How to Attract Evangelists Online for Your Brand
Can your business create a buzz like a large company such as Apple can?
If you answered No, and would like to attract more word-of-mouth advertising, keep reading!
When it comes to building a reputation that resonates with your core audience online the message that will be most attractive is what makes your business unique to its customers. A company like Apple, for example, has created a loyal following of brand ambassadors who make purchases based not so much on the products, but what the brand represents for them, which is “Think Different.”
A well-crafted reputation management strategy will prompt people to spread the word about your company, and turn silence into positive reviews and feedback. This all begins by understanding the needs of your target market, and projecting a message that reflects your community’s desires. When their values and emotions are understood these customers will provide free advertising for your brand as they tell their friends and family about the good news.
Webster’s Dictionary defines an evangelist as:
Someone who talks about something with great enthusiasm.
The bottom line is when your community truly believes in you it is easy to sell your products or services to them, and spread the word about your brand. Whether your are a startup or need to create more visibility for your company it is not too late to develop an evangelist strategy. Here are four ways to attract an audience and generate a buzz:
1. Encourage sharing through reminders
While it is generally not good practice to tell your audience to spread the word on your business it is perfectly fine to remind them to share what they have enjoyed. Amazon does a great job with this after their customers make a purchase. Their reputation is built by reviews, and one way to encourage feedback is through a simple follow-up like this one:
2. Rally your community around a cause
What can your brand root for that will appeal to its target market? TOMS shoes, for example, is based on providing footwear to those who cannot afford them with promotions such as their recent one-day social media campaign, #withoutshoes:
2. Offer incentives for return customers and positive feedback
A great way to grow your loyal following is to reward them for great reviews, participating in social media contests, making a repeat purchase, recommendations online, blog comments, and more. Coupons with a high level of value are always a good idea, as well as freebie events. Even in the midst of a negative situation that Starbucks recently faced with a system outage, you can attract more customers simply by going the extra mile for them.
3. Be a real example of your mission statement
A good tactic that humanizes your brand is one in which your founder(s) or employees can show your audience that what you represent is really being lived out at your organization. Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Airlines, represents his mission and cause well with regular photographs featuring his business and charitable causes. American Airlines often showcases stories on its employees and happy customers.
4. Keep it fresh
Stale content and product development fall flat for customers. By staying on top of the latest trends for your market and offering a mix in your marketing you can tap into their joy and happiness centers. Evaluate whether what your business has to offer ‘wows’ your followers, and keeps them coming back for more. Is this something your community can’t live without? Start with that and be creative according to who your audience is.
Attracting leads and customers as loyal evangelists is a consistent, day-by-day process of building trust, and knowing ahead of time what your market desires through precise target market research. With the use of powerful online tracking tools like Hootsuite, Sprout Social, and Twitter Advanced Search you can literally see in real time what your audience needs and desires. By being actively involved with your community and turning negative situations into incentives you will slowly create a lasting following who will recommend your brand to others online.