12 Most Rockin’ Ways to Think Like a Rock Star
Are you rocking your social media like a rock star? If not, Mack Collier can help!
Not familiar with who Mack Collier is? His bio certainly speaks for itself. He’s a social media strategist, speaker, trainer, founder of #BlogChat, author of Think Like a Rock Star: How to Create Social Media and Marketing Strategies That Turn Customers Into Fans and one of the funniest and most authentic people I’ve had the pleasure to tweet!
I asked Mack to share his thoughts on how you can cultivate a community of raving fans by creating a specific and laser-focused plan.
1. Tell me a little bit about your background and how you got involved in social media?
My background has always been in marketing, and in 2005 I realized that blogging was a skill that I probably needed to learn to help my career advance. At the time I was a couple of years removed from grad school, and job hunting. So I started learning how to blog as a way to improve my chance of getting a job.
I took to blogging immediately, and over the next year or so started getting offers to write online, then do consulting work, then later on speaking, etc. I never did get a job from learning how to blog, but I did get a career.
2. You started blogging in 2005. How has that contributed to your success and where you are today?
One of the things that attracted me to blogging early on was I loved how blogging gave me access to people that before I never could get in touch with. One of my favorite marketing authors in college had been Laura Ries, and now I could go read her blog and leave her comments. And she could answer them (and did!)!
Early on, I realized that blogging was a great networking tool and a channel to “get your name out there.” It continues to be to this day, this is why I am such a proponent of blogging, especially for individuals and small businesses/orgs that are looking to make a name for themselves.
3. What prompted you to write Think Like a Rock Star?
I’ve always been enamored with how easily rock stars can create fans. And when I say “fans,” I mean people that genuinely love their favorite rock stars. It’s exciting to see people be so excited and passionate about their favorite rock stars.
I wanted to write Think Like a Rock Star so brands could create similar relationships with their most passionate customers. I started talking to many big brands (typically global, household names) and they were all telling me the same thing: “We aren’t connecting with our fans, but we’d like to, we just don’t know how.” So I wrote Think Like a Rock Star in great part because I wanted to give brands a specific plan for connecting with their fans. Because I believe that brand marketing can be so much better than it is, and that it would be great if brands would stop trying to acquire customers, and focus on cultivating fans.
4. How can brands begin to identify who their current fans are and then work to gain their attention?
The great thing about fans is that they are working to get the brand’s attention! Fans of brands are just like fans of rock stars, they want a closer relationship with their favorite brand. So if a brand wants to figure out who its fans are, simply start by watching the feedback you are getting.
Look on social media channels like Facebook and Twitter for positive brand mentions, especially. Search blogs to see what bloggers are saying about your brand. Talk to your customer service department and see what type of feedback you are getting from customers. You’re probably getting emails from fans already, and maybe even written letters!
5. What are the 5 keys to connecting with customers and fans?
Tying in with the previous point, first you have to start identifying who your fans are, and luckily they will seek you out in most cases. Next, you want to thank them for being fans of your brand. This is rewarding the type of behavior you want to encourage. You want to cultivate more fans, so by thanking the ones you have, that encourages them and validates their fandom!
Third, you need to stay in touch with your fans. Once you’ve identified who they are, then you need to keep up with them, make some sort of list or database that helps you know who your fans are because you want to continue to have a dialogue with them.
Fourth, always give your fans a way to stay in touch with your brand. Ideally, you’ll give them one person that’s the brand/fan liaison, sort of a community manager role where their job is to make sure the voice of the customer is heard and understood within the brand.
Fifth, act on the feedback you are getting from your fans. Your fans are in direct contact with your customers, so the information they can share with you is vital for understanding your customers. If you can alter your marketing and communications based on feedback from your customers, that makes it more effective and increases customer loyalty.
6. How can brands determine where their fans are spending time online and meet them there?
Much of it depends on who their customers are. Obviously, a B2C brand should pay attention to Facebook and Twitter, but also other sockets like Pinterest and Instagram are worth keeping an eye on. B2Bs might find more of their customers on LinkedIn. And of course, blogs are good ways to connect with fans across the board.
Also, once you begin to understand your fans and what motivates them, you’ll get an idea of what type of content they are looking for online. That gives you insights into where they would go to find that content.
7. How do rock star people and brands embrace their fans?
More important than the “how” is the “why.” Rock stars embrace their fans because they thrive off interacting with their fans. It really is a mindset — rock stars want to be closer to the people supporting them and they honestly appreciate them and want to communicate that appreciation to them.
8. What steps can brands take to turn fans into evangelists and marketing advocates?
The first step is to reach out to them and thank them for being fans. That alone will help validate to the fans “why” they are fans of the brand. Also, brands need to find a way to stay in constant contact with their fans, it really needs to be a relationship — and also give their fans tools to help them better promote the brand to other customers they come in contact with.
9. Taylor Swift is a perfect example of someone who completely understands the needs of her fans and works to meet those daily. What can brands learn from her?
Taylor goes out of her way to create amazing experiences for her fans because she understands that her fans are why she is so successful.
Again, this is different from most brands that place a priority on getting new customers. New customers are fine, but rock stars understand how fans drive new customers, and often more effectively than they can.
10. What are the main ingredients found in a rock star business or brand?
Mainly, I think rock star brands value their customers after they get their money. Too many brands just want to get that first sale, then when they become an “existing” customer, the value the brand places on them falls dramatically. Rock star brands strive to understand their customers and look at the world through their eyes.
Years ago, I heard a great quote from Willie Davidson, grandson of one of the co-founders of Harley-Davidson. The interviewer asked Willie if HD did anything special to try to better understand their customers, who they are and what they want. Willie quipped “Oh sure, we’re in constant contact with our customers. We ride with them all the time!” What Willie’s saying is that Harley-Davidson looks at the world through the eyes of their customers. They understand who they are and more importantly, why they buy their products!
11. What is your advice for brands when dealing with negative comments or feedback?
Chapter 6 in Think Like a Rock Star is completely devoted to helping brands respond to angry customers online and convert ranters into fans! But in short, this is something that so many companies are worried about when it comes to social media. So many companies here the horror stories about a “social media backlash” but they don’t understand that these social media firestorms are always triggered by how the company responds to the “trigger event.”
There’s always a trigger event that starts the negative discussion. For example, when FedEx had a customer video of a delivery guy throwing his computer monitor over his gate a couple of years ago, that set off a social media firestorm against FedEx. But when FedEx answered with its own video a couple of days later explaining exactly what happened and outlining a plan for dealing with the issue, the firestorm was put out.
So the best way to respond to negative comments is to respond. If your brand did something wrong, acknowledge that and then clearly spell out what steps will be taken to correct the issue. The main thing is that the angry customers want to see that you acknowledge the issue, and that you are providing a plan for dealing with it. The biggest way to enflame a situation like this is to ignore it.
12. Think Like a Rock Star is structured to give companies of any size a framework for creating and connecting with their fans. What is your best advice to any business afraid of embracing social media?
Don’t view social media as a detriment to your business, recognize what an enormous opportunity it is! For the first time ever, you have the tools that make it possible for you to have a direct and real-time interaction with your customers, even down to the individual level!
That may be scary for some brands, but if you have a customer-centric mindset, that’s the best thing that could have happened to you! Embrace the opportunities that social media offers your brand and thrive!
Featured image courtesy of Georgie.H licensed via Creative Commons.