Loyal fans return again and again to see the people and places they love. This post features the book Fanocracy: Turning Fans into Customers and Customers into Fans by David Meerman Scott and Reiko Scott. The authors argue that business success comes from creating fans of your business. Moreover, creating fans means building personal relationships with your customers.
Build Personal Relationships
"To be successful in a world where fans rule, we must be convinced that relationships with customers are more important than the products or services we sell to them."
The way we do that, is by taking a genuine interest in the things our customers love. Anticipating their needs and wants.
Be Within Close Proximity
Face-to-face interactions (being within close proximity) increases the likelihood of building relationships with others. In fact, according to the authors, participants in book clubs often enjoy one another's company more than the books they discuss.
When someone asks to take a "selfie" with you, this allows you to become closer in proximity.
"Fans share their experiences because they're motivated, inspired, and excited."
Love Your Fans
When you love on your fans, they will love you back. They will become loyal fans.
"When brands design to understand their customer, to solve their problems, to meet their needs, to delight them on every front they can within reason, then the outcome will almost invariably be customer loyalty and advocacy."
According to the authors, people are going to talk about your business no matter what. That is the hyper-connected world we live in. In hospitality, that is why potential guests read reviews from past guests.
Give Unexpected Gifts
"When we give to others rather than take, we develop a fanocracy."
Giving unexpected gifts is just one way to wow your guests. Gifts build fans and result in people sharing on social media and in person to their friends. Those gifts are often so unexpected that we can't help but talk about it with others. You receive high praise from your loyal fans.
Become Part of Their Identity
"When someone takes ownership of a brand they love, it becomes part of their identity."
Brands can be powerful ways of identifying ourselves to others. People care about expressing themselves as individuals. They can take a popular product and somehow make it their own.
When customers have the chance to establish an emotion bond with others as a result of doing business with you, it sticks. They feel compelled to experience it again and tell others about the fantastic experience you gave them.
Reveal Behind The Scenes
Being shown what's behind the scenes makes the experience more memorable. Giving people an opportunity to experience what most people don't see is good business.
"Treating your fans as part of the family leads to your fanocracy."
That is the power of providing guests with memorable experiences that last a lifetime.
"Fanocracy brings like-minded people together to celebrate what they love."
A great way to create love for what you do is to figure out ways to let guests into your world. Allow them to create their own experience or be an important part of what you do.
Successful businesses understand their customers and the problems they face. Moreover, they know how what they offer helps solve their problems.
Share Your Passion
We all have passion inside each of us. What ignites that passion is different for each one of us. Your relationship with your guests starts with your curiosity about them. Listening to their stories can make all the difference. You develop loyal fans.
"Building trust is an essential ingredient in creating a fanocracy."
Tell The Truth To Build Trust
When you engage with fans, you should always tell the truth. They deserve to know what's happening. Be clear and specific. Maintaining transparency is key to building your relationship. They will honor and respect you when you are open about making a mistake.
"Be consistent in your behavior and you can win the trust of your customers."
Continue to engage with followers on social media--especially when things go wrong. According to the authors, when your fans know you are always open and honest, especially when you make a mistake, they honor and respect you for that and are eager to do business with you.
Develop Loyal Fans
Thus, it all starts with developing loyal fans. Think about how you can put yourself in close proximity with others who share your same interests.
"There are infinite ways to weave our own passions into our lives to be more successful and happier in the work we do."
People who find it easy to be inspired are those who go above and beyond to make things happen. Passionate people get excited about the future. Energy that your loyal fans create can be massive and powerful. As a result, people who share their passions with others create richer and more fulfilling lives. "Fandoms" can bring you closers to your customers, your friends, and your family.
Top Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography