A guest post by Theresa Trevor of Amplifinity.
When people are making decisions about food and clothing, their debates often focus on quantity versus quality. For example, if we're buying apples, we ask ourselves, "Should I buy organic and end up with half a pound of pesticide-free, super-tasty apples, or should I spend less money and take home a dozen apples that aren't organic?"
Often, the decision is made by necessity. If you can’t afford an organic product, you’re not going to buy it, even if you prefer it. But if you had the choice, knew the facts, and had the resources, you’d probably always choose quality over quantity. Still... amassing a large quantity of anything has ostensible allure.
The same is true when it comes to Facebook fans. Having a ton of them seems like a great thing. But let’s look closely at the quantity versus quality debate in this case.
Definitions of Fan and Advocate
First, let’s establish the two camps when it comes to boosting your brand worth: Facebook fans and brand advocates. The two are not necessarily mutually exclusive, but they are different.
A Facebook Fan:
- "Likes" your page
- Probably doesn’t promote your brand in any measureable way
- Runs the gamut from completely inactive in terms of promoting your brand to being an active influencer
A brand advocate:
- Actively promotes your brand
- Brings in new business
- Writes reviews
- Publishes testimonials
- Talks online and offline about your brand
- Acts as a volunteer marketer for your products
Again, having fans is not a bad thing---far from it! But having a huge number of Facebook fans is about quantity; having a group of brand advocates is about quality. Advocates are generally agreed to be worth two-and-a-half times more than an average customer.
The good news is that many of your Facebook fans can become your brand advocates.
Turn Fans Into Brand Advocates
You’ve got to activate your fans to become brand advocates. Activating your advocates requires that you do the following.
1.) Present your Facebook Fans with opportunities. Take a look at every way in which new customers interact with you---not just your fans on Facebook. You can create various communication strategies that reach potential advocates where they already are---purchasing products, checking their email, visiting your website, or contacting your call center. The possibilities are endless.
2.) Empower your advocates to refer other folks. Give your advocates the tools to take action online and offline through multiple channels. In just a few clicks, advocates can upload their contacts from any major email provider or post on any social network using templates you provide. Offline, advocates can keep referral cards in their wallet, hand out brochures at the front desk of their businesses, or send offers through SMS texts. All those methods spread brand awareness, generate high open rates, click-throughs, and impressions. They also prompt your fans to take action and become advocates.
Nurture your new advocates. Acknowledging and thanking your new advocates is a surefire way to keep them satisfied and energized. You can provide your advocates with status updates throughout the process, send them targeted opportunities based on what you know about them, reward them with or without incentives (even a simple thank-you note can be motivating), and provide strong and consistent customer service.
Track and manage your advocate relationships. Now that you’ve converted your fans into your advocates, you’ll need the technology to track and manage those relationships. Partner with a company that can provide key metrics that keep the momentum, such as web analytics, referral action and frequency, and customized reports.
Sure, we all want our investments to yield the sweetest high-quality fruit. But to get there, we need to active and nurture our advocates---only then can we see the benefits of our time and efforts.
(Photo courtesy of Bigstock: Child in Superhero Suit)
Theresa Trevor is the creative director of Amplifinity, a technology company that creates word-of-mouth and brand-advocacy programs for enterprise-class clients.