This is part 5 in a series about building brand ambassadors at the dealership. I'll be adding more parts later, but here is the series so far:
You've gone through all the steps. You knew that we were going to be talking about brand ambassadors. You learned why they're important. We showed you how to identify them, then we discussed how to approach them. Now, it's time to wrap it up with the hardest part of them all. We're going to talk about how to sustain them as true brand ambassadors.
There's a difference between a person who leaves a nice comment on Facebook and someone who actually tells people they know about you. It's important to get that person to tell about their experience at your store on Facebook. It's amazing to make sure that that person is proactive in the future. If they were happy buying a car at your dealership today, we want them mentioning you when they see their friend three months from now saying on Facebook that they need a new car. That's the type of brand ambassadors that we want talking about us on social media.
It isn't easy. It requires a subtle approach, a light touch, but a persistent one. Here are three things you can do to take that happy customer who posted about you on Facebook to the next level.
Show Your Appreciation
No, I don't mean going on their Facebook post about you and saying "thanks!" You have to show true appreciation for their effort. You have to stand out above and beyond anything any other company has ever done for them.
There's a fine line between being appreciative and being an annoying stalker. This is why it's important to interact with a purpose. It should never be random. Show your appreciation at times when they least expect it, when you're not at the top of their mind, and in ways that require real effort and/or money.
One way to show appreciation is with a quick gift card sent on a handwritten envelope with a handwritten note inside.
"Hi Bob. I just wanted to check in on you to make sure you're enjoying your car and that you're still getting compliments from your friends. We appreciate that you posted on Facebook last month when you purchased it and we wanted to send you this $10 Starbucks gift card as a small token of our appreciation."
This can get them to post again about the gesture, but more importantly it reminds them of the over-the-top experience they received at the store. When their friends and family are looking, you want them to mention your store by name.
Let Them Know it Worked
Here's the thing, and it's arguably the hardest truth to convince businesses of until they see it for themselves. If an average Facebook user promotes your product, their message was seen and heeded by their friends and family. There is a good chance every single time you're mentioned on Facebook as giving someone an exceptional experience that someone amongst their friends and family will see this and act upon it.
When someone comes in and say, "I heard my cousin Bob that you guys took great care of him," you have to let Bob know. If you have a referral program, this is a no-brainer. If you don't have a referral program, refer back up to showing appreciation and reword the note that you send with the gift card.
Don't forget, it's not just about your business. People like helping their friends and family. Bob didn't just help you to make another sale. He helped his cousin Sally have the same great experience he had. Sally may or may not let him know, but either way you definitely want to let him know. Validate that he's an influencer and that he's important to his friends, family, and your business.
This is optional and requires some work, but it's very useful when done right. On your website or through social media, take your brand ambassadors who have posted about you on Facebook and highlight their posts. This is best done in a group setting - individual highlights can be a bit creepy.
At whatever frequency is appropriate, post screenshots of all of your positive mentions. Make certain that there is text with the person's name if their name and posts are public on Facebook. If they aren't public, you don't want to mention their name.
Again, this is optional. In a way, it's a bit risky, but it's also a way to let people know on your website and Facebook page that you have a strong commitment to customer service.
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It's not what you say about yourself on social media that matters. It's what others are saying about you. This is where the value is. This is how to move the needle.