If you’re listening then you’ll find where people are talking about your brand.
Google alerts are my favorite form of listening. I prefer subscribing to them by email rather than rss because it seems to provide more collective results. Technorati has a similar search function. And watching the pattern trends on Feedburner & Google Analytics will also indicate where your traffic is coming from.
If you’ve had a blogging presence for a long time then you’re probably going to need to go where the discussions are at. It could be on other people’s blogs, social networking sites, forums, etc. If you’re actively involved with your community, you’ll have a good sense of where the discussions about your brand are happening at.
What to do at these places?
- be helpful, answer questions about your products or services
- offer assistance
- interact & be a part of the community
When you identify people that are evangelizing for your brand, interact with them. You’ll get a sense really quickly of those that truly love your brand. The next step is contacting them.
But before you do that ask yourself: Do you have a strategy? This should’ve been decided before you started listening. If you don’t have one yet, then it’s time now to step back & decide on what it is. That will make the next steps so much easier.
If you’ve been paying attention your evangelists will talk about what they want. They will be giving feedback before you ask for it. Some options that you have:
- thank them for their support of your brand
- identify your affiliation with the company
- express what your ideas are (this comes from your strategy)
- make sure that it is specific enough so they can respond
- don’t overwhelm them with your enthusiasm
- offer complimentary product for their review
- make the contact in private through personal message
After the initial contact give them some time to respond. People are sometimes surprised to be contacted by someone from the company and they need to think about their response. As with any business, follow up is good. Make sure that you follow thru!
My next part in this series will address Organizing the efforts of your Evangelists.