7 ways to transform your audience into brand evangelists

When you hear the word evangelism, religious connotations might spring to mind, but in modern times, it can extend to other areas. Today evangelism may denote a vehement and vocal fan of something, whether it’s a popular sneaker brand or their favorite TV show.

Businesses can also have evangelists, and they take the form of extremely loyal customers. These people typically buy specific products from one brand and never venture to their competitors. They use their satisfaction with a particular business as a means to convert others into becoming loyal fans as well.

Brand evangelists are also excellent sources of marketing. Seventy-one percent of consumers say social media posts by friends or people that they know influence their purchasing decisions, according to research conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of Sprout Social. People prefer to rely on recommendations from people in their circles, or who they feel might be unbiased and trustworthy.

Additionally, Upland Software found that “each evangelist, on average, produces about three new customers. So, if you’re able to build up a following of 100 brand evangelists, you could easily be looking at 300 new customers.”

Beyond being loyal customers, evangelists are early adopters of your products and services and are happy to provide feedback. They’ll look for ways to promote your brand online, becoming an unofficial member of your sales force by way of review sites, social media posts, blog comments and word of mouth. Given the benefits that brand evangelism can bring to companies, working to inspire this loyalty is important for businesses to consider.

So how do you transform your customers into evangelists for your brand? It starts with your business being authentic and truly caring about its audience. The more you make your customers the hero in your story and look for opportunities to highlight and reward them, the stronger the connection and growth of your network. When your customers succeed, you succeed.

There are a variety of methods you can employ to delight your customers and turn them into evangelists. The following list outlines a few of these options, but if you want to develop a full digital strategy, HubSpot’s new Digital Marketing Certification Course may be the answer for you.

1. Become a social media detective

Start by asking probing questions that help you learn more about your audience and keep the conversation going. Here’s an example of this in action:

HubSpot Twitter thread about whether companies use TikTokfor recruiting

As you can see, the post has some decent engagement and a number of retweets. There are also about 25–30 replies, but the HubSpot social team doesn’t just leave it there, they ask another question to find out more about her preferences.

These types of questions engage more than one person, and even though HubSpot only responded to Nthabiseng here, all the people that saw the Tweet feel an affinity because HubSpot is part of the conversation.

Keep in mind, however, that social media can be like the wild west. People are accustomed to sharing candid feedback, honest opinions, and unfiltered ideas, with varying levels of emotions. Be there to respond with an open heart and mind. Take the time to listen to them and respond accordingly. Your goal is to create meaningful conversations.

When you ask these types of questions, keep track of which receive the most engagement, and how people respond to different types of messaging. Think of each of your social channels as a party that you’re hosting. Your goal is to provide attention to each person to make sure they’re enjoying their experience. It can take time in the beginning, but making an effort to create an engagement strategy for specific conversations will help you build brand loyalty and start the wheels turning on the road to building brand evangelists.

2. Create a personality for your brand and stick to it

A view of The Motley Fool's Twitter feed from May 2021

On the flip side, eSports energy drink brand, GFuel, understands its mostly young, male audience perfectly, serving up irreverence and fun at the same time.

For a deep dive in understanding voice and tone, check out the video at this link. This takes us to the next tip:

3. Align with customer interests

Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the values and beliefs of businesses when making purchasing decisions. In fact, 71% prefer to buy from companies that are aligned with their values. These days, brands that don’t actively tackle social issues in their brand marketing run the risk of facing public backlash, or at a minimum appearing out of touch.

It also means you need to understand your customers, and understand the risks and advantages of deciding to take a stance. And when you do, they need to align to your company’s values.

Digital creative software company, Canva, regularly tackles social issues in their posts, such as in this one about sustainable printing.

We can all play a part in creating a greener future for all. This #EarthDay, we’d like to present our sustainable…

Posted by Canva on Wednesday, April 21, 2021

They understand who their audience is–digital creators. And when announcing a print solution, they knew they couldn’t ignore the environmental impact. So they created a campaign that highlights what they are doing to make their print solution sustainable, in part by planting trees.

Not sure how to manage this aspect of social media? Sprout Social surveyed 1,000 US consumers to gauge their expectations of brands’ commitments to social justice and social media activism.

4. Be authentic

Chobani’s motto is to bring better food to more people, which they literally tell you in this TikTok video, which shows you exactly how they do that. It’s interesting, it’s fun, playful, and you get to see real people who work for the company doing their job.


How does delicious #Chobani yogurt — and more — get to the shelf? Spend a #dayinthelife with a Chobani Retail Execution Manager to find out. #bts #fyp

? original sound — Chobani

5. Be responsive

Target's response to a customer Tweet on May 24, 2021

This type of engagement takes commitment, but the rewards of loyalty and brand love are worth the results. Eighty percent of consumers expect brands and companies that have a social media presence to interact with their customers in meaningful ways, a truth that Target appreciates.

6. Curate and post follower content

It’s possible customers already post stories with images or video highlighting your products or services. If they don’t, experiment with sweepstakes and giveaways to reward people for their content. However, when offering an incentive, try and connect it to your brand. Giving away an iPad might get you content, but giving away a product or service will also help you identify brand evangelist transformations in progress.

7. Create a brand loyalty program

The great thing about this is that you don’t have to start in social media, but can develop programs that give your audience a way to use their channels to tell others. A great example of this can be found in the Morning Brew, Marketing Brew, and Sidekick newsletters (and why yes, those are referral links). Their program rewards subscribers with swag and special events for sharing their (highly recommended) newsletters.

Call to action prompting readers to refer others to subscribe to the Sidekick newsletter

With the right incentives, customers are more likely to return and continue to purchase products to reach different loyalty tiers. Those who continue to buy, share and earn rewards are most likely to become brand evangelists.

Direct engagement is the key to developing brand evangelists

It’s worth taking the time to learn more about your customers and to develop an experience that meets their needs, celebrates them and rewards their engagement, because that’s how you build brand evangelists.

Learn more about developing a comprehensive social business strategy by downloading this free checklist.

The post 7 ways to transform your audience into brand evangelists appeared first on Sprout Social.

Tags: Social Media Content, Awareness Stage, beginner, Social Media Engagement



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