Brand advocates are your business’s best friends. They’re regular customers, and in addition to their patronage, they’re also incredibly vocal to others — friends, family and the general public — about how much they love your business. Whether online or in person, you can count on your brand advocates to champion your business and even be a knight in shining armor in the face of negative feedback from critics.
(And maybe best of all: Once you’ve built that relationship of trust and mutual advocacy, they’ll be honest with you about their experiences with your business and how you can make things better for everyone who comes to visit you.)
There are plenty of places to find brand advocates — from places that are right under your nose to ones you wouldn’t ordinarily expect. Here are a few thoughts:
– Look within your loyalty program for your most steadfast customers
– Transform even part-time employees into brand advocates
– Find advocates and champions through social media
– Tap into advocates within industry and trade associations
– Surveys can provide important insights into your best, most vocal customers
But having found such incredible advocates isn’t something to take lightly. So I’m wondering: Have you thanked your brand advocates lately?
Many of the tactics you can use to thank them might seem similar to those you used to “activate” your brand advocates, something we talked about in a previous blog post.
Write a simple thank-you
A note of genuine appreciation for an advocate’s loyalty and vocal support can go a long, long way, whether it comes from the person who packaged up their most recent online order or directly from the CEO, director of marketing or other higher-up.
A thank-you letter is just further confirmation that they’re an important customer — more than just a number — and will help brand advocates remember their efforts aren’t going unnoticed.
Hold an exclusive shopping event
This is great for them and an opportunity to boost your business. Open your doors at a special time, just for your best brand advocates. Serve wine and snacks, and offer them a great discount for that evening, as a way of thanking them for their business and support.
Treat them like royalty for a night, and though you’ll both know that you didn’t have to do it to keep their business, it’ll sure feel good.
Create a special corner online
If your brand advocates are frequently sharing your business on the Internet, you could thank them by creating a private group or community on Facebook that gives them unprecedented access to your business.
This is a great place to offer special everyday discounts, new product previews and other content and information designed just for them.
But don’t forget to celebrate your brand advocates on your public Facebook and Twitter pages, too — even if it’s just a photo shout-out or a retweet of one of their shining endorsements.
Don’t forget your brand advocates at the holidays
With the holidays approaching, retaining your brand advocates and strengthening your relationships is more important than ever. Tensions run high during the stressful holiday shopping season, and having someone in your corner (but outside your four walls) could be the key to keeping customers coming through your doors, especially because you want them shopping with you during the holiday spending period.
How do you thank your most loyal brand advocates? Perhaps you use Restaurant.com Gift Cards to show your appreciation? Tell us in the comments section below…