Recently I referred to myself as a ‘recognized enthusiastic user’, when asked about my involvement with a certain online platform. And from a user, or customer, perspective, I think that’s an accurate description. The platform in question (OpenIDEO, an open innovation community for social good) is something I care deeply about, am an enthusiastic user of and therefore talk about it often in a positive way on several social media channels, all the while trying to convince my friends and followers to participate as well. So enthusiastic user seems accurate. Regularly I get mentioned on the social media channels OpenIDEO uses, and once I even was invited to join a workshop. That’s what I mean when I say recognized.
And it’s not only on OpenIDEO where I see myself as a recognized enthusiastic user, it’s also in the Quality Hunters community initiated last year by Finnair and Helsinki Airport. Again, it was my enthusiastic use that led to me being regularly mentioned and awarded a perk. A big one, in that case, as I traveled to Stuttgart and Hong Kong on their invitation, to blog about ideas for service improvement.
But it doesn’t need to be a matter of perks like that. Because of where I live, I often fly airBaltic, if I fly. If I have a question for them, I often ask it through Twitter, and get a quick reply, or direct assistance. To me, as a regular user of airBaltic services, this is also a form of recognition. Good service, and publicly answering questions and bringing solutions also make me feel like a ‘recognized enthusiastic user’ of a product or service.
Now, how can you turn this into valuable knowledge for your brand or organisation? Well, it’s rather simple. If you want to turn me into a brand advocate, make me a recognized enthusiastic user. Don’t put me in a call-center holding pattern with music of your choice that, even if it by chance is not horrible music, sounds horrible through the phone. Answer my questions on social media channels, and make it easy for me to share. Recognize me as a user.
Of course this starts with having a good product and great service. And if you throw me an occasional bone, or make me a key figure in a user forum, you have turned an user of your product into a brand advocate.