Most businesses have them: customers or employees who are known to be people of influence either in the community or as an online presence. It is crucial for business owners to nurture these relationships because they can prove extremely valuable over an extended period of time. But while a company owner is working to retain these key people, they can also be turning them into advocates who share the company branding with the people in their online and real-world universes. How does a business owner do that? Let’s take a look at some options.
Look Among Employees
Although influencers who are clients are a great resource, chances are there’s an employee who also could serve in this role. As a member of the company, they are already predisposed to spreading the good word about the business, but if they are empowered to share the message in online formats, their influence can multiply. Perhaps this star employee can serve as the company’s face in online interactions or social media discussions. Having someone on the staff who can respond quickly and positively to online comments can play an important role in managing the company branding. The best candidate will be someone who can get people to act as a result of the advocate’s enthusiasm.
Identify Outside Influencers
Although a company may have loyal customers who have thousands of social media contacts and a thriving real-world network, that doesn’t mean they are an ideal candidate to become a company branding advocate. Businesses should be on the lookout for people whose opinions matter to the public or the community. They must truly be ïinfluencersï who can prompt action around a brand in other people without being obtrusive or pushy. In other words, owners should be looking for quality advocates who have power to get people involved, not just someone with a large quantity of connections who can build awareness.
There are several ways in which companies can encourage a strong relationship with an influencer. Perhaps they give the advocate an insider look at the company’s facility, or they might show new products to the loyal client for initial feedback. When a company event is planned, the influencer should be at the top of the invitee list. A birthday card on the client’s special day or a holiday appreciation gift are simple and thoughtful gestures as well. The influencer should be shown that they are important and special in the company’s eyes.
Companies should not focus on what influencers can do for them. By offering excellent customer service, a personal touch and an interest in harboring long-term relationships, the business may gain an advocate without overtly asking for help. The influencer might post online about the fabulous new product he or she got to sample first, or they might share highlights from an adventure they had involving the company’s employees. The relationship, over time, can build into more of a partnership with the business as the common thread.
Any time an influencer makes a statement or shares a post with his or her online audience, the company should be sure to thank them for their kind words and their continued patronage. Failure to show gratitude may leave the advocate feeling unappreciated and less likely to continue sharing praise. Influencers like to feel important, so follow up after a blog post or social media message is vital for any company that wants to maintain the relationship.
Always Be on the Lookout
It’s key that businesses are always looking for new influencers. This requires keeping an eye on social media platforms to see which users are reaping the most engagement and response. The company can get involved in the conversation, too, but sometimes it’s better to watch for a while to see what develops. If an online user seems passionate about the company’s products or services, it might be time to reach out with a product sample or private message inviting them to visit the website or write a guest blog. Of course, that doesn’t mean the established advocates should be neglected. Perhaps the company would even try to get a couple of influencers to work together as company branding advocates. Having influencers in a company’s corner can be valuable from brand recognition and revenue standpoints. With some extra time spent harboring those relationships, a business might be able to create an online support system of current and potential customers. In addition to seeking company branding advocates, businesses can find out how to make fantastic hiring decision and improve their companies using the resources at Mighty Recruiter as a guide.