Your Followers Are Powerful Brand Champions
If your social media presence isn’t quite what you’d like it to be, but you do still have a core of engaged and committed followers, you may be able to make use of those fans to become champions for your brand. More than at any other time in history, a small group of highly engaged followers can exert tremendous influence over masses of people, and make a big difference in your marketing campaigns.
With the advent of social media, it has become possible to plug into the built-in snowball effect of user engagement. This means that the more people who interact with your posts, the more important and relevant they are considered by the platform, which then delivers it via news feeds to even more users. That in turn, generates more engagement by other users, and your burgeoning snowball begins rolling down the hill.
This discussion will center around how you can tap into the incredible power of social media with just a few dedicated followers serving as brand champions for your business.
Finding brand champions
Brand champions are those people who are always the most motivated and most enthusiastic about your business offerings, and are most interested in the success of your business. These individuals are the ones who literally engage with every business post you make, either liking it or commenting about it, or tweeting something complementary regarding the post.
When you’ve identified some people in this category, make sure to engage with them, because the very best way of establishing a human representative for your brand is to let your target audience know that they’re appreciated and valued by your business. After a period of interaction with a number of users in this category, it should be possible to evaluate the body of engagement, to determine which fans are your most dedicated and most committed – these are your potential candidates for brand champions.
There are even some tools available to help you in this effort. Twitter and Instagram for instance, allow you to use a product called SocialRank, which is free and lets you categorize your audience in terms of those who are most engaged, i.e. who interact with your content most often, and those who are the most valuable, i.e. they have the most impact. The paid version of this same product will allow you to compare your audience with that from other brands in your market, so that you can tell how you stand among competitors.
Having identified your most committed followers, you can enhance the relationship by rewarding their commitment, and featuring them on your platform. Everyone likes to be recognized, and by recognizing your most enthusiastic followers, you’ll be cementing the relationship and preparing them for the possibility of becoming a brand champion.
Make sure to use Facebook
While it’s a good idea to make use of more than one social media site, primarily those platforms where you know your target audience has a large presence, you should pay particular attention to using Facebook. The reason for this is that Facebook has made some changes to its news feed delivery mechanism, so that more significance is assigned to content supplied by family and friends, as opposed to public posts.
The point of this change was to give priority to interactions between people rather than from other public sources, and to feature more content comprised of conversation and personal connections. By having your brand champions engage with others on Facebook, you’ll be tapping into this new approach and gaining increased emphasis on posts between people. It’s worth noting that Facebook owns Instagram as well, and that your brand champions should be engaged there to take advantage of the same news feed changes.
Recruiting your brand champions
It’s not likely that your brand champion candidates will have any marketing experience, so you’ll have to provide some clear direction to them and guide their efforts, in order to maximize their impact among other social media users. You should explain to them how the whole news feed algorithm works, i.e. when they like one of your business posts, that identifies the post as something relevant and useful, and gives it increased value to other users.
It’s important that you communicate to your candidate brand champions how they can impact the value of your posts, and thus the breadth of the audience which is eventually reached. This will convey the message that what they are doing is extremely important to the company, and that they are doing a great service to your business. When you have a number of candidates who are interested in the opportunity, it then becomes important for you to provide them with all the strategies and tools which they might need, in order to be as effective as possible as champions of your brand.
Supporting your brand champions
Of course, in order for your brand champions to engage with your content in your posts, they’ll have to be able to locate it on the various social media platforms. You certainly don’t want to leave it to chance, and expect that the news feeds will deliver your posts regularly to your most avid followers, and that means you have to take matters into your own hands.
One good way to do this is to encourage your followers to visit your home page, click on the button marked ‘Following’, and change the default setting to ‘See First’. What this will do is it ensures that whatever content is posted by your brand, it will be among the news feed items they see first, and that means engagement with your post is much more likely.
You can also create exclusive communities for your most committed fans, where they can engage with others to share views, recipes, and personal advice. Almost all of this content will be generated by group users, and will give them a feeling of being special, while they’re also increasing their engagement with your brand.
Another way to recognize your most devoted fans is to introduce elements of game-playing among them, for instance by having contests, establishing leaderboards, and awarding prizes for competitions among them. The whole point is to make sure that your brand champions know their efforts are truly appreciated, and to encourage them to continue serving in that capacity as loyal brand champions.