ENTREPRENEURSHIP / MAR. 26, 2014
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How to Turn Your Customers Into Brand Ambassadors for Free

Businesses usually depend on loyal customers to serve as ambassadors who spread the word about a company’s products or services. Much of the process of building ambassadors takes place on social networking sites as well as face-to-face interaction. The good news is that you can leverage these ambassadors to share content or talk about your company and products without an extravagant budget.

Karen Post, president of Brain Tattoo Branding, based in Tampa, says that “the key is to engage customers in conversation and let them know you're interested in what they say. It's really all about dialogue - listening- and if these people are carrying your torch, thanking them for that and rewarding them in some way that makes them feel good”.

No matter the size of your company, you can always find people talking about your company without any substantial costs. Here are some of the best ways to make customer ambassadors without assuming the costs of a referral program.

#1 Monitor Who is Talking About You, Then Get in Touch

The first and perhaps the easiest step to take is to use digital tools to find existing conversations and start talking to the users by replying on Twitter, Facebook or on blogs. Mention is an ideal online tool to keep track of any mentions concerning your company or brand on the web and social media.  You can create alerts for your name, product, company, industry or competitors and monitor mentions in real-time.

Your comments in social media pages and blogs trigger more interaction and boost your brand awareness. Doing it right means that someone who might have just mentioned you once could become a reliable brand ambassador who consistently recommends your product.

#2 Develop a Strong Brand Voice

The key for keeping new customers enticed with your brand and motivating them to talk about you is to constantly give them new topics to discuss. This could be a new feature announcement or a new milestone or even just an opinion you would like to communicate on a subject.

Strive for developing a strong brand voice, by systematically keeping in touch with your users and maintaining a two-way communication with them. Give them something engaging to talk about and constantly pay attention to their responses.

#3 Make Your Support Social

Users increasingly turn to social networks rather than traditional mainstream channels such as phone or email to ask support questions. By capitalising on social media to answer most of your user questions you can massively enhance your online presence and build a solid fan base. This is a public, efficient and cost-effective way to turn customers with questions into followers of your brand.

#4 Surprise Your Followers Positively

Personal Communication is key for retaining loyal fans as they appreciate the fact that you are going the extra mile to promptly reply to their posts and they feel valued that their voice is being heard.  Simply answering a tweet swiftly can also make users praise your level of service and your product.

Going the extra mile and devoting time to make your followers feel special, can be the difference between a product having a decent word of mouth and an exceptional viral product.

#5 Take a Position

Try to stay away from competition by concentrating on a few specific areas in your industry. Make sure you take a clear stance on these topics so that you establish yourself as an authority on these topics. Take a position and support it with thoughtful material.  So identify the area where you should dedicate most of your efforts to stand out from the crowd.

Ideally strive to create infographics, webinars and in-depth articles to boost your expertise profile creatively. Inspire people with your unique stance and spark debate. Regardless of whether people with agree or disagree with you, your brand will get noticed and spread around the social web.

These are just a few simple ways to foster more interaction, boost brand awareness and build a solid base of committed users who are eager to represent, advocate and promote your product consistently. Instead of rewarding these fans with money, reward them by actively acknowledging their efforts and continuously making them feel special and valued. 

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