Gratitude is the attitude all of 2021 and beyond. While expressing your thanks to your fans and followers during the holidays is great, they work hard all year advocating for your brand so why not express your thanks all year long? In 2021 we’re not shying away from being vocal about who and what we’re thankful for. We’ve updated this blog post for 2021. New sections in bold.
It’s the time of the year where we take a collective break from our overstuffed plates (and calendars) and express our gratitude towards those that have helped us reach our annual goals. And if you’re one of the hundreds of brands that have launched an advocacy marketing program in 2017, now’s the perfect time to express your heartfelt thanks to your brand advocates. After all, you’re leaning on your advocates to help share your marketing messages with their friends and family. A little thank you to show fan appreciation is just good manners.
What’s So Great About Gratitude?
Expressing gratitude is a vital – and often overlooked – part of nurturing a relationship with your brand advocates. In fact, according to SCORE, 70% of all buying decisions are based on how customers feel they are being treated. If you want your advocates to share their love more often all through 2021 and beyond, be sure to show your appreciation for their hard work now!
Fan Appreciation: 8 Ways To Show Your Advocates Gratitude
1) Start By Simply Saying It
The easiest way to thank your advocates is to simply say it! Whether in a social media post, an email, or through a handwritten note, a written message is an easy way to express your gratitude to your brand advocates.
Be sure the thank you is specific about what you’re actually thankful for. Name specific milestones your advocates have helped you to hit like:
- Audience growth numbers
- Specific engagements
The key is to let your advocates know that their actions have been noticed and appreciated by the brand.
One brand that does a great job of this is Tito’s Vodka. Tito’s Tasters consist of a large group of Tito vodka lovers who gain first access to brand news, highlights, and in return receive handwritten thank you notes and small branded gifts.
2) Send Your Advocates Some Savings
Along with your note of thanks, consider extending a special discount or sales offer just for advocates. After all, your advocates are helping you save money. Money that would otherwise be spent on promoting and boosting posts.
In fact, word of mouth marketing makes up about $6 trillion of annual consumer spending. Show your appreciation by extending an offer for free shipping or early-bird pricing, or a flat discount code. It’ll make them feel like VIP’s and it will cost you next to nothing!
3) Opt for A Gift from The Swag Bag
Depending on the number of advocates in your program, your brand might want to choose to take the advocacy relationship to the next level by sending your top advocates some branded “swag.” While T-shirts, koozies, and sunglasses might not seem like a large offering, the simple gesture of the gift can go a long way towards building a strong relationship.
4) Pass Along a Free Upgrade
This works especially well for all of you SaaS and loyalty brands (i.e. hotels, car rental, airline). Considering showing your thanks to your advocates by bumping them up a level (or two) on your service plan or loyalty program. This doesn’t have to be a permanent fixture, just a month or two at the next level. As a bonus to your bottom line, you might be surprised to see how many advocates pay to stick around at the higher level once they experience that next tier.
5) Make Them Laugh
As corny as it sounds, sometimes the best gift is the gift of laughter! The holidays can be a stressful time for everyone. Impending deadlines, visiting family, and the need to find the perfect “Ugly Christmas Sweater” can bring down even the happiest advocate. A bit of levity and laughter is the perfect break from the storm your advocates need. Don’t feel like you need to write the next hit SNL skit; simply send out a funny video or an email that brings a bit of joy to your advocates.
6) Drop Some Knowledge on Them
As we’ve discussed before, many ambassadors are motivated to join brand advocacy programs by the desire to be among the first to know brand-related news and insights. Helping to increase your advocate’s social clout by feeding into their motivation can be a powerful gift and a perfect way of saying thank you.
7) Hold an Exclusive Event
Whether virtually, or in-person, say thank you by giving your advocates a taste of the VIP life! Host an event dedicated solely to your top advocates. You could hold a simple question and answer session, bring on a fun guest star, or even a musical act (brand appropriate, obviously). The important part is to let them know that they are invited to this event because of their commitment to advocating your brand. Just be sure to save a seat for us!
8) Give to Charity
A heartwarming way to connect with your advocates. Give a charitable gift on their behalf. Our best practices:
- Choose a charity that syncs up with your brand and target demographic
- Select a non-controversial charitable organization
- Tie your gift (in some way) to the actions of your advocates (i.e. if advocates generate 100,000 engagements, donate $1,000 dollars to charity
Whatever you choose, just remember to make sure the offer comes across authentic and genuine. Celebrate your advocates and let them know how much you value having them as part of your team.
9) Give Them 15 Minutes of Fame
Why do you love your advocates so much? Because they’re constantly sharing, speaking, snapping, and posting about your brand, product or service. In return, you share their name, photo, and username on your platforms. Why does this work as a way to say thank you? For one, it makes advocates feel super special. Is there anything more brag-worthy than a brand sharing your post? Second, it’s another opportunity for them to post about you in a way that shows their friends and followers that the relationship you two share is actually legit. Finally, user-generated content sees a 28% increase in engagement compared to brand created posts. Something as simple as a repost on to your social channels can have an incredibly positive impact on your relationship with your advocates and content strategy.