Even though everyone shops for just about everything online, real-life word-of-mouth recommendations still reign supreme as the most trusted way to attract new customers.
Because while customers don’t always trust what a brand has to say… they do trust the genuine opinions of other customers.
So how can you (as a marketer) harness the power of word-of-mouth recommendations through your marketing?
With a brand ambassador network.
But first, how do you define a brand ambassador?
Here’s how social media marketer Mack Collier explains it:
” A brand ambassador is a person who works to promote and represent a brand in its marketplace. Brand ambassadors are often current customers who were already advocating for brands before they started working with them, but some brand ambassadors are chosen because they have a large following or are viewed as influencers. Brand ambassadors have a working relationship with the brands they represent and are given instruction on how to interact with customers in the marketplace, based on the business goals for that brand.”
Heaps of businesses have used EditMate to create video content featuring their brand ambassadors.
And by working with them, we’ve learned what businesses should do to start establishing a brand ambassador network.
Here are our top 5 tips for building a brand ambassador network:
1. START INTERNALLY
Experiment with brand ambassadors by starting with those closest to your brand: your employees.
Empower your team to advocate for your brand both online and in real life. And get their honest feedback about what works and what doesn’t.
Here are a couple of easy ways to start:
- If your content team is writing a great weekly blog, give the other employees a simple way to post it on their own social networks. This is a simple way to activate your employees and organically expand the reach of your content.
- Break down who your ideal customer is and make sure everyone (not just your salespeople) can identify them. Your staff accountant doesn’t need to be worrying about hitting sales targets, but if it’s crystal clear to her who the exact target is, she might realize that it’s her cousin/brother/neighbor and start bringing in new prospects naturally.
StudentCard activated their interns by asking them to shoot videos sharing their enthusiasm about StudentCard. Being students themselves, they were all real users of the card and understood the target audience, so were able to provide authentic video content for effective Facebook remarketing ads.
2. SCOPE OUT YOUR BEST CUSTOMERS
Do your research and pinpoint your most enthusiastic customers.
This doesn’t necessarily mean the ones who are bringing in the most revenue but figure out which customers are passionately involved with your brand.
Look for customers who have, personally:
– engaged with your team
– left positive reviews
– regularly interact with your social channels
– already referred your business to other customers
These are the people who not only love what your product/service does for them but they also genuinely believe in your brand and want it to succeed.
These are your evangelists and should be the first few members of your brand ambassador team.
3. ACTIVATE A SMALL GROUP AND DIVE DEEP
Take the time to understand why your evangelists are so enthusiastic about your brand.
Here are a few things to consider:
- Does your product genuinely make their life easier?
- Does your brand represent a type of lifestyle they want for themselves?
- Are they passionate about the causes your business is aligned with?
- Do they personally believe in your business’s mission?
Then, craft your brand ambassador strategy around those reasons.
Make a list of all the ways your ambassadors can take action to rep your brand in a way that aligns with why they personally appreciate your brand.
This might include:
- Hosting local, social events around your product that enables them to connect with like-minded people
- Sharing educational videos about their positive experiences with your product so other people can learn about it
- Drumming up excitement for your next release by posting how they’re using the beta version on Instagram and providing feedback on how it can be improved
4. CREATE INCENTIVES
Building strong, genuine relationships is the key to a successful ambassador program.
And solid relationships can only exist in win-win situations that are mutually beneficial for everyone involved.
So brainstorm what you can provide to your ambassadors in exchange for their participation.
Since you now understand the true reasons they’re excited about your brand, think about what you can give back to them:
- Exclusive experiences?
- Mega discounts?
- Early access to new services?
- Free product?
- VIP status?
- A community and a platform?
If you’re not sure, just ask them directly.
Your ambassadors want to feel like they’re part of your brand’s journey and taking the time to listen to them at the start will establish a solid foundation to move forward with.
Project Repat activated their customers to be ambassadors by asking them to send in mobile videos of their T-shirt quilt gifts being opened on Christmas Day. They incentivized their customers by offering Amazon gift cards for the 3 best videos and they received tons of submissions showing the reactions of people thrilled about receiving a Project Repat quilt. The footage was perfect for cutting together multiple Facebook and Instagram ads.
5. GIVE AMBASSADORS THE TOOLS THEY NEED
Now that you’ve narrowed down your brand ambassadors and determined how you’ll reward them, it’s time to empower them. Your Brand Ambassadors are now part of your team. And you don’t just send your team out to the field with no training or preparation.
Your ambassadors are gonna need tools and materials to spread your brand’s message in an effective way:
- Provide them with the knowledge they need to communicate about your brand in a clear, cohesive way
- Give them tips for organizing events, promoting new products, sharing information and reaching the appropriate audiences
- Provide them with tools that can help them easily create and share content about your business
Using EditMate, you can easily activate your brand ambassador network and collect content from them with our tools.
And finally, the key to an effective brand ambassador network is having a brand worth promoting.
If you have a great product and cohesive brand behind it, your community will be filled with potential ambassadors eager to spread the word.
Once you have that, focus on building a network that provides mutual benefits, support, and promotion for everyone involved.
Pretty soon, not only will your brand be amplified… but sales will boom.
P.S. Looking to become a brand ambassador yourself? Check out our friend Mobile Monkey’s post on How to Become a Brand Ambassador on Instagram