Booze And Brand Advocacy: A Social Media Story

Let me tell you a story. A real story. About how social media works. And how little it takes to make a massive impression on someone.

The general chatter in the digital space these days seems focussed on influencers and brand advocates. People argue incessantly about the merits (or none) of influence measurement platforms like Klout and Kred.

Brands And Bribery

And one of the biggest concerns from brands seems to be this: “How can I get my extremely engaged and supportive community members to actually be brand ambassadors?”

The crux of this question seems to be remuneration. How do we (Brand X) motivate and inspire our top community members towards active advocacy, without muddying the ethical waters with payouts or bribery?

Fierce Loyalty

If you want to learn more about creating a loyal community, head on over to Spin Sucks and check out the Livefyre chat with Sarah Robinson. The author of “Fierce Loyalty: Unlocking the DNA of Wildly Successful Communities“, she has loads of great insight into growing your online community, and engaging and exciting the one you already have.

But I digress. Back to my story.

Because my story will illustrate just how powerful real, personalized one to one contact is. How important that contact is to the person on the receiving end. And just how (relatively) easy it is to create a passionate and loyal brand advocate.

Free Drinks!

Meet Sheri A. Bell. Sheri, besides having a most elegant surname, is a member of my community. I can’t remember how I met her – she’s an amazing writer and editor, is lovely and wonderful, and we hit it off (probably making jokes about our shared last name – no relation BTW).

One Wednesday, one really really bad Wednesday, I was having a beer at my local, and she and I were chatting on Twitter. I must have mentioned something about my residual guilt issues around drinking (in general) and drinking (specifically) on a weeknight.

So, she sent me a “virtual” Free Drink ticket! Her message went something like this “Look, you’ve had a hard day, enough with the guilts, here’s a free drink ticket, enjoy it and relax!!”

Well, if that wasn’t fantabulous enough, right!? Guilt free beer!!

Surprise And Delight

But no. Sheri, God love her, has sent me a Free Drink ticket tweet *every single Wednesday* since then. I’m talking for over three months! In some I’m directed to “have something fruity!” In others “have a shot – straight up!” And my drink ticket after I announced my new job at Arment Dietrich….? Well, a case of champagne, of course!

These simple tweets never fail to surprise and delight me. They make me laugh, feel special, and remind me that someone out there learned something about me, remembered it, and has made an effort to brighten my day on a weekly basis.

I’ll tell you one thing. I hope she never stops (though I’m giving you an out, Sheri. But only if you send me the entire virtual ROLL of tickets! LOL).

I’ll tell you another thing. If Sheri A. Bell were a brand….? I would be the loudest, proudest and most fiercely loyal of ANY of her brand ambassadors.

Getting the picture now, brands? It’s that easy. Reach out to your community. Twig on something personal or unique about a couple of your top dogs. Then do something to surprise and delight them.

And yes, it can be as simple as a weekly tweet.

Do you know Sheri? What wonderful things has a brand (or a person!) done to surprise and delight you? Please share your thoughts and comments!



24 thoughts on “Booze And Brand Advocacy: A Social Media Story

  1. What a wonderful story. You’re a lucky girl.

    I think it’s important to remind influencers to give feedback to the brands too. Anytime a company does a nice thing for me, I send a note to their boss or I’ll ask for the manager at the store and say, “I came here to shop today because the person running your Twitter account is amazing.” I know it’s hard to sell that on the inside, so I try to act as living proof of it on the outside.

    •  @JenKaneCo I know, right?? She’s amazing. I’m very lucky. And I wanted Sheri to know how much it means to me. You’ve made an excellent point here Jennifer, I always try and give kudos to the higher ups whenever I see great online interaction/attention to detail – it really is a powerful motivator, and I’m way more likely to shop or eat at a place if their social team has made a personal connection with me. I’m glad to hear you reach out in the way you do. Thanks so much for being here! :) 

  2. Tell the truth; the guilts was because it was 2:30 in the afternoon…………..but that’s ok…………………
    Hey, I work for food and drink; I am very easily bribable and still sleep well at night. 
    Everybody wants ‘wow,’ but sometimes it’s the smallest things that have the biggest impact.

    •  @bdorman264 *hangs head in shame* 😉 I agree – sometimes it’s the simplest things, the smallest of gestures, as long as it’s personal, and human! And of course, it’s the *brands* that worry about bribing, not the bribe’ees! Who wants to sponsor my site! LOL 

  3.  Lindsay Bell-Wheeler I enjoyed reading this and am ever-so-glad you shared because the noise and distractions can, as you know, be overwhelming and make it easy to miss the good stuff some days. Couldn’t agree with you more about the importance and power of one-to-one contact. 
    Well done, you!

  4. Hi Lindsay, 
    Great post. I really appreciate the value of human interaction and the small things certainly go a long way. As I continue to learn about the online space, I’m really seeing how this spider web of connections really works. Thanks for sharing and congrats! Guilt free beer is awesome :)

    •  @GeoffReiner Hey Geoff! Thanks for popping by, and yes, these connections can end up being very powerful. Like ‘the force’ almost! :) Guilt free beer is the absolute best. Cheers! 

  5. This is an awesome story. I am always amazed at the thoughtfulness of people, which instantly makes me realize how un-thoughtful I can be, but I digress. This kind of thinking would be huge for brands but is has a lot implications internally. They have to be culturally set up to do this and create systems that automate or allow for that to happen – ticklers, reminders – it’s all about using those automated tools really really well – and it means a human still needs to operating them. Because the tools are only as effective as the data being input. 
    Sign me up for a guilt-free wine. Is it time yet?

    •  @Lisa Gerber Thanks Lisa – and while I agree with you that it takes some effort for a larger company to execute –  it’s not impossible. And the impact is extremely powerful. 
      It’s always drink O’clock at my house Lisa! LOL Though you *are* a few hours behind me! Might be too early where you are even for me! 😀 
      ps. I’m fairly un-thoughtful also. 😉

      •  @belllindsay RIght? Not un-thoughtful in a mean way, just no thoughtful in a proactive kind of way. When cristerdelacruz first started at Arment Dietrich we were talking about how much I love France. A couple months later, David Lebovitz who wrote The Sweet Life iN Paris was doing a book signing in Chicago but I wasn’t in town at the time. She surprised me at work with my own signed copy. 
        I kind of got off-topic but even I have to have a system to remember to be thoughtful so brands need to as well. There – I totally tied that back in. 

  6. This is AWESOME!! I think people forget it’s those little things that make all the difference in the world. It probably takes her less than three seconds to do that, but it makes you feel like she really cares about you (as she should!). But, um, I think you should have to share that case of champagne. Even if it was just in a tweet.

    •  @ginidietrich I know, right? It’s so great! I love them, and it never fails each week I am stressed or wrapped up in stuff and forget – and each week I am surprised and delighted once again!! :)  As for the champagne, I will get out my picture of us from the post SocialMix pub night, and I will have a virtual toast in your honour!! LOL 

  7. You crack me up, Lindsay! Thanks for the shout out. Though we’ve never met in person, I think it would be fun to chat you up over a drink — thus the idea for the drink coupons. HA! Glad you enjoy them. Go easy on that case of champagne. I  *hear* the bubbles are addicting.  ;-D

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