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In our last issue, we talked about the best places to start taking part in word of mouth conversations about your company. But once you’ve decided to take the leap and talk back to your fans and critics, you have to decide who will do it — and the answer isn’t as obvious as you might think.

Here are some ideas for finding the right people to take part in word of mouth conversations for your company:

1. Passionate employees
2. Your biggest fans
3. The experts

1. Passionate employees

When it comes to reaching out to fans, a lot of companies tap specific groups of employees: Customer service or PR reps, the marketing team, or prominent figures like the CEO and paid celebrities. But the employees who might be best at starting conversations with your fans are the ones who are fans themselves. These passionate staffers are natural advocates for your company. They truly love your customers, they know your stuff well, and they’re willing to develop relationships. These employees can sometimes be even more enthusiastic than the marketing folks who traditionally run these campaigns.

2. Your biggest fans

Guess what? Your really big fans really like you. So don’t be shy about asking them to speak on your behalf. Fiskars did it with their legendary Fiskateers program by asking some passionate crafters to help foster a community of people just like them. They didn’t pick the best salespeople or the most talented crafters, but rather the fans who were most willing to reach out and help other folks in the community (whether or not that was with a Fiskars product recommendation).

3. The experts

To get the attention of up-and-coming researchers and innovators, Dow Chemical Company turned to their scientists, not marketers, to start conversations in social media. It took some encouragement and training, but these experts gave them the edge they needed to improve their reputation and inspire word of mouth. This is a reminder that not everyone thinks through the same marketing lens — these employees might not realize how helpful they can be in your word of mouth strategies. So it’s your job to help them understand the valuable role they can play in earning your company raving fans.

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