Empowering Your Brand Advocates

Social media has much power.  It has the power to allow brands to communicate with fans, provide customer service and build awareness.  It also has the power to surprise and empower.  That’s where this post starts.

It all started when TELUS posted their 2012 annual report on LinkedIn.  I commented on how I was impressed with their increased use of social media to provide improved customer support.  That’s when Katie from TELUS commented.  I reached out to her on Twitter.  One thing led to another and surprise: I received a red panda critter (shown below).

I was so impressed with the surprise (despite being small in monetary value) that I wanted to do something fun and cool.

My family was getting reading to go on a 3-week southern California road trip and I wanted to involve the red panda, so I created a Twitter account for him.  I originally named the account Telus Red Panda.  Katie approached me with an offer.  They were not comfortable with TELUS being in the name (and rightly so), so she offered to let me run a naming contest and TELUS would provide a brand new HTC One to the winning submission.

I wrote a blog post and Twitter updates to promote the contest, TELUS tweeted a few times as well.

Contest results

The selected name was Rowan (meaning little red one in Gaelic).

In less than a month, Rowan’s Twitter account received 200 followers (now at 248).  But that’s not where the success story ends.

TELUS monitored the conversations for the following terms:

TELUS AND (@MikeMcCready OR @TELUSRedPanda OR @RowanRedPanda OR #redpandaname).

The results were pretty awesome:

  • 523 Twitter mentions
  • Reach of 751K impressions
  • Social media ‘influencers’ with an authority rating >5 (out of 10) made up 36% of discussion.

The moral of the story

Rather than squelching a customer’s excitement about your brand, empower them. Give them to tools and permissions (prizes always help too) to tell your brand’s story.

Through simple actions, you’ll turn brand advocates into brand fanatics.  That’s what TELUS did to me.

What’s next for Rowan?

I think that Rowan can create a niche market as the travel advice-giving red panda.  What do you think? What should Rowan do next?