Why You Should Engage Your Ambassadors Year-Round

If you’ve been keeping up with this blog, you know the power that ambassadors can have in helping to promote your upcoming events. From ticket selling to field marketing to social media posts, your ambassadors are not only your biggest fans but also your biggest advocates. 

You spend time building this engaged community, so why let the momentum slow just because your event has ended? 

By engaging your ambassador community year round, you can not only continue to generate buzz about your brand, but you can gather valuable consumer feedback & insights to make your next event even better. 

Here are 3 ways ambassadors can improve your marketing efforts 365 days a year:

  1. Organic content creation 

Ever heard of #ThrowbackThursday? Chances are your ambassadors have taken tons of photos and videos during your event. Encourage them to share their own content throughout the year to show all their friends what a great time they had as they begin planning for the next.

2. Ambassador spotlights

Your ambassadors have put in the work and vouched for your event, why not show them some love? . Use the time in-between events to give props to your community. Showcase some of your top sellers and social stars to bring attention to the program make your ambassadors feel like they’re really a part of your brand. You can even check out some of our own spotlights here for some inspiration.

3. Get feedback

Looking to get some ideas for  next year’s lineup or new merch offerings? Look no further than your ambassadors! Push out post-event surveys and polls to get insight into what your fans actually want to see as you prepare for the next event. And then put those initiatives into action! 

 

Digital Marketing for Cannabis: A Roundabout to Regulations

According to the 2019 edition of the Marijuana Business Factbook, “retail sales of medical and recreational cannabis in the United States are on pace to eclipse $12 billion by the end of 2019 – an increase of roughly 35% over 2018 – and could rise as high as $30 billion by 2023.” With these staggering numbers in sight, the pressure remains for cannabis brands to aggressively reach their audiences via social media, by building a community through social platforms.

But with federal regulations in (both Canada and) the US restricting and monitoring the promotion of cannabis, strict social media advertising guidelines are supresive, and unlikely to change anytime soon. 

With cannabis brands being limited to a lifestyle and educational approach what is a cannabis brand to do to stand out to consumers?

Cannabis_NL_July19

Rather than a traditional retail approach, cannabis brands need a strategy & the right tools to reach audiences organically, and communicate their branding messages to even larger audiences, more and more cannabis companies are building brand ambassador teams to help them educate budtenders and consumers. 

A brand ambassador program enables cannabis companies to: 

  • Amplify user-generated content creation & organic chatter
  • Manage on-site Dispensary representatives
  • Grow customer acquisition
  • Drive sales to specific eCommerce or brick and mortar locations 
  • Build a trusted relationship with ambassadors through a rewards program  

With a SocialLadder ambassador management program in play, Cannabis brands will be able to stay true to compliance while growing the brand and improving engagement with consumers through social media.

Turning Your Early Birds Into Your Top Advocates

5 Tips for Turning Your Buyers into Sellers

With all of the noise out there, consumers trust “marketing” less and less, so if you don’t know who your best customers are and then are turning them into your sales engine, you are missing out.

Let’s use the live event space to paint the picture. Buying an early bird ticket certainly has its advantages for music fans especially because it locks in the lowest price. For event promoters, it means they have fans who are committed to attending.

Being an “ambassador” might not feel like the right fit for everyone. But marketers who ease their audience into ambassador programs by building trust with their biggest advocates tend to have the most success.

171209_Rakastella_0596

Here are the five keys to a successful early-bird campaign with SocialLadder:

1. DELIVER A GREAT PRODUCT 

This is the first thing, and the only thing to focus on. Without it, your customers won’t trust you and if there’s no trust, in the long run, there will be no product.

2. IDENTIFY YOUR ROCKSTARS 

Every great brand has a rockstar customer. The ones who adopt early and then spreads the word quickly. They are your “diamonds in the rough”. These are the people that trust your brand so much that they don’t even wait for the festival lineup to drop or for a celebrity to endorse it.  These are the Talkers and Planners … and they like to talk … A LOT. Marketers who can identify these people early will win big because they will help organizers expand their reach & drive awareness without cannibalizing sales.

3. BUILD A RELATIONSHIP

Understanding the needs and values of your buyers is important because it gives you the ability to create experiences for your fans. Fans who engage authentically and commit to ticket buying early will be a good temperature gauge for what to expect against your overall sales results. By getting up front real-time data you can inform other marketing efforts with the insights you gain through advanced reporting. Imagine the targeting you could do if you knew all of the brands or artists your fans were following?

4. ENHANCE WITH EXPERIENCES NOT CASH

Once in a lifetime fan-focused experiences will keep fans intrinsically motivated to spread the word about your lineup, onsite experiences & ticket price increases. Come up with rewards that will be a true motivator for your fans, but keep in mind that the greatest rewards can be something that shows the appreciation you truly have for your fans. Beyond Wonderland — for example — offered Insomniac fans a chance to hang backstage with their CEO Pasquale Rotella.

5. REWARD THE BIGGEST VOICES

So you’ve lined up fan-focused rewards and figured out who your Planners are, now it’s time to boost the organic chatter so you can pull back on your digital spend and get more REAL fans talking. Take the time to align your marketing calendar with your ambassadors and your word of mouth buzz will takeoff.  Imagine Festival, for example, generated over 3 thousand unique pieces of Instagram content, reaching nearly 4 million people. Imagine that!

Imagine That: It’s Not Just About Ticket Sales!

In 2018, Imagine Music Festival was met with a critical decision. Their first option was to continue to power their ambassador program with the same tool they had used historically, an option that was focused solely on ticket sales.

Or…  

Imagine had an opportunity to engage outside-the-box thinking and select a new program that would maximize ambassador team efforts through a highly-engaged network of music fans, social media integration, and advanced field marketing tools.

The choice might have been difficult, but the outcome was clear! On-boarding SocialLadder (and stepping away from the expected approach) proved wildly successful for their fans and paid off in a big way for Imagine. Not only did it give their ambassador manager the tools to track the team, it also gave the fans a fun way to stay engaged.

tickets-banner-1260x500

What were the keys to Imagine’s success? Utilizing the “ImagineNation” street team alongside the SocialLadder network allowed SocialLadder to run in tandem with the festival’s competitive ambassador program.

Similarly, the vast SocialLadder toolkit was used in driving social media engagement, field marketing, and innovative rewards that resulted in the following intrinsic upside for fan ambassadors:

  1. Fans were brought together in a cohesive, active fan-focused community
  2. The program helped to widen fans’ reach and social circles
  3. Fans were rewarded with elevated experiences for their efforts

And for Imagine, the increased engagement resulted in a program that produced THREE TIMES the ticket sales revenue than the competitor’s campaign did.

gallery-group-2-536x449

The biggest win for the promoters was that 80% of the ticket sold by ambassadors to their friends were NEW ticket sales by buyers who had never purchased a ticket before.

The results were staggering:

  1. 682 Ambassadors Completed 16,673 fan engagement challenges
  2. In 100 days, more than 22 Million native social impressions were generated
  3. SocialLadder ambassadors were responsible for nearly $800K in ticket revenue

Optimizing the ambassador experience was a key driver in the success of the SocialLadder Imagine Festival program. SocialLadder made it fun for fans to be ambassadors. By giving fans more than just selling tasks, they were able to be rewarded for being active and engaged in the community.

Top ambassadors unlocked once in a lifetime experiences that will ensure their return in 2019.

The biggest headliner you’ve never heard of

Think about your group of friends. There’s usually that one person who always seems to be coming up with something to do — picking the restaurant, finding a new destination, or suggesting the next festival to attend. This is the planner — the one who convinces you to do something you may have no idea how to do and makes sure you have the time of your life doing it. Planners are the most important person to any event organizer, and luckily there is a way for organizers to harness their power and reward them for all of their hard work.

Firefly Music Festival realized the power of these fans and wanted to find a way to make them feel like they were a part of the festival’s planning process as a whole. By harnessing the power of natural planners, Firefly was able to create a robust program of 1,600 fans who became their biggest advocates. Then, using gamification, Firefly challenged these fans to start doing what they do best — round up their fans and make the plans.

stPdTC0s4dTqBrFWjRL3fbTreEx9oZi849hHUu0R.jpeg

In just 90 days, these superfans rounded up over 2,000 of their friends to attend the festival and generated 13 million+ impressions by creating content and sharing their tips for how to experience the festival better.

By creating a “home” for the planners, festival organizers were able to say “thank you” to these valuable fans by making them the headliners — hooking them up with elevated experiences that are generally reserved for the artists and sponsors like backstage passes & VIP camping upgrades.

So next time you’re stressing about finding the big name to bring people to your event, don’t forget about the real headliner: the planner.

Need help identifying them? Ask us!

BREAKING NEWS: Ambassador Programs Drive Results

STUDY SHOWS THAT MORE THAN 80% OF AMBASSADOR SALES ARE TO FIRST TIME BUYERS

MYTH: Ambassador programs cannibalize sales.

FACT: SocialLadder ambassadors sell 80%+ NEW sales for brand partners.

SocialLadder ran a study of two repeat festival partners — Lights All Night, an electronic festival in Dallas, and 515 Alive, a hip-hop festival in Des Moines. Two communities of different fans in different locations with the same results.

Of all sales made by SocialLadder ambassadors for these two festivals, an average of 83.5% were NEW sales, purchased by first-time buyers.

 

48019

515 Alive

A few tips for how your brand can find new buyers:

      1. Build a community of authentic ambassadors

Festivals are always a reunion with friends I consider family. They’ve changed my life and who I am. They’ve taught me the meaning of community!”  –Nikki Breslauer, April Ambassador of the Month

The fan journey is the most important part of the festival experience. When a fan opts into being an ambassador, you want them to feel like they are part of a community that they can relate to and feel special about. Ultimately, they are going to be helping your brand extend its reach to their friends, so make them feel like family. When ambassadors don’t feel like they are promoting alone, their overall experience is reported as being better.

      2. Convert Your Customers

The best ambassadors are people who have already purchased your product — especially early-bird or presale buyers. These are the folks who are already committed to attending your event or who have experienced your brand — which makes them your biggest fans and thus most likely to help you reach new fans (aka their friends & family).

SocialLadder is able to help brand marketers capitalize on this by automating emails to customers encouraging them to personally invite their friends to buy.

      3. Align marketing strategy with ambassador team tasks

63% of marketers interviewed in The Pulse Report: 2019 Industry Trends said that word-of-mouth was an effective strategy, and 49% said that social media — especially Facebook and Instagram — is an effective strategy to drive ticket sales. Aligning your marketing calendar with ambassador tasks is a great way to reduce your paid media spend and get ambassadors to help you spread the word — ultimately boosting your content to their personal following.

     4. Use rewards to motivate your ambassadors

What’s more hype than an exclusive afterparty or VIP tickets to your favorite festival? Using fan experiences like artist passes, free tickets and exclusive merchandise are great ways to boost fan engagement and to say “thank you” to ambassadors for their hard work. Make it easy for fans to promote your brand by providing them with sample social media posts, email messages, images, logos, event descriptions, event hashtags, and any other brand assets that will make it as easy as possible for them to spread the word, and in return earn points to unlock priceless experiences.

     5. Track results

In addition to making it easier for marketing directors to track ambassador activities, SocialLadder’s integration with e-commerce platforms like Shopify and Eventbrite enbles brand marketers to track the overall effectiveness of programs and view data to see which sales are new sales. Understanding what your customers enjoy and how they engage their friends is an important part of the marketer’s journey and an even more important factor in building a long-lasting relationship with your customers.

Export and View Ambassador Submission Location Data in Google Maps

Get acquainted with SocialLadder’s updated Google Map Export feature!

We’ve recently overhauled and improved a longstanding SocialLadder feature that allows portal users to view submissions to certain challenge types as map data in Google Maps. Because SocialLadder automatically tracks location data for submissions to these challenge types, each submission can be viewed as a location pin with additional attached information!

mappost1

This feature is perfect for event organizers running postering & flyering campaigns. You’ll be able to view all postered locations from a bird’s-eye view and adjust your campaigns accordingly, or comb through your submissions retrospectively to put together a new plan of attack for next year.

You can track your ambassadors’ submissions to relevant challenge types using SocialLadder’s Reporting feature. By simply exporting the Google Drive Map Export Data and importing it into a new Google Map, you’ll have all of your ambassadors’ submissions & location data at your fingertips!

mappost2

This information will help you strategize your current and future postering & flyering campaigns. Other SocialLadder program organizers may find it useful just to get a sense of where their ambassadors are from and where they are active!

SocialLadder program organizers can learn more about accessing and using this feature over at the SocialLadder Knowledge Base.

If you’d like to learn more about how this feature can help you run a successful ambassador program on SocialLadder, request a demo here.

Track Your Community’s Instagram Engagement Metrics & Expand Your Social Media Reach

Introducing our new Instagram Engagement Feature!

We just rolled out a tool that will change the way you track your Instagram metrics. Our new report allows organizers to track the “Likes” & “Comments” of each post an ambassador makes on Instagram.

This feature is perfect for brands who need to track their influencers’ post reach or event promoters who want to know the engagement their ambassadors received on their latest show announcement.

Screen Shot 2019-02-04 at 3.03.24 PM.pngWant 10% off Niyama Sol products? Use discount code SOCIALLADDER19 at www.niyamasol.com

You can track your ambassadors’ Instagram engagement across your SocialLadder program and use that data to better understand your community’s interests and behaviors. With 3 simple clicks, organizers can export a report that pulls their users’ Likes, Comments, Engagement Rate, & Followers for Instagram.

This information will help you connect with your current advocates, as well as strategize to fully expand the reach of your brand on Instagram and beyond.

Are you ready to grow your Instagram and track your community’s engagement? Reach out to your SocialLadder rep today to get started.

Request a demo here.

Startup SocialLadder’s new deal with Ticketmaster division is a ‘big win’

Philadelphia tech startup SocialLadder is moving up another rung, announcing Monday the company, which connects live event promoters with more than 150,000 brand ambassadors to drive ticket sales, landed a major deal with a division of Live Nation’s Ticketmaster.

CEO and Co-Founder Raavi Iqbal said it has partnered with the entertainment conglomerate’s event ticketing site Universe to integrate its SocialLadder ambassador platform into the process of setting up an event.

Now, when an organizer creates an event on Universe and wants to promote it, it has two buttons to click — Facebook or SocialLadder.

“That’s a big win,” Iqbal said.

The partnership comes a little over a year since SocialLadder landed a similar deal with EventBrite, the leading do-it-yourself ticketing platform in the U.S.

Since then, Iqbal said the SocialLadder’s gotten “a lot of great new business from [the EventBrite partnership,]” he said. “Events of all sizes have been using us through the integration and continue to use us now. Hopefully we’ll see the same thing from Universe.”

SocialLadder earns its revenue from a 10 percent commission it charges based on each ticket sold through one of its ambassadors. In exchange for leveraging their networks, ambassadors are enticed to promote events with incentives like backstage passes.

The platform can integrate with any e-commerce or ticketing platform, but the deals it landed with EventBrite and Universe, where it’s represented right on the site in front of event organizers, is the highest level of integration it offers.

Iqbal said the company is aiming to repeat the same kind of partnership with other major ticketing platforms, a space that’s far more fragmented than people realize, as well as expand beyond live events.

It has the cash to do so, having closed a $1.5 million last funding round in February after beinning to raise funds at the end of 2017. It set a record at the Philadelphia Alliance for Capital and Technologies’ (PACT) Lions Den — the pitch competition at its annual capital conference — by raising $800,000 there last year, and it went on to raise further funds from previous investors including former Facebook COO Owen Van Natta. Delaware Crossing Investor Group also joined in the round. To date, SocialLadder’s raised $2.5 million.

Its funding will also be a help as SocialLadder seeks out a new headquarters. It’s currently operating out of the University City Science Center and Drexel University’s ic@3401 coworking space but having grown to a team of nearly 20 people, Iqbal said the startup is in the midst of looking for its own dedicated office space in the city, hoping to fill about 2,500 square feet.


Article originally written by Michelle Caffrey for Philadelphia Business Journal.

 

Peet-To-Peer Marleting SocialLadderBlog

Behind the Peer-to-Peer Marketing Revolution

 

The personal recommendation of a friend – whether it be for an event, service, or product – has a strong persuasive effect. Unlike company advertisements, the close connections we have with people who are part of our personal lives prime us to view the information as coming from a reliable source. This is the idea behind peer-to-peer marketing, and the operative principle of its success.

In this age of technology, the market landscape where businesses employed methods reliant on passive consumerism is undergoing a change. The digital age is decentralizing the one-way top-down relationship that businesses had with consumers, and power is rapidly shifting towards the hands of consumers. The result of this is a peer-to-peer marketing revolution.

According to Nielsen, people are 4x more likely to make a purchase when referred by a friend.

Through social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, businesses can actively engage and interact with their consumers. People can comment, like and share their opinions with other people who are interested in a product or service they have tried. An increasing number of people rely on customer reviews of businesses, products, services and events to guide their purchasing decisions.

Engaging with key influencers, consumers and fans makes customers feel valued and respected as individuals [Marketingland]. When customers feels like they are valued, this fosters long-term trust and loyalty which is the foundation for long-term relationship with your customers.

 

 

Tinuke

 

Tinuke​ ​Akintayo​ is an intern at SocialLadder. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology and Anthropology at Swarthmore College as part of the class of 2018. During her free time, she enjoys dancing, listening to music and drawing