A key component of many growth and community strategies, an ambassador program can be an incredibly powerful asset for a company. Not only are passionate users your best advocates, but they’re also an influential source of information. They can help market, grow and defend your product or service while acting as community building champions.
Read on for three key things that investing in an ambassador program can help you with.
Social Media and Word of Mouth
The power of ‘word-of-mouth’ marketing is real - and has been magnified to the extreme with social media and sharing tools. Ensuring that people speak positively about you and your product or service has truly never been more important.
While most companies already have a social media manager in place to gracefully handle the most public disputes, it’s nearly impossible for a single person to respond to every mention, tag or note. The difficulty is even greater in terms of special events, which might include a brand promotion, viral contest or even crisis communications.
From the day to day to some of the special events, brand ambassadors can help. Depending on how you define their role, you might consider asking them to include helping guard and maintain the brand in the social spheres as part of their responsibilities.
Not sure where to start?
Break it down by social channel (eg. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), set key parameters for ambassador ownership (days of the week, hours per day), and assign very specific deliverables (respond to X number of mentions, generate X positive mentions). If you have a large ambassador program, smartly schedule your asks as to avoid overlap and ensure your goals are met.
Inspire your ambassadors to feel empowered by helping maintain the brand/company voice, sharing the best things about your company, product and service, and by turning naysayers into fans. People who love your work enough to represent it, they’re among those best positioned to do a great job with said tasks!
Growth and Scale
Growth is of utmost importance to all companies, but scaling systems and community models can be difficult when resources are limited. When it’s not possible to bring on additional full-time team members to add fuel to the early fire, brand ambassadors can be incredible assets.
One of the best examples I’ve seen of brand ambassadors leading a growth charge was during my time at payments startup Tilt. Focused on growing the company’s user base across college campuses, the team worked tirelessly to find the most influential people at each key school and brought them aboard to officially lead the charge at their respective campus. College ambassadors were tasked a handful of duties, which included talking about the company to fellow students and groups, finding newsworthy opportunities for Tilt to shine at their school and most importantly, creating their own viral Tilts with the Tilt app and inviting everyone they knew to join in. Their efforts were key in meeting company-wide growth goals --- and only required a few internal team members to manage them.
An added bonus to using ambassadors to drive growth is the unbiased feedback they can provide. Unlike full-time employees, ambassadors are shielded from internal debates, office politics and culture issues. This separation can be useful in that ambassadors are more comfortable passing along thoughts without worrying about ruffling feathers or sparking a dispute. Take advantage of their position and use their findings and suggestions as solutions to build a better product!
Community building is an art form and community managers are the creative heroes who get to choose which executable tactics ultimately make their way into a strategy designed to aid retention. These tactics might include contests and promotions that encourage people to use your product and service more or in a different way, community hubs or forums that foster collaboration, mentoring among members, or even meetups.
Ridesharing service Lyft is an exceptional example of how a company can successfully use ambassadors to build community. Lyft’s popular Mentor Program matches top-notch, approved advocates with new drivers to help them get up to speed before officially getting behind the wheel. Drivers themselves, mentors can provide an honest and helpful overview based on their own experiences with the company and passengers they’ve encountered.
Gogobot, a guide that helps people discover the best events, restaurants, attractions and hotels, relies on Ambassadors to host community building meetups around the world. Events range from happy hours to planned parties and encourage users to come offline and meet in real life, strengthening local relationships while encouraging repeated use of the product.
Though the ambassador program structure may vary based on their responsibilities, rewards and compensation, there’s no doubt that investing in one is a resourceful and wise decision for your business. Design yours to help you meet your goals while spreading happiness and positivity along the way!
Are you building an ambassador program? Tell us about the structure, your members and their responsibilities in the comments!