5 Killer Strategies for Using Social Media to Recruit Brand Ambassadors
A brand ambassador is someone who’ll actively seek out others to help spread your brand. They’ll tell their friends, their co-workers and even their social media networks about you. Through a single brand ambassador, you could be exposed to as many as 500 people through tools like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Brand ambassadors can’t be “hired.” They can only be earned. Great companies turn many of their customers into brand ambassadors.
When someone has a great experience at a company, they tell their friends. People want to share stories about great service. People also want their friends to experience great service. If you really create a satisfied customer, you’ll naturally create brand ambassadors who help spread your brand.
On the flip side are people who actively seek to hurt your brand. It rarely happens, because in general people want to help rather than hurt. In order for someone to want to actively hurt your brand, you’ll need to have really mistreated them or underperformed their expectations.
According to IBM, customers will usually give you as many as ten warning signs before turning against you.
So how do you cultivate brand ambassadors rather than brand haters? How do you create a fanatic fanbase of users that try to evangelize your product wherever they go? Make sure you follow these five guiding principles.
In a survey of restaurant customers, people were asked questions about why they regularly ate at a certain venue. Was it the service? Was it the food? Was it the price? Was it the location?
When the results came in, researchers were surprised to find that the #1 thing customers looked for was consistency.
They wanted to know that they could go to a certain restaurant and have a certain experience. They knew what kind of service they’d get, what they’d have to pay and what kind of food they can expect.
Consistency is very important to customers. If you want to cultivate a long-term customer, it’s tantamount that they know what they can expect from you. Be consistent.
2. Be Product Centered
What is it that separates your brand from other people?
In the short run, marketing, branding, outreach and other such techniques can mask poor products. However, in the long run, the success or failure of a company really comes down to whether one product is better than the other.
Take the example of Google. Before Google, there was Yahoo, AltaVista and a number of other search engines. After Google, there were dozens of search engines to start as well.
Google had no marketing budget. They only had word of mouth. For a long time, they lagged behind their competitors. But slowly and surely, they gained market share, for one simple reason: Their product was better.
In the short run, it might seem like being product centered doesn’t pay. However, in the long run, creating a top notch product is what will put your company on the map.
3. Cultivate Human Connections
Human connection is one of the most valuable and rare commodities in business today. Many brands have simply turned into processes, programs and systems that nobody can really interact with.
People crave human connection. If people connect with one person from your store or have a stellar experience with someone from customer service, they’ll remember that interaction for life.
Take the example of Starbucks. Whether you love or hate their coffee, it’s undeniable that they’ve created a hugely successful company.
But, according to Howard Shultz, CEO of Starbucks, what keeps people coming back isn’t just the coffee. It’s the people. People come back for the connection with the baristas. The customers to come back regularly get to know them by name, the baristas learn about their kids, and so on.
It’s not the coffee, it’s the human connection. Try to cultivate it in your company.
4. Respond Quickly
Customers hate waiting. In fact, fear of having to wait is a big reason that people don’t buy products online and instead go to a store. It’s why people would rather experience discomfort in their lives than spend 20 minutes on hold.
If you can speed up the processes, all else being equal, customers will flock to your brand. Dominos Pizza took advantage of this with their “30 minutes to your door or it’s free” ad campaign.
5. Give Them Something to Talk About
Even if people love your brand, if you don’t give them something to talk about, you’re not going to get much buzz.
Two good examples of this are Toshiba and Apple.
Toshiba makes stellar laptops. There are some absolutely die-hard Toshiba fans out there who’ll buy nothing but Toshiba laptops. But we seldom hear about Toshiba, simply because there’s not much to talk about. They make good laptops – That’s all.
Apple, on the other hand, is a professional at creating sensational things to talk about. Their product launches are masterpieces in showmanship. Every year, they launch a new product that gets their fans buzzing. They create commercials and online communities to make their products shine even more.
If you want people to talk about you, give them something to talk about.
These are the five tenants of creating brand ambassadors. Follow them, and your customers will talk about your product and spread the word without you having to lift a finger.