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MARKETING

Shouldn't You Know Your Superfans?

A five-point plan for identifying your strongest brand advocates, decoding their passions, and collaborating with them on meaningful offers
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Fiat has 627,000. SpongeBob has 41.6 million. Even Spam has 180,000 Facebook Likes. But what do all of those digital endorsements really amount to, in terms of the bottom line? Not a whole lot, say Kevin Clancy and Eric Paquette of Copernicus, a marketing and consulting firm.

You see, your company’s Facebook universe is largely composed of “regular customers” and “loyalists”--two groups of people who don’t feel particularly compelled to talk about your brand. Only a fraction of those Facebook Likes belong to “advocates,” or the 5 percent to 10 percent of superfans who “want to support a brand by helping other consumers interact with it.”

Attorney Matthew Rhoden, in a post for the HBR Blog Network titled “Create Brand Superfans,” describes a true brand advocate as someone who purchases the brand’s products or services for family and friends, provides unsolicited feedback, and is emotionally attached to the brand.

Target a message to your regular customers, and you may see an uptick in sales from existing clients. Target the same message to your advocates, and watch the new-customer referrals spike.

So, how can you identify your superfans? And what should you do to keep them happy? Clancy and Paquette offer a five-point plan in the white paper “Measuring and Motivating Brand Advocates”:

1. Track them down. Create a list of users who have recommended your company via social media, pinned your product to Pinterest, penned an Amazon review, or gifted your wares.

2. Invite them inside. Create a private Facebook group or other exclusive arena--less fan club than focus group--in which your brand advocates can interact more intimately with the company.

3. Dig into their drivers. Take a brand history survey that asks how your advocates found the company, what initially made them try it, and what important problem it solves for them. “Once marketers have determined that set of four to 10 measures of passion that best predict advocacy behaviors,” Clancy and Paquette note, “they can use them to identify advocates in specific media and internal databases.”

4. Estimate their value. According to Forrester Research, every Twitter or Facebook post reaches a minimum of 150 people. Know how many Facebook friends, Twitter followers, and LinkedIn connections your advocates have so you can accurately estimate their reach--and set conversion goals.

5. Collaborate with them. Ask your superfans what incentives, discounts, and special offers would be most meaningful to them--and begin testing, testing, testing.

This article was originally published at The Build Network.

IMAGE: Getty Images
Last updated: Feb 10, 2014




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