In today’s heady social media times, brand ambassadors and influencer marketing have taken key positions in many marketers’ bags of tricks. However, it is the superfan who can deliver some of the most value for your marketing time – that brand enthusiast who is the most loyal and who heralds your products without demanding any compensation from you.
Superfans aren’t made; they’re discovered in the wild. It’s up to you as marketer to find and cultivate them. With the right strategy and programs in place, superfans can be grown like hothouse tomatoes – where you can control the environment to help increase and speed up their development.
For starters, you need to find those superfans and budding superfans who already are out there on blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, posting about your brand and sharing their love for you. Start by putting together a list of those who engage most often on your own social media channels. Then cast your net throughout Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks.
You can try searching social networks on your own, although most marketers quickly learn it’s more efficient to monitor social media through one of the many third party social listening services that already exist. This will allow you to quickly participate in the social media conversation about your brand and products. Some of the more sophisticated services out there will automatically score people – not unlike sales lead scoring systems – to identify those who post most often and most favorably about your brand and the themes that matter to you.
You also can help speed up the process by running contests or special offers that reward people who are the most vocal about your brand on a social network like Facebook, by granting them more entries into a contest or more loyalty points the more they share. This can help you quickly develop a list of top super-followers, so that you can get to work harnessing their influence with their friends and followers.
Above all else, your budding superfans want to feel special – listened to and in-the-know. Consider creating or enhancing loyalty programs to include a special place for your top superfans. Bring them behind the velvet rope and make them part of a VIP club that celebrates their insider status and rewards them with advance information on new products, special incentives (coupons, discounts, special product packages) and more. Offer loyalty points or other incentives for posting reviews about their favorite products that you offer. Throw a special Twitter party or a live chat with a Q&A session just for them. Give them sneak peaks of new things you are launching. Solicit their opinions on these new features as well as future products.
Above all, feed your superfans compelling consumer information that’s ready-made for sharing on their social media channels – and then figure out how to reward those who share this information the most, with tangible or intangible goodies.
Follow them back on social media. Like their posts, retweet them, and even showcase your top superfans on your own social media accounts. Consider amplifying the best hits you get from your superfans –top blog posts, fan videos, photographs, etc. – by using this content in your paid influencer marketing programs to get other influencers to share this authentic content with their followers. You can do this yourself or harness a third party influencer marketing service such as StatePoint Media, to more easily and quickly generate guaranteed social engagements around content of your choosing.
Don’t be Dull
Now that you have cultivated a community of your top superfans, make sure you are regularly sharing interesting things with them. Your communications should not center on why you are so great, but rather, it should offer information and rewards that superfans can use in their daily lives, that reinforces why they liked your brand in the first place!
Remember, these people like you because you are interesting and provide value to them – so don’t stop now. Above all, they want to be acknowledged and brought into your conversation to be closer to the brand they already love.
Image Credit: JrCasas – Fotolia