New SocialLadder Feature: In-App Chat

We’re happy to announce the launch of our latest in-app feature – SocialLadder Chat

This new feature helps to further streamline communication by making it easier for program Admins and app users to communicate with each other directly through the SocialLadder app. As an Admin, use the Chat to share important information with your team, provide support for any questions asked, and connect with your team in a more direct and personal setting. 

To access the Chat feature on the SocialLadder app, click on the message icon next to the bell icon at the top right-hand corner of your program area. Create a new message, select the user(s) you’d like to message and begin your conversation within seconds!

 

 

The In-App Chat supports:

  • Direct message and group message chat from app to app
    • Program Admins to users
    • Users to users
  • Standard emojis
  • Ability to see other users typing 
  • Time-stamped message tracking
  • Search users by name when creating a chat
    • Sorted by Admins, Friends (your friends in the program), and Everyone else
  • Notifications
    • In-App notification in the program area
    • Push notification of message details when outside of the app
  • Share and open direct links from conversations
  • Service required to view past conversations

For more information about the SocialLadder Chat capabilities, Request a Demo.

Streamlined Communication for Success

Good and effective communication is an essential tool in achieving productivity in any ambassador program and is crucial for maintaining strong, lasting relationships with your individual ambassadors. Marketers who commit to establishing clear and streamlined communication with their ambassador teams will surely succeed at building trust, maintaining accountability, and growing the community in an organic and meaningful way.  

There are a few challenges when it comes to establishing a good foundation for effective communication. For one, tracking a conversation or action item can become a logistical nightmare. The standard manual and digital tools that companies may use to communicate with ambassadors often lack the ability to successfully track the progress of individuals while also allowing them to assign new tasks. This can be overcome by investing in a solid analytics and reporting tool that tracks and measures the progress of ambassadors, while simultaneously giving the ambassadors themselves an easy way to collaborate and demonstrate that their tasks are complete and successful.

Streamlined communication also requires welcoming feedback and suggestions in addition to praise. Communication in ambassador programs for many companies is one-sided, possibly relying on generic emails or static newsletters. So yet another challenge is to maintain an organized program while giving ambassadors the sense that they are part of a collaborative community, and working on behalf of a company that values their ambassadors’ unique engagement and feedback. 

Brands should consider providing a forum for an open dialogue between the brand and its ambassadors to help build and maintain rapport between HQ and the team. Opening a two-way communication channel with your ambassadors will help brands create a strong sense of belonging within the community. Such a channel also offers direct feedback and a flow of creative ideas that will keep your ambassador program innovative and on message.

SocialLadder includes the following features to achieve streamlined communication and to make sure your brand ambassador community is thriving and not dying on the vine:

  • In-App Ambassador newsfeed with real-time activity & conversation
  • Push Notifications linked to challenges, rewards, & pertinent information
  • Quick access to information like handbooks, Google drive documents, videos, and more
  • In-App Chat Feature

It’s with these tools that running a successful brand ambassador program becomes possible-providing a solution for streamlined communication, and giving your community the power to deliver your message while communicating with each other. 

 

Coming soon…SocialLadder Chat

Launching August 2019

Communication is the key to any successful community, so SocialLadder is excited to announce the launch of SocialLadder Chat. 

This new feature helps to further streamline communication by making it easier for admins, team leads and ambassadors to engage with each other directly through the SocialLadder app and record all conversations in the admin portal.

Ambassadors can communicate with each other, reach out with questions directly to admins, and even create group messages right inside of their SocialLadder app! Admins can initiate chats with their teams directly through the app as well.

 

 

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.

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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!

Share the Love: 5 Tips to Boost Customer Referrals

The concept is simple: You have customers. Your customers have friends. Your customers’ friends probably “walk alike, talk alike.” In fact, they most likely like a lot of the same things — clothing, travel, social causes, Instagram posts, events etc.

You with me? It’s pretty simple. If your customers like your products, then their friends will too!

What do you think of when you hear “word of mouth marketing?” If you just said “social media” to yourself, you’re not alone, but it doesn’t start and end there.

Word of mouth is actually more powerful when it happens in the real world too.

In fact, the Word of Mouth Marketing Association found that two-thirds of all referred purchases come from real world recommendations, vs. one-third that are discovered online. Recommendations made by people are 10 times more powerful than impersonal ones. Need more convincing?

92% of consumers trust referrals from people they know.

So why isn’t everyone doing it — and doing it well?  The truth is that “referral marketing” isn’t easy … and it’s so much more than automated referral links and pre-populated spammy messages for your customers to annoy their friends with on their social pages.

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But with a little planning, finding the right customers, and then giving them the tools to make referrals online AND <<drum roll please>> in the REAL WORLD … You will be able to turn your business into the next $1 Billion Brand.

Inspired by the book Word of Mouth Marketing: How Smart Companies Get People Talking, here are 5 tips to get your customers talking:

  1. Talkers

Find your most authentic voices and actually talk to them. Understand why they love your product and how they talk about it to their friends.

I’m the talker in my friend circle. If I find something and it works, I tell everyone I know — and often who I don’t know — everything I know about it. All of my friends now subscribe to SunBasket, own a VitaMix, have been to Iceland, and wear Allbirds to work.

You don’t have to use discounts or product; things like early-bird access and newsletters often attract people like me who are authentically your most valuable customers and want to learn more or just support your brand. Using these “incentives” makes it easier to collect their contact information, which means you have a more personal way to engage them.

  1. Topics

Using real the feedback you get from real customers makes it easier to engage a larger audience more authentically. Create topics for your Talkers to organically talk about based on the topics they are interested in.

Niyama Sol ambassadors, for example, were asked: “Take a photo of yourself in your favorite place to do yoga on your personal Instagram.” Hundreds of real people shared their story to their friends and the brand saw lift quickly.

  1. Tools

Create an easy format for you and them.

Getting 10 customers to talk and spread the word about your brand to their friends is manageable; 100 customers a little harder; 1,000+ customers and it won’t scale unless you have the right tools in place.

One more time … MAKE IT EASY … You will thank me later.

Don’t complicate it for your customers. Add a sign-up link to your website and automate an invitation to join the ambassador program when a customer makes a purchase. Once they have joined, keep making it easy — give them access to your brand’s story, referral links, and topics to stimulate their storytelling about your brand.

Ensure that they are able to share their unique referral link or code and tell their story quickly on as many platforms as possible without any hassle. This includes social media channels like WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+, and the like.

  1. Taking Part

Great. You have them talking the talk, now you need to show them that you can walk the walk … WITH them.

You want people to purchase your product without having to convince them. So the only way to do this is to make sure you are listening and engaging with your Talkers, and then rewarding them for authentically spreading the love about your product in the real world to their friends.

Make sure you make it easy for your Talkers to talk to you and encourage them to give you feedback. Big retailers like Sephora, Amazon and Nordstrom ask every customer to leave a review.

If they ask a question, you answer.

If they have a suggestion, you listen.

If they had a bad experience, you get a chance to fix it.

  1. Tracking

Understanding the data behind what is working and who is working the best for your brand is important.

You will find that some of the best Talkers don’t feel comfortable sharing a referral link online, but they will talk to anyone who listens in the real world. Or you may find that some of your customers are great content creators with high engagement, but they don’t see themselves as an “influence.”

Reward them & engage with them equally.

These are your “diamonds in the rough.” Love them and hold onto them dearly. They will intrinsically help you attract more people like them and are the best advertising investment you can make.

HOW THE MET PHILADELPHIA GOT BOOTS ON THE GROUND

Word-of-mouth is the biggest part of fan discovery, but it isn’t always online

The Metropolitan Opera House, Philadelphia’s recently restored Live Nation venue, reopened its doors after a massive transformation at the end of 2018 as a state-of-the-art venue, kicking off the season with a grand opening that had Bob Dylan on the marquee.

The venue, a historic landmark in North Philadelphia, was originally built 110 years ago. After operating as everything from the site of radio broadcasts to a church, it eventually closed its doors in the late 1990s. Two decades later, the Met was in need of a new owner with a big vision and some TLC.

In December 2018, after undergoing a $56 million renovation, The Met emerged with a killer lineup — Bob Dylan, John Legend, Mariah Carey and more — but like many new venues they needed help spreading their name in order to be rediscovered.

Starting from scratch, the Met took a grassroots approach to promotion over the summer of 2018 to drive buzz around their opening and generate excitement in the region. In order to do this, the Met worked with SocialLadder to build promotions from the ground up. Street teams and grassroots marketing groups were deployed in the Met’s nearby areas, putting boots on the ground in the pulse of their neighborhood.

With SocialLadder’s help, they were able to recruit and mobilize these teams, create accountability in the field, and track all activity from one system. This resulted in the creation of an actionable network of ambassadors that could be leveraged year round, and a full room opening night and beyond.

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The #1 reason people don’t attend events is because they don’t know they exist. Here are our 3 tips for having a successful street team to cut through the surrounding noise and get your events on your neighborhood’s radar:

  1. Make reporting easy
    • Team reporting is important data, but its collection shouldn’t be a tedious task; make this simple for both your team and yourself.
  2. Keep your goals attainable
    • Assigning tasks that are both fun and realistic will keep your team engaged and motivated
  3. Fans of your venue are your strongest advocates
    • Identify your top fans – the people who know your venue best – and activate them into promotional voices

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.

 

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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!

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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!

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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.

How To: Sell Out Your Conference!

 

How do you sell out a conference? Your strategies might differ from those employed by other types of events. In this post, SocialLadder will provide you with some tips and tricks for conference promotion that will have you on your way to selling out your event!

  • Start Early: Everything should start early: planning, organizing, and promoting. If you have your marketing materials in place ahead of time, you can start offering early bird tickets; it gets people thinking and talking about your event, and also gives the event-goers who already know that they would like to attend the chance to get purchasing tickets off of their to-do list.

  • Offer Cheap Ticket Options: Conferences tend to fall on the more expensive side, so promoting discounted or cheap tickets is a good way to call attention to the event and get tickets sold. As mentioned above, early bird tickets are a great way to get interested parties to your event who would otherwise not be able to afford it; you might also offer discounted tickets for a single day of your event, or even just the keynote timeslot. Consider running an ambassador program to give interested attendees a chance to earn free tickets in return for promoting your event and selling tickets!

  • Have A Ticket Giveaway Contest:  Along the same lines as offering cheap tickets, you can use a ticket giveaway contest as an opportunity to promote the conference. Whereas other types of events might run a lottery here, conferences might consider running a fun or challenging competition aligned with the theme of the conference.

  • Don’t Neglect Social Media: Social media is a powerful tool when it comes to promotion, but many conferences do only the bare minimum. It’s not enough these days to simply have a Facebook page and a corresponding event; a good game plan puts your brand on platforms like Instagram and LinkedIn as well, with content going out year-round and ramping up in advance of your event.

  • Use Your Panelists: Your event has a built-in word-of-mouth promotion team, whether you’re using it or not. Your panelists and presenters should be reaching out to their entire network to get their fans,  friends and family to see them speak. Consider using a brand ambassador solution like SocialLadder to catalyze this natural process and organize it into a true sales machine!

  • The Fear Of Missing Out: FOMO is quite real, and moreso in 2018 than ever! Exclusivity and necessity are the name of the game here. Can you offer your attendees the feeling that they’ve got the inside edge from attending your conference? Make sure that your event is well-photographed and recorded; a good “afterglow” being spread around on social media is key to fomenting some FOMO around your next event!

 

Of course, the backbone of your event will be your presentations, panels, and activities, but solid promotional strategy is the key to growth. Selling out is an ambitious goal – but if you’re just entering the live event arena, you should be shooting for the stars anyway! Good luck!

Click here to read more about the benefits of having an ambassador program!