We spend so much time concentrating on what a negative customer can do on social media that we forget the amazing power of positive fans. Rob Fugetta’s recent book Brand Advocates is loaded with page after page of data on how brand fans can propel a business unlike any other form of marketing. Social media word-of-mouth is rocket fuel for brands.

Recently, a couple friends shared their own personal versions of Brand Advocates and I’d like to pass on the stories.

Dave Parsons’ social media love affair with Outback Steakhouses started in 2010 when he tweeted a picture of a meal he enjoyed at an Outback and credited it for a great five-mile run time he had. The responsive company started to exchange tweets with Dave and soon a raving fan was born. Dave received 40 presents to give away on his 40th birthday. You have to read the story—it’s a great example of how a responsive company rewarded someone who had already declared their allegiance. Recently Dave was able to connect with a pop icon from his teenage days (Debbie Gibson) and deliver the final gift. This story is so extraordinary because Outback valued Dave and wanted to enrich his life experience, not just his Outback customer experience. Outback understands the concept of adding value to create advocates.

The second story involves a customer complaint with a twist. A buddy of mine has a friend that decided to register a complaint on the Teva Sandals Facebook page. But instead of claiming the sandals she bought were not good, she was complaining that they wouldn’t wear out—something that prohibited her from buying a new, more stylish pair. Teva responded with an apology that her sandals were holding up so well. Read the story of how this responsive company decided to respond to the creative customer complaint.

 

Responsive brands understand that the power of a positive fan is important. Customer service isn’t just about addressing complaints, it’s about adding value. Do you know who your positive influencers are? What are you doing to show them value?