Fans, evangelists, followers…it doesn’t really matter what they’re called. If you’ve done events before — you know exactly who we’re talking about. They’re the first ones to purchase tickets, the first ones to RT or favorite your latest tweet, the first ones to show up at the venue on the day of your event. They’re down with your mission, aligned with your cause, and they can’t get enough — let’s be real, they’re drinking some serious YOU Kool-Aid.

With brands and organizations becoming more and more active online, peer or word-of-mouth reviews mean more and can help you stand out more. If you have fiercely loyal fans or evangelists who freely sing your praises to anyone who will lend an ear, don’t take that for granted.

Here are our favorite ways to thank and reward these folks, let your #1 fans know how much you dig them right back!

Thank them. There are dozens of ways you can do this, but off the top of our head: Write them an actual thank you note (the kind you send…in the mail). Tweet at them (not the crappy kind with an ‘@’ at the beginning, let your whole community know how rad they are). Feature them in your newsletter. Mention them when you’re speaking to the audience at your event. Send them a little thank you gift. Send them free tickets to your next event. Send them a cool branded item.

Treat them like an insider. Share your exciting news with these folks first. Land an out-of this world speaker? Is your headlining performer particularly exciting? You know what to do with that information.

Pay it back. If your big fans, are also big fans of other ‘things’, take note! You could make a donation to their favorite cause, or collect funds from your next event to donate to their favorite charity. Show your fans that YOU’RE a fan, and your relationship will only blossom from there!

Backstage access. Invite your evangelists to partake in a part of your event that no one else gets to see. Whether you invite them to hang in the green room before your show or offer them a special seat at the speaker’s table during lunch, allowing your superfan to partake in an experience that money can’t buy is something they’ll be hard pressed to forget.

What are your favorite ways to tell your number one fans how much they mean to you? Share your favorite tips in the comments below!