Letting your fans serve as your evangelists always carries more weight than bragging on yourself. So how do you find those people?
At SOBCon09, Geoff Livingston was asked this question. “How do you identify the people who are going to be your fans and evangelists?” His answer: They self-identify. They’ll tell you.
I want to take it a step further. You make is possible for them to self identify. You give them tools and ways to identify themselves as your fans. I shared that comment with my table at SOBCon, and Neenz replied, “Like the frozen peas.” Frozen peas became an identifier of Susan Reynolds‘ supporters in her fight against breast cancer. She used frozen peas as an ice pack after surgery, snapped a photo for her Twitter avatar, and kicked off a movement. Many of us put frozen peas into our avatars in support. It became the symbol for her fight and her later fundraising. We self-identified. A more recent Twitter movement is green avatars supporting free Iran.
It’s easy to find your online supporters when you give them the tools to identify themselves. What kind of tools can these be?
- Avatar symbols for Twitter
- Badges for their websites and social network profiles
- Mailing lists for them to join
- Fan pages and groups at social networks for them to join
- Stickers, tshirts, and other tangible items for them to wear and share
What are your ideas? How do you find your fans and evangelists?
The next topic should be how to help your evangelists to sing your praises. What do you think?
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Rick Wolff says
Even if the cause is cancer, and even if the evangelist comes to me first, I can’t look someone in the eye (literally or not) and say, “I’m too modest to be bragging on myself, and my advisors warn against it in the blogosphere as being ‘inauthentic’ and damaging to the brand, so instead, here, you take these tools and do my bragging for me, for no compensation, out of the goodness of your heart.” Not gonna do it. Sorry. There’s too damn much of that in the world as it is.
Becky McCray says
Rick, that’s not what I mean at all.
Here’s what I mean:
Right now, other people think you are wonderful. It’s good for you, your business, and them, to give them tools to talk about you, too.
Carl Natale says
In the old days, we passed out SWAG (key chains, pens, caps, T-shirts even). This really isn’t too different.
Twitter can help. Encourage retweets & #hashtags. It’s an easy way to declare fandom that other people will see.
Daria Steigman says
Great post, and I agree completely. I’d like to add one more element to the mix. It’s implicit in your post, but should be explicit: conversation. While all the tools are great, the most important element is to create the personal connections that help to create your community of evangelists. For small business owners, that starts with being personal and having personality. The avatars, fan pages, and the like can then follow.
Becky McCray says
Daria, thank you for making that clear. I think it allays some of Rick’s concern, as well, about how we relate with people.