How to Nurture Brand Ambassadors and Advocates
The rise of the internet and social media has presented companies with an unprecedented opportunity to create and nurture brand advocates. From influencers to forum leaders, these highly engaged people want to be part of the team. They want to share their interest and passion with the world. That’s where the brand comes in. Through careful nurturing, they can give these fans a voice. Here are some smart steps brands can take to make sure their most fervent followers feel the love.
Create a hub. Give brand ambassadors a central communications hub. If the majority of the community uses a forum, consider creating a private subgroup for forum leaders. If the brand’s advocates are primarily on social media, it might be worthwhile to schedule ongoing calls or meetups, or start a dedicated Facebook Group. This gives them the opportunity to share insights, candid feedback, or new ideas in an organized and formal setting. On the flip side, it provides brands with a central place to share updates, new announcements, or betas without public interference.
PDA. In the context of brand advocates, public displays of affection might look like badges or titles on forums or Facebook groups, or product placements on social media accounts. Brand ambassadors want to share their interest in a brand, but they need to be given the tools to do so. If applicable, a great first step is to publicly declare their connection to the brand by introducing them in the community or awarding them with coveted titles or badges. Adobe does this by awarding an “MVP” title, or the “Most Valuable Participant” badge, to the folks who offer the most time and insight on the forum.
Another option is to send swag or products and ask for a social share or review in return. GymShark, a fitness clothing brand in the U.K., will frequently send “gifted” apparel to fitness influencers in exchange for honest reviews. The brand also routinely offers sales or discounts for the ambassador to share with their community. This allows GymShark to extend its reach to folks who might otherwise not trust or even know of the brand.
Connections that matter. Even though influencers are all the rage these days, what really matters is direct and consistent connection to the target market or community. That’s where the right influencer comes in. Brands that partner with influencers, regardless of audience size, will see a much greater return than those that focus too heavily on quantity and reach. And the right influencer will be grateful for the opportunity if the partnership with the brand is authentic, real, and feels like a two-way street.
Special treatment. If budget allows, one fantastic way to nurture brand ambassadors is to host special events or provide them with free or discounted access to company-sponsored events. A travel brand might consider hosting an ambassadors weekend in an exciting locale, or a technology brand could provide free tickets to industry conferences for its advocates. This type of exclusive, high-value opportunity will send a strong message to ambassadors that the brand cares about the partnership.
Brand ambassadors can play a vital role in promoting your company. In a time when brands assign a large portion of their annual spend to marketing and promotion, the free publicity and goodwill that these advocates can generate is more valuable than ever. Maintain a positive relationship with these key influencers, keep them happy, and thank your lucky stars for their passion and commitment.This entry was posted in Community. Bookmark the permalink.
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