In this final phase of a Simple Process To Social Media Success, companies have already listened to the conversation, identified their fans, developed a strategy around providing needs-based content, set up tracking and and engaged their fans with help from last weeks 12 Way To Woo post.
So what if, after all, theyre not talking about your company?
This final phase will help you find ways to nurture and further strengthen fan relationships. Fans need to feel special, without feeling bought. They need dedicated channels, special insights and exclusive services. And, above all, they need to be given something remarkable to talk about. They need to be given a wow experience and then they need to be asked to share that experience with friends and provided with the tools to make sharing easy.
So accordingly here are
8 Ways to Reward Your Fans That Wont Break The Bank:
1. Direct Communication With Senior Company Staff: Provide a unique channel via email, a hotline or a link invitation via social sites to the companys top management and thought-leaders.
2. Exclusive Service: What customer need could be filled that would be highly valued? A florist could offer a Valentines Day/Mothers Day/Anniversary reminder service to top customers. A spa could provide babysitting for Moms.
3. Exclusive Offers: 44% of those who follow a brand on Twitter do so because of the promise of exclusive deals. Starbucks had great success earlier this month by providing free coffee for one day for everyone who owns their tumblers. It served to not only re-stimulate lapsed fans but undoubtedly created new ones by selling more tumblers while, at the same time, creating an emotional bond with fans by supporting Earth Day.
4. Invites to Special Events: Whether its a product launch or something more intimate, evites and the event functions on most social sites can provide fans and followers with exclusive access to special occasions. Our local sports shop offers after-hours buying to its best customers in the hectic days leading up to Christmas. A webinar with top industry speakers can provide anytime exclusive access.
5. Include them in Product Planning: Both Dell and Starbucks have had great success involving their best customers in product development. Not only do you end up with a better product but youve bonded them to the end result in way theyre bound to talk / brag about.
6. Sneak Previews & Beta Testing: Allow a companys best customers first crack at new products and services before the general public. Google is perhaps the best practitioner in utilizing social networks this way.
7. Invite the Mayor!: No, not the real mayor. With users just crossing the million mark, Foursquare is worth testing as a way to reach the mayor of a business and others who visit frequently.
8. Provide Research / Information Not Available To Others: Dangling a white paper is well-known as a tactic for getting prospects to provide valuable contact information. But the same tactic can also be used to make best customers feel special and give them something exclusive to share. A subscription to a valued online paid service has the added benefit of being a perpetual reminder of the company.
Remember the goal of the Nurture phase is to fan the flames of a companies relationship with its biggest admirers and continually attract and add more advocates to its fan base by giving them something remarkable to share with others.
Social media is more than a concept its a continuous feedback loop, and a commitment to doing the right things for the right reasons. Its about truly listening and satisfying clients, so that they promote a firm because of their positive experiences with it. There is a process to social media however, one which dramatically increases a firms odds of success utilizing social media. The L-I-S-T-E-N acronym is ultimately this process and is a framework for guiding a firms social media activities.
Bob Nunn is an Internet Marketing Consultant in Toronto and the founder of BrandMechanics. Bob has a successful track record of helping companies fine-tune their online marketing and getting their brands revved up. He has won over 40 marketing awards for his work in advertising, new media, email and more for clients such as Yellow Pages Group ‘The Find Engine’, Blockbuster ‘Guaranteed To Be There’, FutureShop ‘You’ll like what the future has in store.’ and 3M ‘Innovation’ among others.