March Madness Reminds Us of the 'Fan Factor'
If you watched the NCAA finals last Monday night, you probably witnessed the expressions of fans from both teams. The looks of anxiety, the cheers after a big play and the tears – at least for the Butler fans – all told the story of just how vested these fans were in the championship quest. Without them, the game, the team and most likely the TV ratings would have suffered.
So what lessons can we learn about the sporting world’s relationship with its fan-base?
For business, it seems now is the time to build and cultivate fans to help fuel growth. With online tools readily available and marketing dollars running short, the opportunity to give customers a platform to sing your small business song is easier and more critical than ever. So pardon my basketball analogies for a moment, while we look at how to rouse your customers into rabid fans:
- Build Your Gameplan: There’s nothing worse than running on to the court not understanding your strategy or worse, not matching up smartly against your competition. Get your clipboard out and determine your social marketing objectives before tip-off. (What key points do you want to make? What groups are you targeting and where are they?)
- Listen to the Crowd: Get more comfortable with the noise levels where you’ll be playing. Oftentimes, teams get overwhelmed and lose focus when playing in front of a larger audience. Know what section your fans are in and set up camp on the social sites they frequent. (Determine if your customers and prospects are on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc before setting up shop.)
- Check Your Uniforms: Don’t jog out to center court with your shirts un-tucked and your socks pulled up to your knees. Be sure your logo and website look professional, that your employees support your brand and that your signage isn’t outdated. (Imagine your fans wearing your logo or better yet, painting their faces with your brand colors!)
- Establish Home Court Advantage: Make sure you take advantage of playing at home. Energize the locals by establishing a solid presence on review sites such as Yelp, CitySearch and others. (Give your fans access to the bullhorn. Don’t worry about the ones that boo, as the majority will cheer for you).
- Start with a Smart Play: Once you’re in the game, be sure to design a couple of sure-fire plays inside the paint vs. shooting from the hip. Building your fan-base requires some credibility first. (Think about sharing your expertise with how-to articles, videos, a blog, and populate with snippets of advice.)
- Engage Your Fans: Now that you’ve established some tempo, don’t be afraid to raise your arms to the crowd to get a reaction. They’re cheering you on, so be sure to acknowledge them and incite them even more after you make a solid play. (Ask your fans for testimonials, reviews and other feedback to strengthen your business and your team).
- Remember Your Statistician: Most great teams know the value of keeping stats beyond just the scoreboard. Make sure you identify and track important numbers related to your social marketing efforts to see where you’re scoring and where you might be fouling out. (Check out Google Analytics to get started).
In the end, it’s the fans that often ‘get you to the dance’, so be sure you’re playing in front of yours.This entry was posted in Branding, Search Marketing, Social Media and tagged Customer Retention, Logo Design. Bookmark the permalink.