By: Daniel Sweeney On: September 26, 2012 In: Advertising & Marketing Comments: 0

Turning general consumers into customers is one thing, but turning those customers into brand fans is something else entirely.

While a brand ambassador is often a paid endorser of a brand, a brand fan or advocate is best defined as the following:

A brand advocate isn’t just a satisfied customer, it’s a satisfied customer who is talking about your products or services, or your business itself, in such a way that prospective customers turn into actual customers as a result of buzz and word of mouth marketing.365 Days of Marketing

Ideally, you’d like the aforementioned customer to willingly shill for your business because of a pleasant, satisfactory experience – but there are other ways to utilize and optimize your relationship with the customer, blurring the lines between brand advocate and brand ambassador.

Offering incentives and providing trade-offs are great (and easy) ways to position your company in a favorable light with customers. A car wash near our office gives customers a substantial discount if they agree to become a member, for free – all the customer has to do is put the establishment’s sticker on their back window.

Turning your customer’s vehicle into a mobile billboard is nothing new, but what you’re really looking for an organic buzz created by satisfied customers and fans – this is where social media comes in.

(H/T WSJ, Mashable, 365 Days of Marketing)