Daily Archives: April 16, 2014

5 Ways to Build an Effective Brand Ambassador Program

Why It’s Important

Incorporating Brand Ambassadors into a social media strategy allow future customers and members of the community to have firsthand access to the personal stories and opinions of members who are familiar and enthusiastic about a product or service. BAs are instrumental in establishing and building a company’s image by influencing current and future community members.

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According to Olivier Blanchard, the author of Social Media ROI, “Through the use of social media, organizations can breed loyalty in their members by interacting regularly with them, befriending them, and empowering them to make a difference. The magic stems from the fact that social media can help humanize communication to such a degree that genuine friendships can begin to form between an organization’s staff and the member they interact with.”

The key here is that BAs help to “humanize communications” by publicizing the community and generating conversation around a product or service.

Here are 5 ways to build a Brand Ambassador Program:

  1. Listen to customers– Who knows your brand better than your customers? Most likely people within your organization, but customers know exactly what they like about your product and/or service and can better articulate that to members within the community. Listen to your customers and find out what they like/dislike and what they would like to see more or less of.
  2. PLAN! PLAN! PLAN!- And then plan some more. Planning is extremely important when creating a Brand Ambassador Program and it’s more important to ensure that the program is aligned with the organization’s goals and objectives.
  3. The Inside Job– The best place to start for a BA program is from within an organization by engaging employees. Search for people within your organization who are already using social media and have a basic understanding of how things work. Utilize these people to be the first BAs for your organization.
  4. Be selective– Not everyone should be an advocate for your brand. Although you may have hundreds of willing individuals who express an interest in being a BA, not all of those people will be a good fit for your organization. Understand your organization’s personality and create a list of qualities you would like your BA’s to possess then select people who meet those qualifications.
  5. Make It Worth While- Although customers may love your organization, people are more likely to participate when there is an incentive. Get creative! Highlight your BAs in interviews or feature them on your website. Offer BAs discounts or free items that reflect the organization. 

Do you have a success story to share about your Brand Ambassador Program? If so, please share below.

A Panel Discussion with Community Managers

On April 7, 2014, our class had the opportunity to conduct a Google Hangout with four individuals who are established Community Managers in their respective organizations. The Google Hangout consisted of Alexandra Dao from Vimeo, Tracey Churray from Foursquare, Gavin O’Hara from Lenovo, and Caira Conner from PolicyMic. Each person shared their personal story as to how they started as community managers and shared advice on how to establish and build a community.

lenovo-logo-1432All About Connection
Gavin started off as the second person of Lenovo’s social media team four years ago. He currently manages social media content and focuses on moderating the company’s global Facebook page. One thing that Gavin pointed out was that sometimes, Community Managers Spend more time reacting to social media issues rather than being proactive and conducting more check points with users. He stated that “small gesture go a long ways” and that community managers should connect more with users. Gavin also discussed how he often connected with users by sending messages or participating in conversations within the community.

Weekend CelebrationsVimeo logo
Alex focuses on User and Community engagement as well as support at Vimeo. She discussed how she would like to interact more with users and find creative ways to encourage users to be more involved within the communities. For example, Alex’s team hosts “Weekend Challenges” with different themes that encourage users to interact and celebrate various things.

PolicyMic LogoSmart and Sharp
At Policy Mic, Caira currently focuses on building a community of rising journalists. Recently, PolicyMic shifted their areas of focus and is now trying to reach a larger community where the company’s content is “Smart and Sharp” and can be shared amongst various demographics. As the company has changed, Caira is promoting loyalty within the community by building on strategic partnerships and networks.

Super Usersfoursquare_logo
Tracey manages the entire community of users at Foursquare and ensures that content is properly managed.  Recently Foursquare launched a forum for “Super Users” that focuses on product direction and feedback within the community. The “Super Users” assist the company by providing ideas and different perspectives related to various topics. Tracey explained her support for Brand Ambassadors and how it is important to incorporate users and have users test and explore new ideas first.

At the end of the panel, it was clear to see that each Community Manager played a different role in their company although the positions were similar. One thing stands true- interacting with users within the community will always be essential for the community to succeed. Positive and personal interactions will always help strengthen a community.