Last Updated: Jul 25, 2014
Fans, followers and friends are all important for keeping social media buzzing about your business. But your real heroes are your superfans – customers who love your business so much that they can’t say enough good things about you. Here’s how to recognize and cultivate your social media superfans.
How many fans do you have on Facebook? How many Twitter followers do you have? Stats like these are still how people judge the worth of your social media presence and, although there is some validity to the metric, it’s far more important to have engaged fans than thousands of followers who never interact with your brand.
But even more valuable than the engaged fan is the superfan. A superfan is what breathes life into your social media presence and helps to drive online business. They not only interact with your brand, they talk about you on their personal Facebook page. They invite others to your page and even respond to customer inquiries before you see them.
The value of a superfan is massive. Not only are they likely to be paying customers for years to come, their positive buzz about your business will create revenue from new and existing customers—and that revenue could be substantial.
If you’re thinking that superfans are reserved for pop culture icons and giants like Coca-Cola and Starbucks, you’re wrong. Even the smallest business has customers that were so happy with the service they received, they’re willing to light up social media with their positive reviews.
Your league of superfans won’t all look the same. You need all types. Finding them and putting them to work will require different strategies.
The Lover of All-Things-You
First, there’s the person that fell in love with your brand for some reason. He doesn’t have a massive social media following but he’s active on social media and maybe blogs about you—and he does it in a way that represents your business in a positive way. (As opposed to a creepy, stalker-like admiration.)
You might notice him posting on your Facebook page frequently. Reach out to this person and express your appreciation. Let him know that you would like to feature him on your website or use him to help you moderate you social media channels. In other words, recognize, appreciate, and deputize. Make this fan part of your team.
The High-Clout Superfan
But how about the person that has a large social media following but doesn’t know about your company? Her online endorsement is money in the bank for your company because when she talks, people truly do listen. She might be an influential blogger, a critic writing for a well-known publication or a key community figure.
This isn’t somebody who will frequent your website but a couple of positive mentions could create sales.
Reach out to this person. If you’re a restaurant, invite her and a guest for a free dinner.
But maybe this same type of person is already familiar with your brand. Ask her opinion, give her samples, and make her feel like a VIP in your business. Customers who have a high degree of clout—on or offline—should have your attention. Cater to them and the rewards will become very apparent.
The Loyal Under-the-Radar Fan
Then there’s the quietly loyal fan. He may not be frequenting your Facebook page or blogging about your company. In fact, he might not spend much time online at all. What sets this fan apart is his loyalty. He frequently purchases from you, is always positive about his experiences, and with not much more than a nudge, would go to work for you if asked.
Assuming you’re delivering outstanding service, fans like these are everywhere. You simply have to ask. First, let them know how valuable they are. Every business owner knows that it costs more to acquire a new customer than it does to keep an existing one.
This is the fan that would post positive reviews of your company online if you gave them the web address and a brief tutorial on how to do it.
A Fool-proof Strategy
If you have an e-mail list, send a note to the list saying that you’re starting a new program. Give it a catchy name like “online advocates.” Ask people to opt-in to a special list to sign up and give them coupons that are good for advance-notice promotions that they will know about before the public. All they have to do is tweet and post graphics and other promotional material on their social media profiles.
Make the graphics tasteful and not hard-sell-style. Tell your advocates to create statuses that reflect their personal experiences with your company.
Even the smallest financial incentive will put your customers to work for you while others will promote you for free.
When you treat your customers with the respect they deserve, deliver outstanding products and services, and show them how valuable they are, you’ll notice a legion of superfans that form on your social media pages.
Let them know that you notice them, ask for their help, and watch how they go to work for you.
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