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Nicole Alvino Co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer SocialChorus

How can brands power brand ambassadors to create and share authentic content?

Brand ambassadors are the best marketers a brand can find.  With 92% of people trusting recommendations from people they know, consumers’ opinions and messages are far more trusted than the brands message. Even more importantly, consumers are 77% more likely to actually purchase a product when they hear about it from someone they trust. 

Powering customers and employees to create and share content allows brands to not only build relationships with their most trusted and passionate brand ambassadors but also allows them reach and engage with completely new audiences.  

When thinking about asking others to create and share content for your brand – it’s easy to think strictly about ‘influencers’ or people with huge followings and a large reach. Remember, influence is a combination of reach, resonance and relevance, so it’s important not to overlook your customers and employees. 

Since they already know and love your brand, they can be some of your best advocates. They may already be talking about you on social channels.   Employees and customers sharing your message is hyper-relevant and will resonate with their friend and family followings, so they definitely have more ‘influence’ than you think.

That’s what this one leading apparel brand discovered when they turned to their brand ambassadors to create and share content across social channels. The brand was looking for a way to create more authentic content, generate more engagements and keep its brand top of mind. 

Forward thinking and eager to delve into new strategies, the company had already organically garnered a significant number of advocates and was on lookout for new ways to engage with their customers and new audiences on social networks.

The brand was looking for a way to create more content and boost awareness and engagement for four key product lines: women’s watches, men’s watches, handbags and jewelry and decided to reach out their passionate brand ambassadors to achieve these goals.  

Engaging Brand Ambassadors

While some companies make the mistake of treating content creation as a one-time transaction, this brand realized that building relationships was more important than a transaction and wanted to lay the foundation for an ongoing relationship. Building relationships with advocates, allows brands to turn customers into advocates and advocates into lifelong customers, which is infinitely more valuable. 

In order to engage their customers and inspire them to create unique content, the brand provides new material for advocates on a regular basis to consistently motivate their brand ambassadors to create and share content and keep ambassadors excited about being an insider. 

The brand also uses a variety of means to motivate and thank its ambassadors for creating and sharing content. In addition to valuable product, the ambassadors gain in-person access to many exciting sponsored events, like special shopping days and summer music festivals, behind-the-scenes access to new product debuts and the chance to connect with other local advocates.

Influence is a combination of reach, resonance and relevance, so it’s important not to overlook your customers and employees. 

Nicole Alvino, SocialChorus

Measuring success

The brand gained visibility into how many people were engaging with each advocate-created post, how many consumers were being reached and which advocates generated the most audience engagements. Having the ability to get a close look at advocate activity had additional benefits. Using this data, the brand was able to segment the advocates into groups based on their interests and personalize their experiences to strengthen the relationship and program overall.

Overall, the Advocate Marketing pilot program doubled the social engagement results initially expected, with 100 active advocates creating 7,000 audience engagements, and more than 5 million impressions in just a few months. In the coming months, the brand expects to engage over 1,000 active advocates, with audience engagements reaching 70,000, and upwards of 50 million impressions and an overall Advocate Marketing Value of $700,000.

How others can see the same success? 

  1. Determine your goals.  Do you want to create more content, increase brand awareness, boost social engagement, or something else? Whatever your goals, it’s important to first clearly identify them and align them to business objectives.
  2. Define success metrics.  How are you going to measure success? It’s critical that brands figure out the metrics that will define their success and ensure they can measure them over time.
  3. Activate brand advocates. Are people passionate about your brand? If so it’s important that you identify those passionate customers or enthusiastic employees and power them to create and share content.
  4. Create a plan for long-term engagement.  Once you’ve identified brand advocates you have to engage them and creating a plan for long-term engagement is critical.  Provide advocates with entertaining, informative, and snackable content they want to share. It’s also important to thank your advocates.
  5. Optimize and grow. It’s important to monitor advocate engagements and performance and continue optimizing to ensure that advocates are consistently engaged. It’s equally important to continue growing your ambassador program because the more advocates you have the greater the results.