Love is in the air. It's the perfect time to embrace your social media fans. Of course, the nature of healthy relationships starts with basic appreciation for one another, and then evolves into the "I love you" phase. This time of year, let's show some love for our brand champions and evangelists. Here's how:
1. Embrace them.
Handing over the social media reins can be intimidating for marketers, but a great way to show your love and appreciation to fans is by offering them the opportunity to represent your brand for a day. Kraft had great success joining forces with 75-year-old loyal fans, Frankie and Dottie, to help tell the brand story.
2. Tell them you love them.
It's so simple, but so powerful when done well. Get creative. Have your CEO craft a handwritten note showcasing the company's gratitude to your social media following that you can post/tweet/pin on your various channels.
3. Shower them with 'roses.'
Eighty percent of social media users engage with brands to get coupons, promotions, and discounts. Offer a blanketed "fan-only" discount or freebie for a limited time to create a sense of urgency and potential viral offer.
4. Ask for their opinions—and listen.
People like to feel valued, especially by brands they love. Ask for their take on a new product or their opinion on potential new product ideas your marketing team is considering. Be sure to listen to their feedback and incorporate it into your strategy. If a certain person or people gave exceptional insight, acknowledge them on your social channels to show your appreciation.
5. Engage in PDAs.
Whether you highlight a "fan of the week" on your Facebook cover image, loop top tweeters into a coveted #FF tweet, or repin content from a top contributor, your publicly acknowledging them on your channels is nice for fans. Oreo does an especially great job on Facebook by showcasing a fan birthday of the day as part of the brand's cover image.
What are some examples of how brands are saying, "We love you," to their social media community members? Let me know in the comments section below.
Carrie Peterson is the social media director at Internet Marketing in San Diego. Follow her on Twitter at @CarrieSavvy.