which Audi donated $25,000.
2. Ask the right questions
If you want to know more about how your brand is perceived, simply ask your customers. British chocolatier Hotel Chocolat uses their till receipts to draw attention to a customer satisfaction survey that gives customers the chance to win a year’s supply of chocolate every time they shop in store or online, which is a great incentive to answer the questions. Offering an incentive is a standard method of obtaining feedback, but be sure to socialize your survey by asking customers to share it once it’s done. As they are already fans, they are likely to share it with their own networks, especially if you offer a great prize such as a year’s supply of chocolate!
3. Activate their networks
It is far better to activate existing networks than to set up new ones from scratch. Your advocates may not have wide networks individually, but put them all together and their potential reach is tremendous. A recent Volvo Facebook campaign utilized fans’ networks by getting them to vote for their favorite fun advocate video on Facebook. The campaign soon went viral because of the collective reach of the advocates’ extended networks.
4. Reward referrals
Many brands give out points, coupons or discounts when you refer a friend, but retail promotion site Living Social has a ‘me plus 3’ scheme where you share the link to your latest purchase through the site on your networks, and if three of your friends use the link to buy the same item, your purchase is free! That’s a huge incentive to make the recommendation on your own networks.
5. Use your imagination to reach customers
Crazy stories get people talking, and Red Bull is all about insane stunts. In April 2013, Red Bull landed Air Drop crates into university campuses across the UK, containing 1,000 cans of their new Editions drink. They encouraged people to share the stunt using Instagram and Tweeting #EDITIONSAIRDROP to be part of the hack. They shared the images across Facebook and social media, and the Twitter conversation has been buzzing as students try to find the latest drop.
6. Use the right networks
If you want to connect with your core audience, be sure to use the right networks. Hewlett Packard wanted to target their business clients to drive social recommendations, so they used the professionals network LinkedIn to connect with their target customers. By setting up a company page and activating the recommendation capability, HP was able to build a like-minded community and create over 2,000 brand advocates in two weeks. The community generated recommendations for the company, in the target peer-to-peer group they hoped to attract.
7. Say Thank you!
It is important to remember that the goodwill of your customers depends on treating them with the respect they deserve. Remember to say ‘Thank you’ when they share your message on their networks, whether it is with points, promotions, coupons, or just plain old words. Customers like to be appreciated, especially when they are going out of their way to share their enthusiasm for your brand.
If customers are loyal to your brand, they are more than happy to talk about it to their friends. Social networking has increased the reach of that message, so be sure to activate this valuable resource and make your customers part of your marketing team.
Originally posted in RingCentral