Whether you call them influencers or brand ambassadors, the reality is that a successful brand ambassador strategy can significantly increase your brand recall and general awareness.
There are different levels when it comes to brand ambassadors: Celebrities, influencers (ie. Bloggers and social media stars), and everyday influencers (your customers who are brand champions). Once you have identified what your overall business goals are as well as your budget, you need to figure out which group (or groups!) you can target that will get you the most return on your investment. And, of course, which group will help you reach your business goals most efficiently. At each level of influence, you have a number of different opportunities to connect with your brand ambassadors.
To get your creative juices flowing, here are a few ideas for brand ambassador strategies you can run as a part of your overall marketing strategy.
One of the most common brand ambassador strategies is to have your ambassadors produce product/service reviews. The process is straight forward: you send them product and they post a personal, detailed review on any number of digital channels (ie. Social media, blogs, etc). As images and video do best on social media in terms of creating shareable content, its best to encourage visuals along with brand ambassador product reviews.
Not only is this a great strategy because it creates opportunity for positive product reviews that you can then share on your social channels as a brand, but it also allows your brand ambassadors to take the spotlight. It gives them the chance to become community leaders within your target audience by interacting with customers and potential customers, answering product questions, and generally building hype about your brand. It also gives your customers a fresh perspective rather than hearing your brand message only from branded channels.
Social Media Sharing
What happens after the review? Your brand ambassadors can only review your product/service once, unless there are multiple aspects to what you offer. To make the relationship last, have them share specific brand messaging on their social channels. It can be something like “insider information,” news about an upcoming event or product launch, or an exciting announcement about upcoming brand promos.
Similar to a product review, have your customers film a product demo for sharing on social media or on your website. Real people using your product means that your customers will believe that they could also use the product easily. This type of brand ambassador activity allows some personality to shine through in addition to creating great “how to” content for you to use on your channels.
Get feedback on campaigns
Regardless of how well you know your brand, a fresh set of eyes with a different perspective is always a good thing. Have a select group of brand ambassadors review your messaging and ideas for an upcoming campaign. As a loyal customer, they have a unique perspective that could help you connect better with your target audience. This type of tactic could be done as a one-on-one conversation, via email, or using traditional focus group techniques. If you set up a focus group, it also gives your brand ambassadors the chance to connect with each other.
Everyone wants to feel like a VIP. VIP status seems to hold a certain level of power and responsibility that makes it desirable. Beyond your loyalty program, figure out how to tap into the power of brand ambassadors to give them the true VIP treatment. Hold special events for your brand ambassadors, set up private groups that allow them to connect with other brand ambassadors regardless of geographic location (ie. Use Facebook groups), and, of course, give them cool swag when they have reached milestones in their relationship with you.
Knowledge is power. When you buy a new car, it’s always important to look under the hood to see what kind of mechanics you’re dealing with. The same goes for a business. Give your brand ambassadors access to a behind-the-scenes look at how a product is made. It’s a great opportunity for them to share content on social media and showcase all of the good you are doing in the manufacturing process. A behind-the-scenes tactic could also work for a service depending on what it is you have to offer. Remember, don’t force something to happen if it doesn’t work with your business. Go with what makes most sense for your goals.
A version of this article was originally published to the SongBird Marketing Communications Blog.