Thursday, January 22, 2009
Finding and embracing your online evangelists in 5 minutes
Last week I wrote a post for Daily Fix on how many companies are targeting 'influencers', when they should be reaching out to their online evangelists. Happily, the post generated a vibrant discussion, which is great because I really think that companies are short-selling themselves by not approaching their online evangelists.
The biggest objection I often hear is that companies say it's hard to 'find' their evangelists. If you're a small business, you may indeed have problems finding more than a few/any online evangelists for your company. But if you are a large corporation, especially in the B2C space, you likely have many online evangelists that are creating content around and about your brand. But the hitch is, you have to LOOK for them.
Simple search tools like Google, Google Blog Search and Twitter Search can give you incredibly precise results, if you are willing to invest a little time and dig through the haystack.
Let's start out by seeing if we can find any online evangelists for Tropicana Orange Juice. First, let's search for the product, and we get 159,000 Google results. That's way too many, so let's add "i love" to the search, and now we are down to 11,000 or so results. Notice if you search for the exact term "i love tropicana orange juice", you're down to less than 200 results.
Let's do the same with Google Blog Search. The first search for Tropicana Orange Juice yields around 8,000 results. If we add "i love" to the term, we get around 1,100 results. Searching for the exact term "i love tropicana orange juice" gets us down to 10 blog results.
Finally, let's do the same with Twitter Search. Twitter search doesn't tell us the number of results for a search query, but there's plenty of people talking about the juice.
These searches took 5 mins. If I worked for Tropicana, I would subscribe to all of these searches, so that I had new results sent to me every day(Google Alerts is your friend), and I would drill down into the results I did find. And spend some time with more specific search terms.
When you find a blogger that's writing about how much they love Tropicana, email them and thank them. And think about the context of the endorsement. For example, if you find a marketing blogger that's professing their love of your product on their blog, thank them, and offer to put them in touch with someone from Tropicana to discuss how your company is marketing itself. I noticed in just glancing over the results from the above searches that there was plenty of talk about an apparent redesign of the package? The idea is, you WANT your fans talking about your product. Give them the incentive and tools to do just that.
The bottom line is your evangelists are out there, but you have to LOOK for them. You might not find 100, but you don't have to. If you only find 5 people that are excited about your brand, embrace them. Because the great thing about evangelists is....they evangelize. They actively promote your company to others, and WANT to do so. If you reach out to them, it only pours fuel on the fire, and gives them an even greater incentive to sing your praises.
Isn't it worth your time to spend a few minutes a day on your company's biggest fans?
Bonus Link: How to Launch a Successful Blogger-Outreach Program in One Day.