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The Hidden Power of Your Customers: Four Keys to Growing Your Business Through Existing Customers by Becky Carroll

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HELP CUSTOMERS PLAY A ROLE

How can companies get their customers more deeply engaged and involved with them? Social media has made it easier for user-generated content to appear as part of a brand's marketing, usually thanks to consumers. Consumers who are truly loyal fans of that brand typically will be very excited to see their submission used by their favorite company; however, anyone can participate with companies in this fashion, whether or not they are loyal customers. There are countless examples of how companies use these tactics to generate marketing buzz and excitement as part of a social media contest or campaign. However, when the campaign ends, the buzz usually dies down, and the brand finds out that the new social media “fans” attracted solely for the campaign look for other contests to enter.

Customers Contribute

However, some companies have been engaging with their loyal fans for years. Jones Soda, for example, uses photos submitted by its customers (via the Jones Soda Web site) on its bottle labels. Customers’ photos are first “hung” in the Jones Soda gallery online, and a lucky few have theirs chosen to appear on a bottle. No fame and fortune is attached to this activity, but Jones Soda fans love to contribute to the company community in this fashion.

How can a brand connect with its loyal customers on a more local basis? Here's one way: I spotted a sign in front of the espresso machine at my local Starbucks, which usually has information posted about an upcoming ...

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