Business owners tend to feel strongly about word of mouth. The general consensus? It can make or break you.
This has become amplified in our increasingly digital world. It’s one thing to tell a group of friends over brunch how much you loved a service or product. It’s another thing to post your experience to social media where you can reach hundreds – or even thousands – of people with a simple share.
This is why so many successful companies are reaching out to satisfied customers to build strong, creative, and dynamic brand ambassador programs. They recognize that these influential, happy customers are doing something their logo or mission statement cannot: earning and sustaining trust in their product.
The brand ambassador program for Knix has been a foundational part of the Vancouver-based company’s success, which now includes selling an item every six seconds. Knix CEO Joanna Griffiths was recently included in Adweek’s list of 35 women trailblazers and has spoken openly about the importance of taking a customer-centric approach to product design and marketing.
For her, the customer is the brand.
“They’re who we look to for ideas,” says Griffiths. “They’re our ambassadors, they’re our spokespeople, they’re our models.”
Building a strong ambassador program doesn’t need to be complicated, but it should be intentional. The six tips below can help you get on your way:
1) Know your customers.
Understanding to whom you’re selling (and therefore, whom you want to represent your product) is the crucial first step to ensuring your program is successful. Identifying your customers is also a crucial piece to your community management plan, which will determine how to best engage with audiences across your social media platforms.
2) Make a great product.
Like knowing your customers, this might seem like a no-brainer, but remember that without great products there are no happy customers. You shouldn’t have to convince someone to be your ambassador – they already are, if they love what you offer and support what you do.
3) Engage, engage, engage.
Use your social platforms (as identified in your community management plan) to foster conversations with your customers. Try to respond to positive comments or reviews, and ask for feedback (and respond graciously when it’s given). You can also create contests and challenges, wherein followers engage with your brand through their own channels and then re-share their posts as part of your brand’s story. Staying on top of user-generated content will also help you spot early ambassadors in the making.
4) Create a community.
In addition to engaging on social media platforms, creating online communities for your brand can be a great way to foster customer loyalty. This can include having a section on your website where interested and enthusiastic clients can sign up directly to be an ambassador or developing a blog where content is curated, driven and, or submitted by customers. What better way to showcase real-life people modelling your culture and values?
5) Start from the inside-out.
Often your employees can be your best advocates. A team of inspired insiders is more authentic, and therefore more valuable, than paid advertising. Even better? It can be baked into and supported through a positive and dynamic employee engagement program.Remember, a customer that likes your product, or an employee who likes working for your company, wants to brag about it. Consistently engaging with them shows how much you value their experience and perspective, making it more likely they will continue to support the brand, in person and online.
Is your content marketing strategy designed to turn customers into ambassadors? We’d love to help. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.