April 2, 2013 Henriette Weber wrote:

Who among your peers makes the best brand ambassadors?

In an earlier post, we discussed the need for brand ambassadors to advocate your company. These dedicated peers are a key part of our sales process because they rave and sing to the high heavens about the wonders of our brand inside their own social circles and have the power to influence purchasing decisions within their networks – at practically no cost to the company – and it’s all happening in social media: they are called brand ambassadors for a reason.

But before you can benefit from such privileged community service, it is imperative that you identify who among your peers are best qualified to be your brand ambassadors…

Perhaps this is self-evident and plain common sense, but we love to rub it in. We call it a strategic approach to your brand advocacy and your brand ambassadors. You have to monitor the base of your peers and find out the people who are already talking about your brand. Listen to their sentiments and find out what motivates them. Why are these people compelled to plead your cause? Why are they willing to stand up for you? And share their awesome experiences with you ?

Then participate in the conversations around your brand. And when your most vocal and active peers seek you out, they are actually searching for the opportunity to establish an emotional connection. By all means, give them what they want!

But how? By responding promptly to messages, making every effort to reach out and thank them for sharing your content, not taking them for granted, and above all – being human(e). After all, it’s all about building the foundations of a good relationship by providing great, consistent service, and delivering on your brand promise…

Once you have identified your candidates for brand ambassadors, start nurturing an extra special relationship. Mind you, your handpicked consumers won’t suddenly become brand ambassadors by simply being your peers. It’s up to you to provide them with an experience worthy of their new status. So don’t be routine with your interactions – they deserve singular treatment 1 on 1 – which means that interactions should be done on the individual level and it’s different for everyone. You can’t mass produce this sort of interaction and most certainly, you can’t automate it.

But the simplest way to make the initial contact is also the most productive and intuitive – just ask. You can ask them how they like your new product; or even ask them if they are willing to give a review or an opinion. By approaching your soon-to-be-ambassadors in an open, honest way, you’ll gently change the terms of their relationship with your brand.

And once you have meticulously developed your brand ambassadors, make sure they are heard. They want and they deserve recognition (they are human after all) so magnify their online presence more by posting their valuable insights on your sites, sharing their most brilliant ideas on your networks, and making sure to give them all the credit for their efforts towards your brand.

The reason you have to aggressively amplify their message should be obvious by now. Social media is such a crowded place for marketing. By allowing brand ambassadors to be your social microphone, you can easily break through the clutter with an authentic voice because your message will sound different. As much as you try to develop smart marketing messages that deliver, the reality is that even if your brand ambassador said exactly what you’d have said, this same exact message will have a tone of genuine passion which marketers struggle to express without sounding pushy.

C’mon rockers, lets invite our chosen ambassadors to the dance floor now – Oh, and…Keep on rocking!

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