We all remember when Jerry Maguire famously quipped “help me help you,” to his client Rod Tidwell. Just like Tidwell, your company has very real advocates out there, just waiting to recount your merits. Nurture these connections and encourage a sense of community around your brand—it’ll be beneficial for you and your supporters alike.
If you’re looking for a few ways to maximize the help your advocates can bring you, then get out your trusty No. 2 pencil and a quality notebook, friends. Here are five ways to manage your external marketing team.
1. Improve customer relationships. Understanding is the cornerstone of any relationship. By rewarding customer loyalty and encouraging engagement, you’re nurturing the sort of folks who will go on to become outspoken champions of your brand. Marston’s Pubs, for instance, listened to their customers and rewarded them with a coupon for bringing in a friend, a bonus the community valued that also encouraged engagement.
2. Guide social conversations. Social networks can be one of the chief places your fans go to spread your message. By keeping track of what’s being said on social, you can join the conversation in a meaningful way. When you come to the aid of an advocate who is defending you, you lend legitimacy to their message. Highlight the best intentions of a supporter who got some of their details wrong and you bolster their confidence while simultaneously redirecting the conversation. They might even reward you by spreading the news of your aid far and wide.
3. Reward key influencers. Everybody has that one friend who takes to social media to share how they got a good deal at brand X, but some folks have actually built up a following based on their advice. Identify these key influencers in your community and reward them with a bit of advocacy of your own. Retweet their witty comments, send them tickets to events you’re hosting in their area, or drop some surprise swag at their doorsteps. Simple acts of recognition can be your best bet for reinforcing positive customer sentiment.
4. Feed them exclusives. Another great way to show your appreciation is to give your fans advance notice of upcoming events. If your advocates find out about a sale or publicity event 24 hours before the public does, they’re part of an exclusive club. For the folks who already love your brand, this sort of privileged access can be invaluable.
5. Don’t shy away from criticism. We can’t expect every comment on social media to be purely positive, but constructive criticism can present some wonderful opportunities. As long as level heads are allowed to prevail, listening to suggestions from your community can lead to greater social visibility and can give you the opportunity to directly influence sentiment.
If you’d like more information on how to manage social sentiment and bolster your customer advocates, take a moment to download this e-book.