Congratulations! Looks like you have reached a milestone….your Instagram page now has more than 5000 followers along with a good 1000+ Facebook friends!
Aha! Doesn’t that feel good? Just saying it even?
It does in fact feel great seeing the growing number of friends and followers of your brand on social media. Even if you haven’t reached the mega big numbers yet, this still means that there is a growing tribe of people who are showing interest in your brand/ product and in consuming the content that you regularly post on your social media handles!
Having such friends and followers is awesome. It gives you the opportunity to engage and interact and also gather precious feedback from them. Nothing beats such engagement and validation on social media.
But, there is scope to do better. You could go one step further and nurture some of those followers so that they could work more effectively for you and your brand!
We are speaking about brand evangelists.
Who is a Brand Evangelist?
They are those true fans. Those that believe totally in your brand and product/ service and are ready to share their positive experience with others.
Typically, they are very satisfied customers and are willing to go that extra mile to make sure that everyone else also gets to know what makes it so special. They truly believe in your product and want others to benefit from it also.
It’s their faith and conviction in the product/ brand that is prompting them to share their positive experience with others which makes them an amazing and effective marketing tool. One that doesn’t cost you anything!
They could be spreading the good words through word of mouth, through community interactions or more effectively through various social media channels.
However, it could take a bit of nurturing from your part to develop a few of these loyal and vocal fans of your brand and for you to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity.
How does it help?
Having a good number of friends/ followers on social media is good for a start, but how effective is that to execute conversions and complete transactions that ultimately determine the financial success of your business?
For the prospective customer browsing/ searching for any product, feedback and customer review is just as important as looking into the features of the product itself! Good, positive feedback from customers who trust and believe in your product and are willing to share their experiences with others is therefore a very useful resource and has a definite impact on influencing conversion rates.
Brand evangelists can also be a driving force in building a community that believes in what the brand stands for. Being a part of the community gives people a sense of belonging and also benefits the brand by creating more awareness and loyalty among its customers.
Who wouldn’t like to have a few such brand evangelists to support their social media marketing campaigns?
Ideas for turning followers into brand evangelists
Let’s explore some ideas about how to stir excitement and encourage some of those followers to get into the elevated role of becoming your brand evangelists.
Projecting the right Image
It takes much more than just liking the brand to become a brand evangelist. There needs to be a close association and involvement with the brand, an association with the image that the brand stands for. It clearly needs to represent their beliefs and project the image of who they would like to be.
For eg. You could highlight how your enterprise supports sustainability and is environmentally conscious. The hand painted scarves and handmade bags selling at your store are made with 100% organic materials that have been sourced ethically. Such values are important to millennials and are likely to strike a chord with them.
Running contests is another way to engage your followers. Asking them to upload photos/ videos of themselves engaging with your brand in creative ways under one hashtag can be a great idea. Such videos can also help turn the fan base into a growing community and increase the visibility and popularity of the brand.
Eg. If you are selling accessories like necklaces, bracelets or rings, encourage your followers to wear them and post photos / videos on social media. A few good words from the customers can often work better than scripted advertising jargon.
You could turn it into a contest and ask others to vote for the best photo/ video. A prize for the winner is sure to garner excitement and engagement among your followers.
Associating to the cause
Sometimes there needs to be a reason to get involved and also a clear way to contribute. Interactions with the online community also gives access to a wider community with like minded individuals with similar interests.
Eg. Say you are a home based food caterer and you take up using biodegradable tableware. Not only are you sourcing them from a NGO working for the upliftment for tribal communities, you are pledging 25% of your profits towards this organization. There may be customers who associate with such an endeavour and will be ready to not only support your business but also become brand evangelists who encourage their friends, family and community to support your enterprise.
Incentivising a referral made to someone can be a powerful tool to help promote the brand. It can be something as simple as tagging a friend on social media and getting a discount at your store.
This can be a great way to reward your followers and brand evangelists who would have spread the word around anyway, but everyone can do with some appreciation! A thank you note along with a gift certificate or a discount code would make any shopper happy.
A recommendation coming from a friend/ family will usually be more trustworthy and have higher chances of conversion. The incentive works as a token of appreciation for the one making the referral.
Keeping customers excited and engaged through cleverly designed loyalty programs is another smart way to nurture brand evangelists. Providing them with a positive experience as they interact with your brand is a basic necessity that would encourage them to share their good experiences about the brand with others in the community.
The rewards that you offer to repeat clients can range from special discounts, loyalty points redeemable towards future purchases, exclusive access to new products launched or even free products with purchases
This is another fantastic tool that is being used to make the user experience more valuable and engaging. Integrating some gaming tactics into the website and social media can help spark loyalty among your followers and customers and help create a community of loyal and excited fans of your brand.
It is basically the incentivisation of people’s engagement by the adding of gamelike elements to encourage participation. Game elements like points, rewards, badges etc encourage users to try to reach the next level, thereby increasing engagement.
Make a start
Brand evangelists can be a driving force of your brand’s social media campaign. They can be a huge help in enhancing interactions and building a community that believes in what the brand represents. Moreover, all of this is free advertising and hence extremely cost effective.
It makes a lot of sense to implement some of the strategies discussed and try turning some of your followers into your brand evangelists. These true fans and supporters of your brand are sure to help increase conversions and profitability of the business.
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