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When someone makes you feel important or special, it’s human nature to tell people about it. But there are more ways to do that than just exceptional customer service.

Here are three simple ways to tap into that word of mouth motivation with your customers and employees:

1. Create a barrier of entry
2. Make them the star
3. Give them some gratitude

1. Create a barrier of entry

Not everyone can buy something from Stefan’s Head. It’s an exclusive brand that deals their products solely through text messages. First, you have to text a guy named Stefan and have a conversation with him to find out if you’re cool enough. (Yes, Stefan is a real person, and yes, he will ask for your social handles to find out if you’re cool.) If you make it on the list, the brand will send you a text every couple of weeks with limited offers and other hand-picked stuff like music, event invites, and articles about interesting people. It might seem counterintuitive to limit your potential customers with a screening system. But projects like these get attention because they deal in the currency of coolness, being a part of an exclusive club, and feeling a more intimate connection with a brand. How many companies have offered to have a text message conversation with you?

2. Make them the star

Sports Authority plans much of the content they share on social media around sharing their fans’ photos. They actively seek out family photos from little league games, hiking adventures, and fishing trips and ask the user if they can share the photo on their page. Almost everyone says yes and then shares their five minutes of fame with everyone they know. Whether you have a social media page, a storefront, or a billboard, you have a stage too. Find ways to give your customers some of that spotlight.

3. Give them some gratitude

Last year, when a Harley-Davidson dealer got a check to store a soldier’s bike while he was deployed overseas, the company sent the check back. With it, the owner included a letter that said they’d be happy to store the bike without the storage fee saying, “This is our way of saying ‘thank you’ for your service to our country.” The soldier’s family shared the letter on Facebook, and the dealer was immediately overwhelmed with calls and emails from people saying “thank you” back. Motorcyclists and military families are groups with strong networks and word of mouth. When you do something nice for groups like these, they’ll return the favor by telling everyone they know.

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