Earn a $300 Amazon gift card by telling a business about SocialLadder

The only thing better than hearing that your customers love your product is hearing that they’re telling their friends and colleagues about how much they love it.

Most of our new business comes from referrals – not just referrals from customers, but also referrals from brand ambassadors – which is why we’re pleased to announce the SocialLadder referral program. 

Starting July 20th – if you introduce SocialLadder to a business that ultimately signs up for our service you’ll receive a $300 Amazon gift card – directly to your email address. 

SocialLadder customers and brand ambassadors are eligible!

In order to be eligible:

  • You must be the one that introduced us to the prospect or you must ensure that the prospect tells us that they heard about SocialLadder from you (if we’ve already communicated with them before it doesn’t count)
  • The prospect must actually sign up for our service (we’ll send you the gift card as soon as we collect the first payment from the customer)
  • You must not be a SocialLadder employee, contractor, or intern
  • There must be no laws, rules or regulations in your state/country that would prevent you from participating in the program without liability to us or you

If a referral comes from more than one source, we reserve the right to allocate the rewards in good faith and will not be obligated to pay multiple rewards for the same referral. We reserve the right to modify or suspend this program at any time, with or without notice. You acknowledge and agree that we have the right to interpret and administer the referral program in our sole discretion. This offer should not be published or distributed on commercial websites or on blogs. You are prohibited from “spamming” anyone on SocialLadder’s behalf – this includes mass emailing, texting or messaging people you do not know or using automated systems or bots through any channel to promote our services. You also agree that you are not a contractor or employee of SocialLadder and you may not represent yourself as having any affiliation with SocialLadder (beyond any existing relationship separate from this referral program) or acting as an agent of SocialLadder.

An Exclusive Interview With First Avenue: Saving Live Music

In the past year, arts and commerce contributed $877.8 billion to the United States’ gross domestic product. As coronavirus swept the nation, the communities that contributed to this growth were significantly impacted – the live music industry especially. Hubs of entertainment across the US are experiencing devastating economic and cultural loss as venues are forced to shut down and their workers subsequently become unemployed.

Despite the losses live music is currently facing, NIVA is here to take action. We had the opportunity to chat with Ashley Ryan, Marketing Director with First Avenue – a founding member of NIVA – about the organization’s mission to preserve the livelihood of independent music venues and music industry workers across the US.

What is NIVA? When did it get started?

NIVA is the National Independent Venue Association. It was formed almost immediately after the WHO declared COVID-19 a public health crisis in the U.S., back in mid-March when concerts and touring essentially shut down. It stemmed from a group of independent concert promoters and venues that were already loosely associated because of participation in Independent Venue Week. All of these folks were talking with each other, trying to figure out next steps and what we could do as independents to come together.

Why is the mission so important? What are some of NIVA’s short and long term goals?

Well, the mission right now is to get additional federal support for these small businesses, the risk of venues and promoters shuttering permanently is very, very real. We need our representatives to understand a lot of the initial relief packages were not catered to our industry, and PPP and other programs didn’t offer us much support. We were among the first businesses to close, and we’ll certainly be among the last allowed to re-open, so with no additional relief, the independent industry could basically cease to exist in the near future.

We know that sounds dire, but it isn’t alarmist – there have already been a number of well-known and established venues that have announced they will not be re-opening. So, short-term is to get Congress back in session, and to pass some relief. We’re supporting the RESTART and Save Our Stages Acts in particular, as well as ENCORES, and anything that includes extending PUA.

Long-term, we have some projects in the works, and I’ll be excited to share an update on this later this week.

What are some of the brands and venues who are working hard with NIVA to preserve the live entertainment communities?

Our NIVA Member list is incredible, we’ve got just over 2,500 venues, promoters, community theatres, festivals, and comedy clubs that have come together to amplify our situation, and to offer support to each other.

We’ve also received incredible support from artists and comedians – just a huge range of people lending their voices, from Billie Eilish to Willie Nelson. NIVA is working with NITO, the National Independent Talent Association, who have formed a broad coalition of the live music ecosystem – agents, managers, and artists – to help accomplish some of our shared goals.

We’ve received incredible support from some great independent industry partners like See Tickets, Lyte, and eTix – they really helped get things off the ground. In addition, we’re really lucky to have the support of Spotify, YouTube, and Google – more on that soon.

Can you give us some recommendations on how we can help in saving our local independent music venues and their communities?

Yes! If you haven’t, please visit www.SaveOurStages.com and please (!) let your representatives know that you support independent venues, promoters, and music. If you want to save these venues, let your representatives know this matters to you. If you’re able, you can also find information on that website about donating directly to venues relief funds.

What is the NIVA community working on right now?

Asking music, comedy, theatre, and event fans to visit SaveOurStages.com – we need to keep the pressure on Congress to let them know we need their help to survive this pandemic, just like other industries. We’ll have other upcoming announcements to share soon.

If you could ask us to do one thing to help the independent music community – what would that be?

Well, now I’m a broken record, but PLEASE visit SaveOurStages.com if you haven’t. Fans have have sent over 2 million messages so far, which is incredible – but we can’t let up now.

Thank you, Ashley! To learn more about how you can support independent music venues and music industry workers across the U.S., please visit SaveOurStages.com and nivassoc.org.

Influencers vs. Ambassadors: Why Choose One?

With the digital interconnectivity of our culture constantly evolving, and consumer trust in traditional advertising rapidly dropping, word of mouth marketing has emerged as one of the most reliable and cost effective ways for a brand to connect with their consumers. Because the results are so dependable, brands have turned to influencer and ambassador community marketing to enhance their word of mouth marketing strategy and reduce cost of acquisition. 

Although there are many different forms of word of mouth marketing, it is important to understand the value that influencers and ambassadors provide and how, when used together strategically, they can drive awareness, significantly increase organic conversions, and strengthen overall loyalty for the brand.  

But first, what’s the difference between influencers and ambassadors?

Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is a fairly straightforward system. As current as it sounds, it’s not too different from traditional advertising. A company pays an influencer  to make a post about their product. Influencers are generally defined as having a large social following that is connected to the “personality” of the influencer on one or many digital channels.

If influencers are selected properly by the brand, the influencer’s audience will be exposed to the product. This strategy has been proven to be extremely fruitful especially for product launch where awareness is the main KPI, as this form of marketing is able to quickly generate widespread, mainstream knowledge of a product.

The partnerships that Influencers make with brands are often social only and campaign based, meaning they are short term and only require the influencers to make 1-2 pieces of content. Influencers are motivated by continuing to grow and expand their own brand and audience so they want to carefully select brands that their audience will connect with and that will enhance their personal image. By working with as many different brands as they can, they’re able to quickly create a level of widespread awareness that can be difficult for a single brand emulate on their own. 

A 2019 Edelman report shows that 63% of consumers trust what influencers have to say about products “much more” than what brands say about themselves, which truly demonstrates how consumers’ opinion of traditional advertising is shifting; however, the main issue plaguing influencer marketing is oversaturation and fraud. In short, everyone wants to be an influencer in 2020, but not everyone with high follower counts has the legitimate influence to make it a worthy investment for the brand. 

Fortunately, new standards of business have been set to combat and avoid this issue, but brands should still keep this in mind and monitor influencers they are working with in order to see a positive ROI for their social strategy. With this in mind, brands should continue to utilize a curated group of influencers to promote their products, due to the “top of the funnel” awareness that they are proven to be able to generate. 

Ambassadors and Community Marketing

While influencers are able to generate awareness about a brand’s product very quickly, Brand Ambassadors are able to generate actual conversions and keep the conversation about your brand going. According to a report from Nielson, 92% of consumers trust a recommendation from a peer, friend, or family member more than they trust a recommendation from a brand. 

Ambassadors are passionate about the brand they represent, and are motivated to put the products they love into the hands of the people they love. They serve as advocates, driving growth organically on and offline. This enables brands to build and strengthen trust through their ambassadors, who bring a more genuine and effective angle to widespread word of mouth marketing. 

A high follower count can be very valuable, but the relationship between the consumer and the brand becomes much more authentic when ambassadors are creating a conversation about the brand with their friends. Ambassadors want to help their friends and know who will connect with the brand and how they want to hear about it. 

This is because ambassadors are often customers whose lives have been positively impacted by the brand, so the connection they have isone of trust and loyalty. Although the content they create may not be as “professional”, their friends will be drawn for the passion they have for the brand versus with influencers where the audience is connecting with the passion they have for the influencer’s brand. The relationship will last beyond 1-2 posts and even when the “contract’ is over, there is a mutual ROI. The ambassador will feel they have helped your brand grow and will take that feeling with them even when they aren’t formally connected to the brand.

Influencers + Ambassadors 

Together, influencers and ambassadors can help brands more effectively achieve awareness, conversion, and loyalty goals. When launching a new product, brands can use influencers to support the campaign and introduce it to a broad audience of potential customers. Once the product has launched, brands can then engage their ambassadors to sustain the conversation, generate even more buzz, and create more user generated content around the product. 

This pairing of influencer personalities and ambassadors’ genuine passion for a brand, activated across multiple channels, enables brands to harness the power of word of mouth and deepen relationships with their brand community. In order to achieve this at the fullest potential, brands should be using influencers and ambassadors together to maximize awareness and build greater consumer trust. 

Using influencers and ambassadors together is also a great way to enhance your brand’s content strategy. With the content that both groups are creating around your brand, whether through a specific campaign or a product review, marketing teams will gain access to an entire factory of user generated content. 

Why Choose One?

Both influencers and brand ambassadors have substantial value in today’s marketing landscape. Their ability to significantly impact the way that new and existing customers view and interact with brands can drive awareness and loyalty that other forms of advertising can’t truly replicate. Although they each project different messages from the brand to the consumer, they are both proven to be thoroughly effective forms of marketing. Through the online communities that they can create, and the direct and targeted message that they engage in, influencers and ambassadors are able to help brands achieve far-reaching brand awareness while forming a genuine relationship between brands and consumers.

Q&A With Laurel Angelica Myers, Co-Founder & COO of Prima

Throughout the CBD and wellness boom, there is one brand that stands apart from the rest: Prima. Founded in March of 2019, Prima set out on a mission to reclaim health, happiness, and connectivity through their combination of honest science and innovation. In just over a year on the market, the brand has established itself as an industry-defining leader within the CBD and wellness space. 

Before embarking on launching Prima, Co-Founder & COO Laurel Angelica Myers led brand strategy and product development at The Honest Company. She has a proven passion for mission-driven business, and is an established leader of people and product. We had a chance to chat with Myers on building a purpose-driven brand, focused not only on innovative products backed by science, but on educating consumers and redefining the way we view CBD.

What is your role at Prima, and what does your day-to-day look like? 

I’m Co-Founder and COO, so depending on the day, that can look like a lot of things. No two days are the same, and that’s what I love about the job. I spend a lot of time supporting each member of our team from marketing, to PD, to ops, to sales on everything from high level strategy to in-the-weeds execution. Some days I’m evaluating the latest R&D samples for texture, smell, and performance (and trying them out on my whole family too), to speaking on webinars about being the first EWG Verified CBD brand, educating press and editors on the importance of becoming a certified B Corps, doing all of the assessment work to become a certified B Corps, evaluating creative packaging design for the latest new product, and yes, even buying toilet paper and hand soap for the office (when we used to be there) and acting as our in house IT. It’s soup to nuts and everything in between, and there’s nothing I’d rather be doing. 


In just over a year on the market, Prima has established itself as an industry leader, achieved B Corp status, and secured a national partnership with Sephora. What factors have contributed to Prima’s success for such a young brand?

That’s a really hard question because it’s not any one thing, and honestly, it’s all of the pieces working together in harmony. I think at the core of it, it starts with a really clear mission and vision, and everything stems from there. We’ve been crystal clear on our values and vision from day 1 – from our approach to clean ingredients, scientific integrity, quality, to our desire to operate responsibly and to use our business as a force for good. We set out to be the leader in trust, transparency, quality, efficacy, and the three of us founders have been bullish on that vision from day 1 and don’t see it any other way. We are so fortunate to have an incredibly talented team that shares our passion, values, and vision, and works hard to bring it to life. And I think it’s that synergy, passion, energy, and alignment that ultimately leads to that kind of success. But we’re a young brand and we have a lot of road and hard work ahead of us, and we know that and can’t wait to see what the future holds.

The technology behind Prima is impressive, how has your innovation in the space given you the ability to tap into a range of audiences from professional athletes to beauty influencers that for other CBD brands have been harder to reach?

At the end of the day, it all comes down to product design, efficacy, and experience. Are you designing your product with a clear benefit in mind? Are you creating a scientifically-backed formula that achieves that promise? And is the experience something that those with the highest standards will love? That’s how we think and that’s how we approach product development. It’s about balancing clarity, conviction, efficacy, and beauty – and ultimately, connecting with people and making them feel seen and heard. One of the most important things is listening to the consumer and understanding their needs, and this is at the heart of how we think about and design products. We’ve also been very fortunate to have so much organic love for our brand and our products, and that word of mouth support has been one of the most exciting things to watch unfold, and something you can never predict. 

If you could tell our readers one thing about CBD that everyone should know, what would it be?

That all of us (all mammals in fact) have a complex and robust system in our own bodies designed to manage stress and promote balance, called the endocannabinoid system, and that CBD directly supports the body in its ability to recalibrate and find this balance. That’s why it works for so many things – from stress, to immunity, to sleep, to skin – it’s interacting with a system that is deeply tied to all of it and bringing those systems back to center. And, that not all CBD is created equal. When it comes to strength, efficacy, delivery, and bioavailability – there is a lot of nuance that can make CBD extremely efficacious – or not. So know your brands, know your labels – look for transparency, quality, and credibility behind the brand. 

“People First” is one of Prima’s core values. How does this relate to the culture that Prima promotes internally, as well as the community of super fans that the brand is cultivating?

At the end of the day, a business is a collection of humans coming together to all work towards a common vision and goal. Without people, there is no brand, there is no product, there is no business. For us we care deeply about how our own business impacts our employees, and their ability to take care of their own health and wellbeing, be with family, and invest in learning opportunities for career growth. We strive to be a culture of empowerment, positivity, kindness, and a can-do attitude – as well as openness and vulnerability in the effort of continual growth and improvement. And I think those same values are reflected in how we engage with our community. We seek to uplift – whether it’s through inspiring content, enlightening education, or experiences and voices that help people on their journey to individual and collective wellbeing.   


Congratulations, the brand recently celebrated its one year anniversary – what are you most excited about for the future of Prima and its brand community? 

So much – there is so much possibility ahead. But mostly it’s continuing to reach people who are looking for the solutions we offer, who are looking for the support our community provides for inspiration, connection, and empowerment, and continuing to touch more and more people with the impact of our products. Our potential to truly transform wellness has only just begun, and the future is bright and one we can’t wait to see unfold.

If you could pick one song that represents your brand community, what would it be?

“I’m Every Woman” by Whitney Houston.

Thank you, Laurel! To learn more about Prima, visit them at prima.co or on Instagram.

Building A Brand Community: Empowering Your Customers To Be Growth Drivers

“Our ability to harness the power of our customers as growth drivers, I think that’s going to be the future of social as it intersects with commerce.” — Alicianne Rand, VP of Growth Marketing, Rent the Runway

What do brands like Rent The Runway, Outdoor Voices, and Benefit Cosmetics all have in common? A dedicated community of “super fan” ambassadors that help bring their brand to life — in the real world and online.

It can be difficult to stand out when your potential customers are constantly bombarded with the same content and being marketed to non-stop. However, your super fans are ready to help you achieve your growth and marketing goals with a more human touch. It’s time to market through your customers, rather than to them.

People tend to talk about their purchases and experiences. Whether it’s on social media or a (virtual) social gathering, your super fans are already telling everyone how much they love your brand. With 92% of consumers trusting recommendations from family and friends, why not steer the conversation from the inside?

An ambassador is usually defined as a person who is hired to represent your brand in a positive light, boosting brand awareness and sales. For some brands, an ambassador may be an influencer, but for others, it can be an everyday customer who truly loves the product. No matter how you define it, ambassadors are here to advocate for your brand, online or offline. Cultivating a community of like-minded people who are eager to share your message with the world will help your brand create an effective, low-cost organic marketing channel that you own entirely. 

Building a community of brand ambassadors is an opportunity to establish a real and trustworthy connection with fans of your brand. Unlike mainstream social media influencers and celebrities, ambassadors are not only focusing on building a brand through their persona but more so to establish genuine relationships with their followers. This, in turn, makes the conversations they have about your brand more authentic and relatable. Earning their audience’s trust is critical for them.

By forming an ambassador community for your brand, you will be able to:

  • Create a scalable & low-cost CAC channel
  • Enhance your content strategy
  • Harness the power of Word of Mouth 
  • Get valuable feedback 
  • Give your passionate customers a home

Word of mouth is the most powerful & least expensive growth channel. Establishing a brand community allows you to market through your customers, rather than to them. By doing so, you will not only be able to create a stronger and more meaningful relationship with your fans but also achieve your growth goals organically. Use your community as a hub for data and content that will allow you to drive brand awareness and sales.

Ready to build your own brand ambassador community? We’ve created the Ultimate Ambassador eBook to help you get started. Download your free copy here!

Creative Ways To Build Value For Your Community

It’s important to reach your community wherever they are. Right now, more people are online than ever, with users spending an average of 2 hours and 24 minutes per day multi-networking across an average of 8 social networks. As more brands turn to social platforms to build community digitally, it’s time to get creative in the ways your brand is engaging your biggest fans online to build greater value for your brand community. 

Your biggest fans want to feel close to your brand and gain a greater sense of belonging within your community. We’ve come up with a few ideas to help build value and strengthen relationships with your community, digitally. 

Host A Virtual Event 

Maximizing your media outlets is crucial. The number of virtual gatherings has grown by 1,130% within the past year, with nearly all events now happening online. Brands are focusing on creating virtual experiences and events to build community digitally, and better reach new and existing customers where they are. Through platforms like Instagram Live, YouTube, and Twitch, brands and artists alike are sharing powerful virtual experiences and making themselves more accessible to their audience. 

Your community craves greater access to your brand, and hosting a virtual event through some or all of these outlets is one of the strongest ways to maximize quality time with them. Hosting a buzz worthy event on social media is also a great way to broaden your reach and drive traffic to your official pages. 

Here are a few ideas based on your brand’s industry for virtual events you can host for your community: 

  1. Fitness or Athleisure: Host a free workout class on Instagram Live! Your community can tune in, get their endorphins pumping, and leave their workout feeling a stronger tie to your brand. 
  2. Music and Live Entertainment: Time to get streaming! There are so many ways to share music with your biggest fans. Host a virtual listening party for a new release, share exclusive content,  or even a virtual “tour” in unexpected locations.  
  3. Beauty or Fashion: Invite your ambassadors and influencers to do a takeover showing off their favorite looks, or even host a virtual trunk show / consultation.     

Hosting a virtual event for your community is a great way to boost engagement and reach organically, while creating a space for your community to connect with your brand and with each other. 

Engage & Incentivize 

Invite your brand’s fans to be active contributors. When you make your community feel like part of your team, they feel closer to your brand — building loyalty will make engaging more enticing for your brand fans. 

Invite your brand fans to participate in starting conversations about your brand online, creating content for social media, and getting their friends involved. Having your brand fans like, comment, share, and create their own content will boost your reach organically, and give you plenty of authentic User Generated Content (UGC) to implement into your own content strategy. 

Don’t be afraid to get creative in the way you challenge your community to get involved, but remember that having an incentive is important. An incentive doesn’t have to break your budget — simply sharing content that a brand fan created can make them feel important and valued by your brand. 

Listen to Your Community’s Voice

Your community is your best source for honest, constructive feedback. Inviting your brand fans to tell you what they love, hate, or want to see more of will help you better adapt to serve your customers’ needs. Whether you push out a quiz, survey, or an open forum on social media, your community will appreciate being given a voice and will ultimately feel more connected to your brand. Feedback from your brand fans can also help drive product creation and enhancements, along with insight to help you build more effective, targeted marketing strategies. 

Bring Your Community Together

Ultimately, reaching your community where they are — online — is the best method for building value for your entire community. Whether you host a virtual event, or hold a contest that allows your brand fans to get creative, you’re building value for both your community and your brand. When you invite your community to be active contributors to your brand’s mission, you’re building and strengthening positive relationships and loyalty, while driving awareness and feedback organically. 

Creator Accounts for Brand Ambassadors

Screen Shot 2020-06-29 at 11.18.35 AMGET CREATIVE. CONNECT WITH YOUR COMMUNITY. GET REWARDED.

cre·a·tor /krēˈādər/ noun

  1. A person or thing that brings something into existence.
  2. A person who invents, produces, or makes things.

What is an Instagram Creator?

A creator is someone who contributes information and content around the things they are passionate about. Content creators are individuals who provide digital media assets including videos, graphics, blog posts, and other materials that are often hired by brands to help contribute to help them achieve marketing and sales goals. 

In 2018, Instagram rolled out an account type called “Creators” so that high-profile users are able to have features more similar to business accounts that enable them to have better access to:

  • Growth tools 
  • Advanced audience insights
  • Simplify & filter DMs
  • Post scheduling on desktop
  • Shoppable posts
  • And more

Analytics_stats

While there are pros and cons to switching to a Creator account on Instagram, for users looking to monetize their content and strengthen their partnerships with brands, changing your account will put you in a position to greatly increase your opportunities — especially because Instagram seems to be expanding the capabilities for Creators rapidly

Why?

According to Ad Age, Creators account for nearly $2B in annual paid media spending in North America. Creators are generally more relatable to their following than a brand’s page, so it is not surprising that brands want to keep putting dollars into content marketing.

Think about it. How many times have you purchased something because of a friend’s recommendation or because you saw your favorite influencer repping the product?

You are surrounded by creators! Join the community. Become a creator. 

Why should I become a Creator?

Why should I become a creator_

Connect with other like-minded people

If you are a super fan, a brand affiliate, or micro-influencers, you can use your social media platform to build relationships with your favorites brands. Creators can offer brands their support by sharing product reviews, spotlighting announcements, and boosting organic reach with Word of Mouth (WOM) marketing. 

Earn cash & rewards

Being a creator for a brand provides opportunities to earn cash, rewards, and exclusive offers. From commission payouts to free products, content creators are able to offer authentic marketing, referrals, and promotional assets to brands in exchange for compensation & rewards for their support. 

Share your creativity with the world

Creators are able to build a creative and open community around their passions and the brands they love. Creators can look to their communities as an outlet to collaborate and communicate about their connections, affinities, and experiences. 

How To Become A Creator 

Creator accounts on Instagram & Facebook offer specialized tools for every day users with medium to large-scale networks to better manage their profiles. When you switch your account from a personal account to a creator account, you will gain access to insights on your audience, engagements, & more detailed analytics that will give you more control over your account. 

In the past, social media influencers & creators used Business accounts to optimize their social media networks which didn’t cater to the specific needs like tracking following growth, filtered messaging & audience insights. Those days are over. Creators & influencers now have an account type made just for them.  

Instagram spokesperson mentioned, “Existing tools around business profiles make it difficult to track creator follower growth and engagement over time and that existing business tools weren’t designed with them in mind.”

Check out the steps to upgrading to a creator account below. 

How to Set Up Your Socials

Here is a step by step guide to getting set up on Facebook and Instagram. Build your personal community, connect with people who have the same interests as you, and get creative.  Be sure to switch your Instagram account to a creator account to get the most in-depth insights on your community. 

Don’t forget to connect your Facebook and Instagram account to unlock insights from both platforms. Need help? Check out the video here.

3steps

Tips For Creators

Tips for creators

Continue growing!

Utilize the tools available to you for growth. By switching to a creator profile, influencers and creators get access to flexible profile controls, simplified messaging, & publishing tools. Creators can easily crosspost content to IG & FB, schedule posts for the future, & more. Check out the new tools waiting for you. 

Get to know your audience

Review your activity and audience insights on your creator profile to see who your community is and how they are engaging with your content. Check out the demographic information on your audience like age, location, and more to get to know who your social media followers are. Leverage the insights found in the Creator studio to connect with your audience and optimize the content you’re sharing with your followers. 

Check out Shoppable Posts 

Help your favorite brands and friends by using Shoppable Posts on Instagram. Shoppable posts allow creators, businesses, and influencers to tag brands in their posts and share their favorite products to followers – creating a new way for users to shop directly from Instagram. This helps creators drive attention to their brand partnerships and opens opportunities for supporting their favorite brands.

Be Open & Authentic

Be open and be authentic. It is important for creators to be open with their audience to understand their interests, needs, and other affinities. This helps creators to produce authentic and empathetic content that speaks more deeply to their community. It also helps creators find their voice and begin to talk about ideas or issues beyond their own.

SocialLadder Ambassadors Value Community

Building community is the heart of what we do here at SocialLadder. And at the foundation of every community are people full of passion, positivity, and purpose — the ambassadors.

We had a chance to interview Dylan, Erin, and Christian — a few of SocialLadder’s top performing ambassadors — to gain some insight into their experience as ambassadors and the role that community plays in their lives. 

What is your favorite part about being an ambassador? 

D: My favorite part about being an ambassador is I get to share with other people information about things they might like. I will only be an ambassador for things I’m personally interested in and when I share those interests to other people who find it interesting like me, we connect. You will grow lots of friendships and connections from being an ambassador for a product or event. And the best part is you get rewarded for what you love doing.

E: My favorite part about being an ambassador is connecting people to events they want to be a part of. The music community has brought some of the best friendships into my life and I want to help people find their happy place and best friends too! 

C: As a naturally quiet person, being an ambassador encourages me to make new connections around something I’m passionate about.

What does community mean to you?

D:  Community to me is a group of likeminded people who interact and share similar thoughts and express them communally. Community to me allows me to work together with other people, as community is essential for forward progress

E: Community represents a group of people that bring unity, love and opportunity in my life. To me, the music community is lifetime friendships, memories, and endless art to connect with and appreciate. It’s such a beautiful thing to be a part of! 

C: To me, community is defined as anywhere, virtual or physical, in which you’re connected to others that share the same interest.

How do you stay connected to the communities you’re closest to?

D: Typically when you’re involved in communities you will naturally be connected. As a serious trance fan for example, I stay connected to that community by groups, pages, forums, friends, festivals, and more. 

E: I stay connected with my people through social media and community events. I aim to be mindful about checking in with the people and organizations closest to me, even if just to express my continued love and support to them.

C: While it may sound very millennial, I mainly stay connected to my communities through my phone. Messaging apps allow me to stay connected to my friends even when apart. Social media provides an outlet to connect with larger communities like those centered on my favorite artists or sports teams.

What do you love about SocialLadder?  

D:  Personally what I’ve always loved about Social Ladder is their community platform for compensation and rewards. I’ve used multiple ambassador programs before and Social Ladder is by far the best one. A) You’ll work hard for those juicy rewards. B) It’s very simple to sell and promote using Social Ladder. C) They have a great team that is willing to work with you and they constantly improve their program based on feedback from the ambassadors. 

E: SocialLadder is a closely knit organization that I’m so grateful to be a part of. I love the positivity that we contribute as a team to the community. We came for the music, and we stay for the friendships we find in each other! 

C: SocialLadder was my first experience in being an ambassador for a music festival. As a marketing professional, it gave me a better understanding of another aspect of the live event industry. While I already enjoyed sharing my passion for festivals with others, being able to claim unique experiences is a welcomed bonus.

Thank you Dylan, Erin, and Christian! Ready to build your community?

Q&A With Cotopaxi’s Paisley Wildman

Founded in 2014, Cotopaxi is an outdoor apparel and equipment start-up focused on creating Gear for Good. At the heart of their mission is supporting the spirit of adventure in a structure that seamlessly blends product and philanthropy. With over 250 brand ambassadors, Cotopaxi has built an active, engaged community of fans that help propel the brand’s mission. We had a chance to interview Cotopaxi’s Social Media Manager, Paisley Wildman, on the brand’s approach to cultivating a community focused on adventure and making the world a better place.

Dometic_Does_Baja_DrewMartin_LowRes_817 copyWhat is your role at Cotopaxi and what does your day-to-day look like?

I’m the Social Media Manager at Cotopaxi. My main responsibility is to represent the Cotopaxi brand on social media channels, including campaign creation and management, responding to messages, and leading our ambassador program. I also curate user-generated content for use in email and website displays, and coordinate PR and strategic product placement opportunities.

How have you had to adjust your organic marketing strategies and what new challenges are you facing now?

The most immediate shift we had to face with COVID-19 was in our messaging around adventure. Prior to the pandemic, much of our organic marketing incorporated adventure travel around the globe. We’d meshed seasonal marketing campaigns for product lines with immersive travel experiences; For example, last fall we went to Colombia to shoot our new products, and earlier this spring we were in beautiful Argentina. Quickly, around-the-globe adventures became a no-go, so that meant adjusting our approach. Fortunately, adventure can be found in many ways. Through a community engagement campaign around our repurposed Del Da line, an at-home version of our Questival Adventure Race, our #OneUtah campaign to help those locally on the front lines of the pandemic and a few other initiatives, we were able to shift our course and accommodate the “new normal”. Moving forward, we will certainly continue to be challenged by the shifting status quo. 

Can you give some insight into the ambassador program at Cotopaxi and how you’ve been able to build and maintain such strong relationships with them?

Currently, we have over 250 ambassadors ranging from influencers with millions of followers to micro-influencers, or “advocates” with only hundreds. No matter how big or small their audience, each one of our ambassadors plays an important role in our program. I feel extremely fortunate to have built relationships with all of them, and to feel a genuine connection between them and our brand. At the end of the day, what perpetuates the success of this program is our mission. Cotopaxi’s commitment towards creating sustainable products, alleviating poverty, and inspiring adventure is what unites people from all walks of life around the Cotopaxi brand, and that authenticity is what enables our ambassadorships to resonate with wider audiences. 

How does the Cotopaxi mission affect the way you think about and interact with your community? 

We believe in the power of adventure to make the world a better place. Everything we do as a company boils down to that mission, and our community knows to expect that. It’s easy to throw around a catchphrase like “Do Good”, but we feel a great responsibility to walk the walk. From our supply chain to our company culture and giving model, we see business as an opportunity to make a positive impact. Through our interactions with consumers, we aim to convey that same level of responsibility and optimism. Simply selling products isn’t good enough anymore, and we’re lucky to have a community of conscious citizens that recognize that there’s better ways of doing business than what was once accepted. 

Our team has been really inspired by the content Cotopaxi has been driving — what has been your favorite community engagement initiative in the last few months and how did it come together?

My favorite campaign I’ve led over the last few months is our Día By Día Challenge, an initiative encouraging our audience to share creative ways to use Del Dia packs. The idea was designed to engage our community around an uplifting initiative and make people smile amidst a time of chaos. We asked for fun, quirky and unique submissions with rewards offered to the top submissions as voted on by our whole team. The content they delivered was epic. From a DIY home-gym setup to a toilet paper holder to a homemade Chinchilla-sized fanny pack, their challenge submissions were highly memorable. Not only did we succeed in bringing our audience together around the challenge, the Cotopaxi team had a great time judging the submissions. It brought us a sense of togetherness in an otherwise isolating time and was a happy reminder just how incredible and dedicated our community is.

What are some trends you’re seeing now in building customer relationships that you think will last?

I’m seeing more and more brands push towards transparency, which I think is so important right now and always. Behind-the-scenes content, employee spotlights, (a lot of) Instagram Lives, AMAs: brands are embracing their humanity in a time when it’s more appreciated than ever and our human desire to connect is at an all time high. I think this focus on authenticity will stick around as the polished facade of traditional marketing becomes increasingly unrelatable.

Thank you Paisley! 

Q&A With Michelle Cordeiro Grant, Founder & CEO of LIVELY

2016.3.16_Lively_Headshots6892_color (1)LIVELY, one of the fastest growing lingerie startups, built their brand on the foundation of community. With over 100,000 brand ambassadors, LIVELY is home to a thriving community of women that have helped shape the brand’s approach to everything from the content they create to the products they launch. 

We had a chance to get to know more about LIVELY’s approach to community, COVID, and the future with their CEO & Founder, Michelle Cordeiro Grant.

What is your role at LIVELY and what does your day-to-day look like?

Michelle Cordeiro Grant, Founder & CEO at LIVELY.  

There’s no typical “day-to-day,” at a startup, but I’m still trying to keep the same routines now as I did prior to COVID-19. I still wake up every morning at 6:30 a.m. to have a coffee and fit a quick workout in, which is what I did when I was going into the office. The only difference is I’ve turned my commute time into time to do an activity with my kids, which looks different every day – it can be baking, doing projects or even just sitting down and chatting with them. That’s been really special for us and it helps keep our environment calm, normal and exciting. After that, I’ll sign on for the day to see where LIVELY is at – checking our sales data, catching up with the team on marketing initiatives, and checking in on production and inventory, to name a few things. I’ve also continued my “walk and talk” routine on days when I have a lot of calls. This method helps me to be more present, and it gives my mind and creativity the boost it needs to help keep me going throughout the day.

How important is empathy and purpose in your approach to connecting with your brand’s community?

LIVELY’s M.O. is empowering women to live life passionately, purposefully, and confidently. To that end, we are always reaching out to our community to understand where their interests and passions lie so we can ensure we’re always serving up content, products, and experiences that speak to them. Our 100K+ Ambassadors are core to everything we do, and this community is a two-way street. Because of their enthusiasm about what we’re doing, we can really amplify social media and word-of-mouth efforts beyond our own marketing channels to reach women all over the U.S. 

Can you give some insight into how the ambassador community started at LIVELY and how you’ve been able to grow it to over 100,000 ambassadors?

Before even having a product or a brand, LIVELY focused on building a community. Prior to launch, we hosted Airbnb focus groups to understand what women were looking for in the lingerie category, and we also began creating a movement on social media featuring inspirational quotes and images, which generated a flood of DMs and comments from women asking how they could be a part of what we were building. Although we’ve evolved to accommodate the incredible growth in our network, we’ve remained committed to connecting with our community on their terms, through Instagram, events, and other mediums.

With such a large community of ambassadors, how are you keeping them engaged and connected not only to the LIVELY brand, but also to each other? 

We regularly reach out to them directly to ask them what they want to see in upcoming product launches, events, content, etc. We also feature them in our emails and social media, as well as give them a platform to share their own passions and interests. You’ll see our Ambassadors hosting events in our stores (when they were open), and also leading workshops and tutorials on our Instagram content series called “#LivingLIVELY At Home.” We also have a Facebook group where they can interact, and we’re constantly thinking up new ways to connect them with one another. 

 How has your strategy shifted to adapt to the current climate? Do you see these trends lasting in the long run?

As customers began spending all of their time at home, we immediately switched all of our content, messaging, and marketing to focus on comfort and being at home. With that, we pivoted from a brand that would right now be focused on our swimwear category into one that is all about lounge and comfy bras and bralettes. By putting ourselves in the mindset of the consumer we were able to completely switch our messaging and lean into loungewear to accommodate their needs.

Additionally, we’ve introduced a new bundles feature on our website. Keeping our customer top-of-mind, one thing we’re pushing to innovate is convenience: as customers are spending more and more time on their phones, we wanted to figure out how we could make that shopping experience even more seamless. Up until this point, we’ve offered bundles where customers could buy 2 bras for $60, and 3 for $80, but shoppers would have to separately add products to their cart in order for the promotion to activate. To help make the experience as easy and accessible as possible, we’ve moved bundles to the forefront of the site, creating packs that customers can easily add in one go. Since introducing it we’ve seen a significant positive shift in the business – it’s a small tweak but it goes a long way.

Lastly, we quickly transformed what would have been our in-store events to engaging social media content through “#LivingLIVELY At Home”, our IG series where we’re creating content each week ranging from female founder chats and skincare routines to cooking tutorials and workouts, to keep our community engaged and serve as an underlying point of positivity for them. We also recently launched the second season of LIVELY’s podcast No Makeup Needed, where we’re bringing the mentor coffee date straight to your headphones by sitting down with empowered women we know our community will look up to. We also launched our virtual styling sessions to replace in-store fit sessions, where customers can connect with LIVELY fit experts through 30-minute virtual sessions to get product recommendations and figure out what sizes and styles are best for them based on their personal needs. 

What do you think is in store for the future of word-of-mouth marketing?

Consumers are going to be very intentional with their purchases and will go back to brands they felt prioritized them during this time. Other brands will need to lean into the idea of being flexible, agile and community-first if they weren’t already – it’s not about changing your core products or your core values, it’s about what you’re leaning into and your messaging and tone.

 
Thank you, Michelle! To learn more about LIVELY, visit them at wearlively.com or on Instagram.