It’s a typical Wednesday morning. My alarm goes off and I head downstairs to make coffee, check my email and see what’s happening in the social media world. I snap a photo of my freshly brewed Keurig coffee and send it to Twitter and Instagram with the caption, “Good Morning!” I’m ready to conquer my day- and my friends know just how I started it. My name is Kristin Fehrman and I recently joined the marketing and sales operations team at Zuberance. Unknowingly, I have been a loyal advocate to a variety of brands and services for years- and as an avid user of social media, my passion for these brands has been a powerful marketing tool.
Even though I have worked within digital marketing for several years, brand advocacy has come as second nature to me. I never resist sharing my favorite new restaurants, stores, products and marketing campaigns with friends and family, and thanks to social media, those around me can also consume this information when relevant to their needs.
Brand Advocacy is as simple as talking about a new fall nail polish color or recommending a cell phone provider to friends. In the digital age, brands are beginning to understand the power of happy customers and are learning how to leverage their brand advocates.
Brands that create relationships with Advocates win
I have always been excited when brands have noticed my feedback. One experience that sticks out in my mind was a summer day about a year ago when I made a quick lunch stop to one of my favorite food trucks. I had learned about this spot thanks to my friends on social media- the recommendations and delicious photos had lured me in- so I stopped by, checked in on Foursquare, snapped a photo of the menu and Tweeted my friends.
The word of mouth cycle was continuing. After a couple of weeks the owner recognized me from my Tweets, introduced himself, and thanked me for my Yelp review. I was thrilled to see that my feedback was valued- and noticed!
Even though I have been a Yelp Elite user for four years and have hundreds of reviews and photos on the site, this was the first time a business owner had recognized my positive experience. I received lunch on the house that day- but that wasn’t my motive.
I was thankful to the people who recommended this amazing food truck to me, and wanted to keep the messaging rolling throughout the community. Additionally, thanks to this positive experience and recognition, I was fueled to continue to spread the word- this was a business who truly cared about having me as a customer.
Brands have personalities, too
Social media is also an amazing tool for humanizing brands- while I may enjoy two competing pizza companies, I’m more likely to be loyal to the one who communicates with me or makes me feel valued. Brands with a sense of humor and strong appreciation for their current customers are undoubtedly the ones I will continue to engage with and share (advocate) with my social circles.
Despite incentives, freebies or special offers, I will continue to stay loyal to the brands who recognize me as a person, not just a customer or a number. Even though incentives are nice (who doesn’t love a freebie?), they’re not a valuable long-term solution to retaining happy customers.
What brands have connected with you one-on-one and left an impression?