As PR pros, we can often get caught up in focusing on the ROI of social media campaigns, or the number of website clicks or open rates on emails to make sure we’re increasing our clients’ market share. In a recent article in Tactics, Stephen Dupont says what we really need to do is build fan bases for the brands we represent, since it is people who connect with, buy and experience a brand’s products, then share their experiences with others.

According to Dupont, brands of all sizes have ‘super fans’. Wired magazine co-founder Kevin Kelly defines a super fan as “someone who buys everything a brand produces.” Dupont takes this definition further saying these fans are usually the first ones to like a brand’s Facebook page, write positive reviews on sites like Amazon and recommend a brand to their friends or co-workers. So, how do we connect with and nurture this audience? Dupont offers nine suggestions to help build a strong super fan base:

  1. Interview super fans face to face: If your brand wants to connect with super fans, then you must leave your office and go talk with them in their environment to understand the context of how they became fans.
  2. Ask this one question: Identify 20 stakeholders and ask them this question: “What’s your greatest challenge?”
  3. Be crystal clear about what your brand stands for: Boil your brand message into a billboard with no more than eight words and an image, and share it profusely with your super fans through emails, social media and newsletters.
  4. Make your brand likable: Take a close look at your marketing communications. Do they convey a brand that’s approachable, caring and aspirational? Are your Facebook posts and the content on your website inviting and relevant?
  5. Collaborate with fans in building the brand narrative: Create events or social media opportunities for fans to share in the brand narrative.
  6. Plan your content: Think like a magazine publisher and plan content well in advance.
  7. Create sharable content: People share content with others because it reflects their identity.
  8. Follow the No. 1 rule of small-town newspapers: Go out of your way to promote your customers and the success they’re enjoying by using your product or service.
  9. Be unexpected: Where are the unexpected places, events or moments where you can reach your core fans? Find out, and show up.

Taking a more human-centered approach to communications strategies can help build a dedicated community of fans who are truly loyal to the brand. Do you have an idea to connect with your or your clients’ most loyal fans? Tweet us @newsgeneration and share.

Stay tuned…