One of the most exciting things that has evolved as a result of social media interactions is the superfan. Baochi Nguyen, Director of Social Strategy at RingCentral, spoke yesterday at the Social Media Strategies Summit in Boston about the do’s and dont’s of Superfans, as well as great ways to engage them and get to know them. The foundation for a superfan is a good product, great service and a great community. This establishes your organization to take advantage of the great opportunity that lies within interacting with your superfans. Baochi covered quite a bit of content, but I wanted to review a few of her key take aways.
There’s Not Just One Type of Superfan
One of the great things about superfans is that they can really be any of your costumers; it doesn’t have to be a Tweeter with hundreds or thousands of followers. A good Superfan is a customer that truly values your brand and has a genuine desire to be a brand ambassador simply because they like your product – and they do it for free. Baochi explained that as about 36% of social networkers post about brands, this is an amazing opportunity to get in touch with these social users that can provide candid recommendations and honest feedback. After all, these are the types of recommendations that people trust most. 92% of consumers worldwide trust recommendations from their family and friends.
Although hard to believe, it is also important to embrace negative comments. This can be a great resource for product improvement and also a chance to engage. Superfans can come from positive and negative comments; if they have a complaint about your product, take this as a chance to learn more and potentially change their minds. Baochi backed this up with the fact that 40% of 1,000 RingCentral superfans were obtained from a negative comment.
Baochi pointed out 5 main ways of how superfans contribute:
- Engagement: Superfans who respond regularly
- Feedback: Superfans who often give suggestions for improvement
- Kudos: Superfans who post positive experiences with your brand
- Promotion: Superfans who give your product/brand recommendations
- Support: Superfans who stand by you in tough times
So you have all these different types of brand ambassadors advocating your brand – for free! How do you keep them around?
Engage with your Superfans!
There are lots of ways to get to know your superfans better and keep them involved. Baochi gave lots of really useful examples, such as reading their blogs and leaving comments, conversing on relevant topics, but also getting to know them outside of your brand: what else are they interested in? Most importantly, you always need to thank them. Nothing feels better than being acknowledged by the brand that they spend time promoting and recommending to others and also feeling that what they are talking about matters.
Ways to thank your fans include shout-outs, e-cards, sharing their posts, featuring superfans on social channels and events, asking them for input on fun stuff such as contests and providing exclusive content for them. Depending on your brand, one or more of these different tactics may work better for you.
Although of course you want to keep your superfans engaged and interested, you don’t want to go overboard. Some important things to keep in mind when working with your superfans:
- Don’t choose superfans based on numbers. Just because they have thousands of followers doesn’t mean they’re going to be better than the others. Anyone can be a good superfan!
- Don’t be inauthentic.
- Don’t make superfans feel obligated. They are doing this because they want to, not because they have to. Make it fun!
- Don’t engage too frequently. Baochi likens this to a new best friend – you’re excited about it but you wouldn’t be calling them and texting them all day every day, would you?
- Loop in your legal department. It’s always good to keep them involved, and it’s always best to let your team and the rest of your customers know that superfans represent themselves, and their opinions don’t reflect those of the company.
- Maintain a no-strings attached approach. Superfans shouldn’t feel required to do anything for your brand.
- Welcome customers who ask to join the superfan program. Never turn down potential engagement and an opportunity to build a new relationship.
- For a more advanced superfan program, connect superfans with each other!
What other tips do you think are important to consider when cultivating a superfan community? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.