Creating a Loyal Fan Base: Maintaining Relationships (Part 2)

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Now that you've started building your customer base, how exactly do you turn them into fans that will openly advocate for your product or service? This important (and often overlooked) aspect of customer care is achieved by creating a valued community of loyal users who will support each other, as well as bring others into the fold through their positive actions. 

There are several techniques you can you use to ensure that your fanbase stays loyal and that customers who may be ‘just looking’ feel valued and part of your user community. First and foremost, to maintain a community that is willing to advocate for your product, it means that you have to treat your users with the respect they deserve.

Tell stories – Everyone loves a story and more importantly, everyone loves a hero. Does one of your users have a success story? Then write it up and send it out. Did a user figure out a work-around that allowed your product to be used in a different capacity? Treat him as the innovator he is and showcase that story. Stories are used for teaching, but they are also used for sharing and entertaining; make the most of your users’ adventures.

Make every user interaction count – Do users leave comments on your company blog, website, or through social media like Twitter or Facebook? Well, you need to acknowledge that comment or address a concern – the sooner the better.

Respect your product and your customer – Never show any kind of disrespect to your users. Even if a user is angry and says some negative things, take the high road and address the issues professionally. Praise your product at every opportunity, but also admit when you got something wrong.

You made a mistake? Fine, a lesson is learned and everyone moves on. Don’t dwell and don’t get defensive with someone who may be showing his frustration ineloquently.

Give your users a voice and make it easy for them to sing your praises – Social media is where it’s at. Your users should be given a chance to share your company’s information and sing its praises at every opportunity. Every single blog post should have prominent social media share buttons prominently displayed. Ask questions so that dialogs can get started on forums like Facebook, blogs, Twitter, and Google+. When a user has watched a video, consider a pop-up form that prompts him to share it or asks him to like it. Make it as easy as one click to share your company’s message. 

As an example, take a look at Mail Chimp’s blog – http://blog.mailchimp.com/. Every blog post has several share buttons and each post has a devoted group of followers who comment. The bottom line is this: if users know they will be listened to when they make comments about a product, then they are more likely to offer feedback and suggestions and regularly add to conversations.

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