The far reach of social media has fundamentally altered the way in which we interact with one another. Things happen lightning fast, and it’s commonplace to get moment-to-moment updates on what your friends are doing. While you may believe that it is – in fact – possible to OD on never-ending selfies, the prevalence of digital photos and tweets that reach millions of followers is a huge opportunity for savvy entrepreneurs who are able to enlist their customers in building their brands. Here’s how to convert your customers to your biggest fans:
- Have your clients do some of the work. If you can find a way to let customers make doing business with you a unique and personalized experience, they’re far more likely to tell their friends about you. The best recent example of this principle are the number of business popping up that provide detailed art instruction for a group of people to gather at a bar or restaurant and paint their own picture. You see Facebook posts of smiling faces and proud amateur artists. They’re selling the experience to their friends.
- Play hard to get. The American Express Black Card is the best example bar none. It’s obscenely expensive, but people fall all over themselves, coveting an invitation to open one, and only a few customers ever receive that invitation. Creating a sense of exclusivity makes your product that much more desirable.
- Deny your own existence. One of the reasons there was so much buzz about the Amex Black Card when it was created was because Amex refused to confirm the card’s existence. They relied on the excitement of gossip and speculation to generate interest.
- Encourage tattoos. I know this tactic may sound extreme, but when folks start permanently applying your logo to their bodies, you’ve officially arrived. Associating your brand with a lifestyle and developing a great logo is a good start. Think no one would ever ink a logo? Look around you at the beer labels, band logos, and Harley Davidson tattoos that are out there. It’s possible.
- Go underground. Throw exclusive parties for your very best customers – parties that they must be invited to attend. Offering special perks for invitation only rewards clubs makes customers crave that favored status.
- Put your customers through boot camp. The idea here is to have a series of steps that customers have to go through in order to achieve a special status. Give them special status and reward them with exclusive offers that are available only to the elite customers who’ve been dedicated enough to reach your upper echelon. Give customers a shirt or a car magnet that boasts about their status, and you’re generating interest everywhere your customer goes.
- Create an annual event. Start a tradition that anchors your company as a valuable member of your community. Whether you sponsor a fall festival or a public Easter Egg hunt, giving your community something to look forward to creates lasting, positive associations for your company.
So the real secret of all of these techniques is what happens afterwards. By creating loyal, dedicated fans of your brand, you’re inevitably creating brand ambassadors who will Tweet, Instagram, and Facebook about your company, spreading the word with every like, share, or comment. That’s why these raving fans are so valuable – they become your cheerleaders and enthusiastically help build your brand.