How to turn customers into brand advocates
Whether they’re buying new sneakers, renting a car, or downloading an app, customers trust online reviews and customer advocacy more than anything else. Social proof is without a doubt the most powerfully convincing factor and the first thing customers search for when making any purchase. This is true for individuals buying a product as well as a business thinking about adding a tool to their tech stack. When 79% of people trust online customer reviews as much as personal recommendations, creating trust in an increasingly digital world is incredibly powerful. Depending on your industry, this can be pretty challenging, especially when customers are using multiple products and platforms on a daily basis.
Being really satisfied with a product doesn’t automatically translate into actually becoming an ambassador and broadcasting it to others. So how can you make that happen? How do you go beyond customer satisfaction to customer loyalty, from customers who love your product to them actually advocating for it?
Let's get into the how-to of creating customer engagement:
1 Make your product worth talking about
Creating a noteworthy company experience starts with exceptional service, giving your customers the feeling of being fully appreciated. You’ve got a great product that customers love using, but don’t make the mistake of calling it a done deal once the purchase is made. How they’re being treated when they have questions or issues immediately shapes their opinion of your company. This means providing the necessary support at every corner, making it easy for them to find what they’re looking for, and having clear resources as well as consistent availability. The worst thing you can do is make customers feel like they're an imposition.
Make it as easy as possible for them to give their feedback and let them be heard. Go beyond expectations and ask customers what's actually important to them and what they feel is missing or would be nice to have to improve your product and processes — ultimately it’s a win for both sides. Your goal is to create such a strong emotional connection between the consumer and product or service, they’ll want to tell everyone about it.
2 Create easy customer engagement
Fully utilize social media by getting your customers to engage with your content and share their experiences. This allows them to take an active role in your brand communication, making them feel part of a community.
Create an open conversation with customers, whether it’s on Linkedin, Instagram, or Twitter. Make sure to use a platform your customers use regularly, which is likely to provide the most engagement for your product. This can differ greatly by industry, so make sure you’re doing the necessary research for your niche before jumping in. Offer free events, webinars, as well as relevant sharable content that’s interesting and beneficial. Don’t post just to post. Turn customers into active members of a community instead of simply observing by, for example, asking them questions and encouraging the use of hashtags. This will create a hashtag stream for your company, a stream of easily findable content when someone searches your brand name. This turns customers into brand ambassadors simply by getting them to participate in questions.
3 Keep customers in the loop
When you’re making changes, whether it’s improvements or add-ons to your product itself or you’re making changes on a company level, keep customers in the loop. Customer loyalty will likely fall when you’re not fully transparent. Consumers want to know what’s happening to a brand or product they love and if you can give them something to talk and post about, why not? Create hype around the changes you’re making so it’ll be exciting to share and talk about.
4 Give incentives for customer advocacy