Brand Evangelists: What They Are and How To Grow Them.
Brand evangelists are vital to your company. They are loyal customers who sing your praises at every opportunity. They recommend you to all their friends. They are the most active on social media. Brand evangelists are the ones whom you need to nurture at any opportunity.
What are Brand Evangelists?
Brand evangelists are a small group of people who become obsessive fans. They adore your company and are willing to shout about it. They could be customers, employees or anyone who is likely to recommend your company.
Usually, a brand evangelist comes about because they love your product or service. Sometimes it’s your company’s customer service turns them into loyal fans.
Why are Brand Evangelists Important?
Brand evangelists will shout about your company to their friends. They will recommend you at every turn. They will share your social media posts. They may even blog about you. Whatever they do, they pull in customers who start their buying journey with you on their mind. A recommendation makes your brand more trustworthy.
How to Find Brand Evangelists.
You will need to identify your brand evangelists. To do this, you are going to want to keep an eye on their activity and reward them every now and again.
Taylor Swift does this with her fans. She found her biggest fans who talk about her brand online the most and invited them to her house. Swift often meets her fans and befriends the ones whom she sees all the time at events. She even keeps an eye on her most prominent fan pages. The result is staggering.
How did I end up sitting on Taylor’s living room floor listening to her unreleased album with my best friends? #reputationsecretsessions
— Alex // Resting Bored Face (@AlexWJ93) October 13, 2017
— LYNDSAY (@Up_In_Lights13) October 13, 2017
While you don’t necessarily need to invite your fans to your house, you will want your brand to ‘befriend’ them.
You can find your biggest fans through:
- Customer Surveys.
- Seeing who engages the most on social media.
- Referral programs.
- Looking at how your employees talk about your company outside the office.
- Message boards (e.g. Reddit).
How to Grow a Following of Brand Evangelists.
There are many ways to grow your brand evangelists. As evangelists grow your sales through word of mouth, it’s worth spending some money to grow this fan base. Never underestimate the power of social proof.
Below, we’ve laid out a few different ways to cultivate and grow your brand evangelist following. We recommend trying as many of these tactics as possible, as they all add more to your brand.
Give a Brilliant Service.
The easiest way to impress your customers is to give a brilliant service. Make sure your packaging is beautiful, your deliveries are on time, and your customer service team are helpful. Providing the best service possible ensures your customers love your brand.
83% of customers who have received a brilliant service say they are willing to recommend a company. Only a third of those customers actually do. You need to encourage your customers to keep loving your brand.
Encourage Customers to Join Your Social Media.
Your social media profiles are a fantastic way to cultivate brand evangelists. Posting every day gives you many opportunities to continue to delight your audience.
You should do the following:
- Share tutorials to help customers to get value from your products.
- Show off ‘exclusive’ first views.
- Run competitions.
- Reply to all messages.
- Fix any customer service messages quickly and promptly.
Share Customer Images.
Customers who tag you in their photos generally love your product. You should reward them by asking if you can feature their image on your social media channels.
You should always ask permission first, even if it says “tag us to be featured” on your page. One, it covers your back in case anything happens. Two, it means you can strike up a 1-on-1 conversation with your customer, where you can chat with them. A little kindness goes a long way.
Usually, those who get their photos featured often become far more active. They begin to like and comment on their pictures. Continue to reward them as often as you can.
Thank Your Customers.
If you ship out products or own a shop, you might want to consider thanking your customers.
Add a thank you card to the package. It could be either printed or handwritten. It needs to tell the customer that you appreciate their order. Include your social media handles and ask them to tag you in any photos. You could include a discount code, but that is entirely optional. It all depends on your product margins.
Some brands add in little bags of sweets or freebies as another way to delight their customers.
If you’re going to put in a branded freebie, make sure it’s something useful. A well-known banking brand once gave out ice scrapers during the winter with their logo on it. Makeup brands often give out free branded makeup bags. People are more likely to keep something that adds value. Tailor it towards your customer persona.
Tap Into Pain Points and Desires.
Your customers came to you because they had a want or a need. They picked your product to solve it. If it answers that pain well, you can tap into other pain points.
Does your company sell kitchen utensils? Then start posting fun recipes for your audience.
Sell pet food? Post silly pictures of animals.
Your audience has many shared interests that extend beyond your products. Tap into the shared values to delight your audience without coming across as too promotional. Your fans will share these with their friends and encourage them to follow your page.
Celebrate Your Loyal Fans.
Consider hosting a fan event for your most loyal customers. Invite the following to the same event:
- Your most active social media fans.
- Bloggers who have reviewed your products.
- Customers who are frequent shoppers (as long as you have permission to contact them).
- Customers who spend the most money (as long as you have permission to contact them).
Invite your fans to meet your team and get exclusive products and deals. It gives them a fresh perspective and makes them feel valuable. If you have a big space in your office, you can do it there. Alternatively, you could reserve an area in a bar or event space.
Encourage them to take photos and post on social media. It helps to show your brand as human.
MCM Comic Con have started inviting people from their email lists to meetup events. It allowed the event goers to meet the staff behind the event. MCM had a few issues at previous Comic-Cons that their most loyal fans were vocal about. This gave the fans a chance to express concerns and for the staff to reassure them that it was under control. They also wrote down everyone’s ideas for how to make the show better.
Set up a private Facebook group for your biggest fans. You can invite them by segmenting your email lists by active engagements and sales. You can also invite those who engage the most on social media by asking them to private message you. If you host events, encourage attendees to join the group to continue the conversation.
Exclusive groups allow your brand evangelists to meet each other and engage with your brand and staff. They are also a great way to reach all your biggest fans without having to rely on Facebook’s algorithm. Anyone who joins the group gets a notification when something is posted.
Use the group to post exclusive deals, product launches and event invites. Run competitions and giveaways only for them. Cultivate this group and keep impressing them. These are your brand ambassadors so treat them with respect – not as a cash cow.
Brand evangelists and loyal fans are vital to your company. They bring in revenue and promote kind words about your company. If you haven’t got a strategy in place to reward brand evangelists, you should start looking into one. Social media is a great place to start rewarding customers. If you need guidance, check out our social media packages.