As a B2C company, your fans might not have thousands of followers – but they do have a great deal of influence. They might not be trained in digital marketing and social media best practices, but they are more than qualified to initiate meaningful conversations and generate visibility. Why? Because just like all social media users, a large part of your fans’ online activity involves communicating with people they know who have similar interests, and who could therefore be your next best customers.
Joe’s Got New Shoes!
Having a large audience is great, but what’s even greater is having an audience that responds to what is being said and/or shared. A Facebook campaign that promotes a pair of shoes has the potential to reach thousands of people. An individual who logs onto Facebook and posts “Here’s a photo of the new shoes I bought this morning, don’t they look great?” is unlikely to generate that much reach, but their post will be seen by lots of people who say “Ooh, Joe’s got new shoes. I wonder where they’re from…”
The point here is not that paid social media advertising is irrelevant – on the contrary, it’s extremely relevant for marketers at B2C companies. The point is that in addition to paid media, engaging fans in social media communication allows you to reach audiences who, because they know the person or people sharing information, are more likely to respond to the messages being shared. So engaging your fans allows you to drive authentic conversations about your products and services, as they are the people who have genuine experiences of those products and services.
Now, Why Didn’t I Think of That?
Brand-to-consumer marketing is as much about communicating alongside consumers as it is about communicating to them. This is because online consumers don’t just tune into brand communication; they value authenticity and genuine insights, the best of which come from fellow consumers. Every customer will have their own unique experience of your brand. This means that when they talk about it, they will come up with ideas and insights in addition to those provided by official brand communication.
The question is, how do you encourage fans to communicate about your brand repeatedly? This is where brand advocacy comes in. It goes without saying that however much they love you, customers won’t vouch for your brand consistently unless there’s something in it for them. There are several stages involved in launching a successful brand advocacy program, but here are three key points:
- By inviting your top customers to a select community of advocates, you create a sense of involvement and exclusivity that keeps them coming back for more.
- When you empower fans not just to share brand content, but also to create their own content in the form of photos, videos and written testimonials, you show that you value their input and put the emphasis on what they, not you, have to say.
- By implementing contests and rewards such as freebies, discounts and product trials, you create a two-way relationship and a brand advocacy program that is as much about strengthening relationships with current customers as sourcing and engaging new ones.
Fans are the very lifeblood of a B2C company, so creating a community of your most loyal customers is an incredibly effective way of boosting your existing social media activity. Sociabble allows you to invite top customers to access a platform complete with branded and user-generated content, as well as customized gamification and reward initiatives. So you can inform, engage and empower those who know and love your brand, while at the same time enhancing online communication. Contact us to request a demo or discuss brand advocacy in greater detail.