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Leveraging Brand Ambassadors

ImageIn a recent report from Nielsen, a multi-national company which measures consumers’ shopping and media habits, 84 percent of global respondents across 58 countries reported word-of-mouth recommendations from family and friends as the most trustworthy source of advertising. This means that the best way for a company to achieve brand advocacy—and ultimately increase revenue—is to connect with the social influencers and empower those people to intentionally share their stamp of approval with their extended networks.  

What is a Brand Ambassador?

A Brand Ambassador (also known as a Brand Evangelist) is someone who is a befitting representation of a brand’s vision, values, and identity who actively works (usually sans pay) as an advocate for the company by publicly promoting their products, events and/or services. LeapFrog Solutions defines ambassadors as a workforce of people who deliver trust signals to their networks.

How do you find brand ambassadors?

People who like your company, the products you offer, who evangelize on your company’s behalf--and you don’t even have to add them to the payroll? Sounds great, right? How do you find these people? Some businesses find their ambassadors through events where people who match the profile are likely to be. Others refer to review sites, like Yelp and Google Reviews to find fans and parlay the relationship.

Ambassadors can also be found via Facebook Reviews, Twitter, and LinkedIn. You can vet the best candidates for ambassadorship by doing an audit of their public profiles to determine if (based on their publicly available profile) they fit the bill. How many Instagram followers do they have? What kind of pictures do they post? How many Twitter followers do they have and what kind of Tweets are they partial to? Are they active on Google+? If they aren’t on Google+ think twice about inviting them to be a brand ambassador. According to the article, “10 Ways Google+ Will Improve Your SEO” by Steve Rayson in Social Media Today, Google+ provides a wide range of social signals that improves social media optimization and referral traffic. Ambassadors who utilize Google+ to promote brands will help a brand achieve better Google search results because content is indexed almost immediately. People who are active on Google+ are more likely to be active on other social platforms.

Do they follow your brand? Are they active on Yelp? What kind of reviews do they write? Answering these questions is a good way to determine how socially influential someone is, at least online.

What do brand ambassadors do?

In 2010, Lolë Women, a Montreal-based outdoor and wellness brand, developed a wildly successful ambassador program and enlisted an army of advocates to join forces with them to pedal the brand. Lolë Ambassadors live an active lifestyle and are involved in their local communities. Their ambassadors give back to their communities by organizing free meet-ups, workshops and well-being events, or by sharing experience, tips and tricks on the Lolë Love Blog. Ambassadors coordinate these activities by working along with Lolë Ateliers, regional stores offering the Lolë line.

Social sites offer consumers a chance to follow their favorite brands, as well as a chance to be heard and have direct communication. Smart brands use these platforms as a means to find their existing socially active advocates, instead of working to create advocates. Your potential ambassadors are out there and they’re probably already sharing their feedback about your brand. Why not give them a reason to promote even more? Though most ambassadors are not paid, they often receive benefits, such as discounts on merchandise, which is the perfect incentive for someone who already adores the brand.

How do you leverage brand ambassadors?

It’s vital to arm your ambassadors with expert knowledge of your product and a way to share that information with potential customers. To achieve this level of interaction brands can use a conduit, like Needle, a business born from authentic buyer reviews that helps consumers connect with brand experts and ambassadors worldwide.

It’s also wise to have guidelines set in place so that ambassadors know what is expected of them, such as hosting events or wearing the product. Beyond that, there are a number of easy ways to achieve brand endorsements through social media that are subtle, such as adding one’s ambassador title to social profiles and re-sharing, re-tweeting, and re-posting content.

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