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5 Strategies to Turn Followers into Brand Ambassadors

Sep 17, 2015
By Blair Strasser (NASE Guest Blog post)

5 Strategies to Turn Followers into Brand Ambassadors

It is no longer just a good idea for small business owners to create and maintain a presence across several social media platforms; it is a necessity. Thanks to the internet and social media, it has never been easier to start a dialogue with your customers. This is especially beneficial to small businesses with miniscule marketing budgets.

But it is not enough to simply gather followers, you want to create customers so loyal, that they will talk up your business to everyone they meet, online or off. With a little extra effort and an open line of communication, you can easily turn those followers into brand ambassadors who are loyal, enthusiastic and knowledgeable about your product or service.

Here are five ways in which you can transform your satisfied followers into brand ambassadors:

Build Relationships — Keep in mind that social media platforms are not simply micro-billboards. Followers don’t want to be talked at, but would rather engage in meaningful conversation with the people and brands that they enjoy. Make sure you ask as many questions as you answer. Give plenty of opportunities for your followers to express themselves, and above all, remember that at the other end of every hashtag is a real world customer with the ability to share their experiences with your brand on their social media accounts, as well as in their real lives.
 
Hands Clasped Together

Build Communities — The internet is full of communities of people with similar likes and interests who otherwise would have been restricted from interacting with each other due to distance, time or background. These communities can pop up spontaneously, or you can take the initiative and create a safe place, such as a blog or message board, in which your customers can meet to interact with you and each other. Fostering a sense of community is a great way to foster a sense of loyalty. Not to mention, in the microcosm of the community, you can let followers educate each other on your products or services on your behalf.

Say Thanks — When you notice a follower who is especially vocal, enthusiastic or optimistic about your brand, tell them about it. Even better, tell the world about it. Leave comments of gratitude on their posts. Retweet the nice things they have said or done. Social media users love recognition, so give it to them!

And don’t forget to say thanks to your critics as well. Followers will occasionally post less-than-enthusiastic things about your business, but sometimes the best thing you can do is “kill them with kindness.” Eat your humble pie, thank them for their opinions and suggest a solution to the problem if you can. If you don’t have a solution, this is a perfect opportunity to open a dialogue and solicit a solution from your followers.

Dole Out Compliments — Just as with any relationship, a good rule of thumb is to make sure you never take the other party for granted. It’s okay to reply to your followers’ personal posts from time to time. If you notice they made a promotion, send a congratulatory note. And if a follower ever uses your product in a new or creative way, compliment them by sharing it with the world!

 Heart

Close the Loyalty Loop — You can develop a cycle of loyalty by asking for follower opinions and feedback on new products or services. People love sharing their opinions. This makes them feel more invested in your business, which in itself builds loyalty.
However, make sure to listen carefully to their advice, and when it is implemented, make sure to mention it. Give credit where credit is due, and you are certain to close the loyalty loop, thereby transforming mere followers into brand ambassadors with a vested interest in the success of your business.


Want more from Blair, follow him on Twitter @BlairStrasser!
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