What’s the Difference? Understanding Word of Mouth Marketing

john-schnobrich-2FPjlAyMQTA-unsplashIn a world where the digital connection is essential for growing businesses, word of mouth marketing is becoming more reliable than traditional advertising. But over the years, word of mouth marketing has evolved, and it now takes multiple forms — all of which are similar but apply different approaches to customer acquisition.

Word of mouth marketing is essential in today’s culture of viral content, as its ability to generate buzz far beyond its initial point of contact is immensely efficient. Below are some of the basics to navigating word of mouth marketing in 2020 and beyond so your brand can take advantage of reducing your digital media spend and increasing your lowest CAC channel — organic marketing.

Referral Marketing VS Affiliate Marketing

Referral marketing is a way for brands to incentivize passionate customers in exchange for spreading their love of your brand to their friends and family. This is often done by offering rewards or discounts in exchange for a referral to their friends and family. 

This form of marketing creates a win-win because it greatly benefits both the passionate customer as well as the brand — the customer provides the extra traffic, and the brand provides the customer with types of rewards that drive brand loyalty.

Affiliate marketing relies on third-party brand advocates (who may or may not be customers) — often publishers with a large reach or distribution — to drive customers to you. An affiliate marketer earns a percentage-based commission in accordance with the number of leads, sales, or transactions they are able to generate through link sharing and promotion. No leads or sales = no payment. This form of marketing works as an effective and reliable way to drive extra leads, sales, and data, beyond the brand’s initial marketing research.  

Unlike a customer referral — affiliates must indicate to their following or reader that they have a paid partnership with the brand.

Influencer Marketing VS Partner Marketing

Influencer marketing is similar to affiliate marketing in concept but very different in practice. While affiliate marketing practices use multiple volunteer affiliates with varying followings to generate as much attention as they can within their limited networks, influencer marketing consists of a brand seeking out a singular figurehead with a large social media following to promote the brand to their massive network, typically on a pay-per-post basis. 

It is important to remember that influencer marketing can be incredibly effective if your brand is able to identify relevant influencers that have built an authentic and truly engaged audience. A little advice, be on the lookout for influencer fraud, because it is an issue that must be accounted for.

Partner Marketing, similar to referrals, is all about capitalizing on communities of potential customers that you wouldn’t typically have access to, by utilizing an access point that they already have a relationship with. With Partner Marketing, that access point is another business, and they will be receiving access to your customer base as well. By partnering with another business to run cross-promotions, brands are able to build lasting and mutually beneficial relationships, while boosting their awareness between similar customer bases. 

Traditional advertising has become less and less reliable over the past decade. As consumers become more informed and skeptical of traditional advertising methods, it’s essential for brands to still build more authentic relationships with the consumers they are trying to reach. The strongest way to do that is utilizing word of mouth marketing to capitalize on the extreme interconnectivity that dominates our day to day life. 

Now more than ever, it is essential for brands to cultivate a community effectively, and utilize word of mouth marketing to increase trust and loyalty, while building an authentic relationship with customers.

 

Why Building Loyalty Should Be Your First Priority

At the hint of a burgeoning global health crisis, brands scrambled to share the same message: we’re in this together. The COVID-19 pandemic has fast-tracked a growing movement of community-based values in marketing. The interaction between brands and consumers is rapidly changing as a subsequent effect of social distancing. Today’s consumers are looking to brands to lead and respond in times of uncertainty, and are clinging tightly to the brands that have prioritized community-building efforts in their marketing strategy. 

That being said, brands have a greater impact on consumers than ever before. With a captive global audience, brands are competing to reach the people endlessly scrolling through the same content on their social feeds as they shelter in place. This is the time for brands to be empathetic, to rethink their approach to community, and ultimately to humanize their brand in a way that is unique to the customers they serve. It’s important for brands to establish this connection in a way that causes people to stop scrolling & interact. 

Humanization begins with a brand’s existing community — brand loyalty should be the first priority. Focus on nurturing relationships with the customers who already love the brand. Identify who those customers are and consider:

      • What do they want or need? 
      • What do they fear?
      • What role does the brand play in these customers’ lives? 

Once brands identify what their customers want and need, they can get creative with new ways to engage their customer base. Consider the role that this community of customers plays in regard to the brand’s mission and values, and how that can be implemented into an existing strategy. This can mean creating new ways for consumers to connect with the brand across social platforms, starting meaningful conversations within the community, or getting your community involved with charitable causes

Right now it’s important for brands to be present and take action. Consumers are looking closely at the way brands are reacting to our current health crisis, and brands’ response will have a significant effect on the way that consumers view and trust them, both now and in the future. This is a time for brands to invest in their community and cultivate stronger, lasting relationships with the consumers they care about the most. 

How The Value of Influencer Marketing Has Shifted

Since the initial introduction of the Influencer to the world of marketing, it has been viewed as one of the most efficient and inexpensive ways for brands to drive awareness and expand their audience. The concept of using trusted personas to sell to consumers who already have some level of affinity for those who are selling to them, made perfect sense and seemed to be an almost fool-proof strategy to gain brand awareness. But as Influencer Marketing has evolved, it has become more complex and more expensive. 

Below, you’ll find what you need to know about the current state of Influencer Marketing, as well as the best ways to get the most out of Influencer Marketing in 2020 and beyond

Oversaturation

One of the most prominent issues within Influencer Marketing is oversaturation. Being paid to post to social media has become the new “American dream”, so as the trend has emerged, everyone with an Instagram account has attempted to capitalize on it. 

There are far too many accounts attempting to gain influencer status. Many of these aspiring influencers may have the follower count to support their status, but lack the key trait that is essential to securing returns on investment — actual influence. The value of influencer marketing relies on the credibility and relationship that an influencer has with their audience. This has caused brands to shift their focus to micro and nano influencers, because consumers trust opinions and recommendations from sources they deem personal and authentic — real people

Effectiveness 

High follower count isn’t always congruent with high engagement. Far too many Instagram accounts have inflated follower numbers when compared to the actual reach they offer. These inflated follower counts could be considered “empty calories” with high percentages of the follower accounts being inactive, un-engaged, or simply being paid-for-bots. All of which are worthless to a brand that is trying to generate a thriving and authentic online community. 

Cybersecurity firm Cheq estimates that businesses lost 1.3 billion dollars to Influencer Fraud in 2019, so it’s imperative that when laying out your Influencer Marketing strategy, you’re able to identify the right influencers to get significant value out of your investment. Luckily, the industry is now recognizing the most efficient and cost-effective path forward, which is building more authentic online brand communities.

The Best Way To Work With Influencers

In the past there’s been no true industry standard for how much influencers get paid per post. Traditionally, companies have roughly estimated the value of an influencers reach based off of their follower count, which we now know can’t quite be trusted. 

While companies used to develop relationships directly with their individual influencers, the landscape of Influencer marketing has shifted to a more reliable model, where influencers are working with agencies to find the right brands for them, and vice versa. This new system is much more efficient and reliable for companies and brands as they’re making more manageable payouts to the influencers with a more certain guarantee of the reach and engagement they’ll be receiving in return. In turn, this has developed a new industry standard for how this form of advertisement should be conducted.

What will Influencer Marketing look like beyond 2020?

Despite the recent discoveries of a few glaring flaws, there is still value in to be found in Influencer Marketing. However, like all forms of advertisement, it should be conducted with focus, strategy, and efficiency. As consumers trust traditional advertising less and less, it’s important to look at how to solve the issues within influencer marketing, like effectiveness and fraud. The most authentic way to get people to talk about your brand is to invest in real people. 

Brands should look to build a community of real people who are authentic brand fans. By focusing less on follower count and more on the relationship they have with their community,  the increased ROI will follow naturally. 

Female Founded Brands Changing Culture & Building Community

What it means to be “Female Founded” in 2020

2019 was a very strong year for female founded brands, with a record amount of 17.2 billion dollars worth of venture capital being raised for female founded startups in the United States. Through sheer determination these female founded and empowering brands have been reshaping their industries and setting a new standard for mission-led and community focused business. 

Listed below are a few female founded brands setting a strong example for the next generation of female founders:

Billie

For far too long female shaving products have been marketed to show a singular end result, silky smooth skin from head to toe. Billie has recognized that body positivity means making your own choices, and has been a strong voice in the movement of normalization of female body hair. “Billie was built for all of womankind, celebrating our choice to be shaggy, smooth, or anything in between.” 

Through their #femalebodyhair campaign, Billie has created an online community of women that are proud to share pictures of themselves that push societal norms, and create a new standard of acceptance for women around the world. 

Rent The Runway

Sisterhood and sustainability are the heart of Rent The Runway’s closet sharing service. Their unique business model has given women around the world a new way to express themselves through their fashion, allowing for customization of packages filled with high quality brands, as well as the ability to swap out and return any items and try something new. 

Rent The Runway’s system encourages customers to step out of their comfort zone, and be able to try new trends that they may not be sure they want to buy. This new path that’s been paved for affordable high fashion has given a community of 9 million customers access to their dream closet, and provided them with the creative liberation that they desire. 

In the spirit of sisterhood, Rent The Runway launched a campus ambassador program to inspire young women to buy less and live more, and offer access to mentorship and career resources. 

As Alicianne Rand — VP of growth Marketing said during the NRF’s Big Show “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.”

LOLA

LOLA was born from a question: “What’s in our tampons?” and ever since the company’s inception they’ve worked tirelessly to provide women around the world with feminine hygiene and reproductive care products that are made from entirely natural ingredients. From their 100% organic cotton pads and tampons, to their essential oils and daily multivitamins made from the most naturally occurring ingredients, LOLA are striving to set a new standard for women’s health. 

LOLA works to create ongoing relationships with their customers, starting as early as their first periods and into their adult lives. The brand has cultivated a community that welcomes asking the tough and personal questions about women’s health, and conversations that drive product development. LOLA has become woman’s best friend. 

As of 2019 they also joined forces with Period Equity, the policy organization determined to abolish the Tampon Tax, and all the unjust financial tolls it takes on women around the world. 

Kendra Scott

Health, wellness, education, and empowerment are the pillars that Kendra Scott has founded it’s business upon. Ever since designing her first collection of jewelry in 2002, to then opening her first store in 2010, Kendra has held these values close to her heart and still does to this day. Kendra Scott as both a woman and as a business has been intensely dedicated to Philanthropy. 

Through the Kendra Cares Program, which provides children in Pediatric Hospitals the opportunity to design their own custom piece of Jewelry, Kendra Scott has served over 7,500 children and caretakers in over 30 hospitals across the country. In addition to this, Kendra Scott is looking to build a better future for young entrepreneurial women everywhere. 

In September 2019, they launched the Kendra Scott Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership Institute at The University of Texas at Austin. This program is dedicated to providing courses and workshops that supply a gender enlightened experience, support diversity, and prime the next generation of strong female entrepreneurs to be able to take on whatever hurdles may stand in their way. In addition to this, Kendra Scott has created a campus ambassador program titled Gems, which gives women at Universities all across the country the opportunity to gain valuable networking opportunities as well as tangible, career boosting experience in the fashion, retail, and marketing fields.

ThirdLove 

The antithesis of Victoria’s Secret, ThirdLove is disrupting the world of intimates and changing the dialogue around what a bra should be. With 78 different sizes, ThirdLove has become the most inclusive intimates brand on the market. 

The idea for the company was born when one woman, Heidi Zak, who was fed up with the fact that she owned 12 bras, and not a single one actually fit. Since then, ThirdLove has strived to set a new standard of bra, one that provides women with the comfort and confidence they deserve. 

This mission has resonated with the customers, and cultivated a fantastic community of women who care about rectifying this issue as well. ThirdLove has partnered with renowned organizations such as Soles4Souls, Good360, I Support The Girls, and St. Anthony’s to donate Bras to those who need them. To date, ThirdLove has donated over $20M in bras. 

Let’s listen to women. Let’s respect their intelligence. Let’s exceed their expectations. Let women define themselves.” — Heidi Zak, Co-Founder, ThirdLove 

A Deeper Connection Between Consumers and Brands: Why User Generated Content Should Be Part of Your Social Strategy

Trust has a significant and direct effect on consumers’ intention to buy. Social media, specifically Instagram, is becoming an increasingly strong Direct To Consumer (DTC) sales channel. With more consumers using social media than ever — 3.5 billion to be exact — it’s important to mobilize the marketing power it provides. 

Beyond the experience a consumer may encounter with a brand through different marketing touch points, social media is a powerful tool because it provides a voice that consumers deem more reputable and trustworthy than a banner ad or billboard. People follow their friends, family, and public figures like celebrities and influencers that all have an influence on what and why they buy. 

As consumers browse social media, the content created by people they follow, begins to inform their opinion and ultimately drives their decision to purchase. Ultimately, for consumers, it creates the sense that they have more control over their own purchasing journey because it feels relatable and personalized. 

Given this, brands have two options. They can choose to place paid-ads in their consumers’ newsfeeds, or they can enlist their brand fans to create content that reflects a positive consumer opinion of the brand or product. The choice is clear, given that user generated content (UGC) affects 90% of shoppers’ purchasing decisions. This type of content also tends to be the most engaging, compared to paid-ads. 

This is why brands are relying on UGC to support their word of mouth marketing strategies. People trust real people and real opinions. Especially given the rise of the Influencer (and with it Influencer fraud) over the past several years, social media has provided a platform for brands to heavily influence buying decisions using UGC.

With social media quickly becoming a strong DTC sales channel, more brands are deciding to  invest in UGC. As more content is created and engaged with, the brands gain more earned media — ultimately the most credible form of content for the brand because it is being created by highly satisfied customers. This content, when given increased distribution via social media, will drive higher conversions than any other paid channel. 

According to a study in AdAge, brands that replace their traditional paid media with earned media see their conversion jump from 1% to 5% or higher. Still, many brands are still paying rent to Facebook and Google to drive clicks when they should be focusing on content strategy. Consumer opinion can’t be bought — brands should be investing more in relationships with their brand advocates, as it is ultimately what drives earned media and in turn, deeper connections with the brand and lasting ROI.

UGC is valuable because it broadens the reach of a brand in the most organic way. Consumers want to hear from people with authentic perspectives, who have already experienced a product. 83% of people trust recommendations from someone they know. When a majority of consumers live on social media, it makes sense to engage active users of your product to create and share content about their experience with it — particularly when more than half of these posts are based on a positive experience with a brand or product. UGC humanizes a brand and allows them to create deeper, more emotional connections with consumers and should be used as a way to maintain human touch between brand and consumer. 

Ultimately, UGC humanizes a brand and allows them to forge stronger connections with consumers, and word of mouth plays an integral role in introducing those connections. Having a broad reach with multiple voices advocating for a brand allows them to cultivate stronger relationships with their customers. In an age where social media encourages and fosters consumer trust, it’s important for brands to activate word of mouth through their social media channels in a way that resonates more deeply with consumers. 

4 DTC Brand Communities We Love

Building a brand community is more than just a marketing strategy. Whether based in the physical world or digital, these communities foster authenticity, trust, and loyalty in a brand. 

Online communities are incredibly important when it comes to building brand awareness and driving word of mouth referrals. Each of these components have a role in developing and maintaining meaningful connections with the people who love your brand the most. 

Inviting the consumer into your brand experience removes any layer of separation and allows them to become an advocate for your brand. As the popularity of the brand community continues to rise, we’ve decided to share some of the brand communities we love: 

Sephora

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Beauty is personal, and this has a remarkable influence in beauty brands’ ability to cultivate such strong and active communities. There is so much to love about how Sephora built their Beauty Insider Community. Sephora created an online social platform that provides a unified brand experience for their biggest fans to connect with one another through their love for beauty, skincare, and cosmetics. 

Inside the community, Beauty Insiders post photos, reviews, and recommendations on products or looks they love. They can also chat with other Beauty Insiders to gain inspiration for the next look, product, or tip they want to try. It truly is a hub of knowledge and content that keeps Sephora’s brand community engaged — and it comes with perks. 

Through the community, Beauty Insiders have access to special events, live streams with famous beauty gurus, and exclusive discounts on products. Sephora’s combination of consumer connection, engagement, and rewards is what keeps Beauty Insiders so close to the brand. Sephora’s Beauty Insider Community is truly a culmination of everything that makes a brand community successful. 

Peloton

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Blending together fitness, socialization, and inspiring instructors, Peloton has become a cult brand. They’ve grown a community that promotes the kind of healthy competition that keeps users motivated and coming back for more, right in their own living rooms. 

Through gamification based on personal and social competition, Peloton uses both their equipment and class technology to create a fitness world that is entirely their own. Users hop on their bikes in their own home and connect with people exercising across the globe. Peloton has enlisted approachable and motivational coaches that implore their users to “show up”, motivate them, and consistently invite these users back in to be a part of a larger community. 

With a social integration through Facebook and elements like leaderboards, badges, and challenges, Peloton keeps their users active in their workout and with one another. Everyone is in it together. 

Aerie

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Aerie has always been a brand that represented women’s empowerment, inclusivity, and body positivity. With their #AerieREAL Ambassador community, the brand has taken these ideals a step further by curating a diverse group of women including students, mothers, working professionals, and more. We love #AerieREAL because it’s just that — real. No airbrush, no retouching. It challenges stereotypical standards of beauty, and inspires customers to be their true selves and comfortable in their own skin. 

Not only do their ambassadors live in Aerie products, but are inspired to promote change through Aerie’s mission of empowerment and positivity. Through body positive ad campaigns, inviting customers to tag #AerieREAL in their content, and changing the conversation about beauty standards, Aerie has built a strong community of advocates. 

Hims 

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As telemedicine grows in popularity, Hims is setting itself apart from the rest as one of the fastest growing men’s wellness brands in America. Hims has built an incredible community focused on “empathy first” and breaking the barriers of vulnerability and stigma that surround men’s health. They understand that the stigmas around healthcare, especially when it comes to topics like erectile dysfunction and hair loss, can be difficult conversations to have. That’s why Hims uses real people to drive awareness and create better dialogue around men’s health and wellness. 

Not only is Hims taking an authentic approach to their community by using normal, everyday people to talk about their products — they’re utilizing their community to educate a broader consumer audience. Hims’ blog, Instagram, and other online platforms serve to inform consumers more about men’s health and instills trust in Hims as a leader within the telemedicine space.   

Building Your Community.

What do each of these brands have in common? They invited their biggest fans — real people —  to be a part of their story. So, how can you cultivate your own brand community? Let your fans help you tell your story, engage them, and reward them. Brand communities evoke a more valuable brand experience for your consumers, and strengthens their relationship and loyalty to your brand. 

NEW FEATURE: Advanced Analytics

SocialLadder is excited to announce a new feature that gives more insight into your ambassador community’s performance — our Advanced Analytics Tool!  

Advanced Analytics is an interactive data reporting tool, offering enhanced insights on ambassador performance. This new tool gives HQ admins a visual representation of the overall value their ambassador community is driving. Now, HQ admins are able to drill down into the metrics most important in measuring the success of their community.

Every ambassador, challenge, and reward has a value. Through these new Advanced Analytics, HQ teams are able to slice and dice data to see which ambassadors are driving the most value and which challenges have the highest rates of completion. HQ teams can also gain insight into key metrics like Earned Media Value, Conversion Value, and Ambassador ROI.

All of this data can be accessed in the Administrative Panel in the Reporting Section under “Ambassador Overview Report” and “Challenge Overview Report”.

 

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Ambassador Overview Report

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Challenge Overview Report

 

For more information on SocialLadder’s new Advanced Analytics, request a free demo

Keep Up with These 3 Influencer Marketing Strategies for 2020

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Influencer marketing is an effective and inexpensive way to help increase brand awareness, boost social following and drive more sales. It’s important that you’re building a strategy that includes influencers that align with your brand to create a better experience for your customers.

The strategies below include expert tips that are helpful for building and scaling your Influencer Marketing campaigns.

1. Continue Recruiting…but focus on the Right Recruits

Influencer marketing has no signs of slowing for 2020. The cost per acquisition stemming from Influencer Marketing has been proven to be lower than paid advertising campaigns. But with fake follower counts on the rise and engagement rates declining, make sure you scout for influencers who match your brand and have the highest engagement rates with an audience who will respond to your brand. 

Great content, created by experts is the key. So look for influencers who have high engagement and showcase they are sharing knowledge and you will find the ROI you are looking for, because their followers are interested in the influencers’ content and paying attention to their recommendations.

2. Engagement Trumps Follower Count

This year also marks a rise in paying attention to content creators who have smaller audiences. They often have a more relatable voice and therefore the results convert at a lower cost, but a higher rate. Marketers find themselves asking “What should I be paying for this and was it successful?”

In 2019, there were reports about influencers being too “pay to play” and as a result, were losing the trust of their following. Brands should take a holistic look into their influencers’ earned media value, including insights from each post to see the number of likes, comments, and engagement rate to see how the content is converting from a sales perspective as well. 

Look at your customer base and see who has the highest engagement and lean on them to help your team find new brand fans, evangelize new products, and share positive feedback about your brand to their networks. 

Bottom line, engagement trumps follower count, meaning a micro influencer — or even consumer ambassador — with influence over real people not bots, could be more effective than a more general influencer with 10 times the following.So don’t be afraid to build a bigger community of smaller voices to drive the results you are looking for.

3. Invest In Your Community 

As social media platforms and digital advertising continue to evolve, customers want to hear from relatable influencers who stand behind a brand’s products, services, or mission. Receiving genuine insight from real people, like active customers, resonates with consumers more deeply than a repetitive Facebook ad filling their feeds. 

DTC Trends To Watch in 2020

2020 is here, and a new decade means new trends for direct-to-consumer brands. “DTC” no longer describes solely a means of distribution, but rather, the increasingly holistic value that this type of brand provides to consumers. It’s not just about connecting with consumers through the ease of a direct and online transaction, but connecting with consumers by engaging them and establishing a sense of community. 

So what does this shift mean for brand strategy in 2020?

ACTIVATING THE BRAND COMMUNITY

As value to consumers expands beyond means of distribution, the way that investors value these DTC brands shifts as well. 2019 brought an influx of new DTC brands, unicorns, mergers, and acquisitions that have led investors to look for companies with proven and reliable market potential. 

There is incredible value to be built through establishing and activating your brand community. A strong community is an indicator of organic growth and helps you build and maintain relationships with consumers. Ambassador programs help you promote brand loyalty and incentivize repeat buyers while maintaining a human touch between your brand and your biggest advocates. 

Outdoor Voices, one of the fastest growing DTC athleisure brands, activated their brand community by launching city and college ambassadors and has seen tremendous growth as a result. They invited their community of advocates to share digitally how they live in their brand in the real world, #DoingThings, and established relationships with their most avid consumers, which helped fueled the rise of the OV brand. 

Ambassadors are a cost effective strategy to build relationships with real people that advocate for your brand and exhibit the kind of organic growth that investors are looking for this year. 

EXPERIENCE AND ENGAGEMENT

As DTC companies evolve and begin to use more immersive marketing strategies like word of mouth, we will see them engaging the communities they’ve activated through more engaging and educational efforts. This becomes especially important as we see more DTC lifestyle, wellness, and health brands emerge. Those same brands are shifting their missions toward sustainability, which helps connect to consumers to a greater collective cause. 

DTC intimates brand, Thinx, has made “period-proof” a lifestyle through their mission of sustainability and breaking the taboo around periods. Thinx’s commitment to their mission has allowed them to connect with consumers and cultivate stronger relationships with them, not just as a brand but as a driving force of change within a larger community. Thinx tapped into their ambassador community on college campuses to start a conversation with new consumers, educating them not only on their brand and product, but on how using their product invites them into a larger community of change. 

People want to connect with a brand personally and feel that they are doing good by using a sustainable, ethical product. Engaging consumers in a personal way, like Thinx engaging women to break the taboos around their bodies, and educating them to better understand the value of both your product and mission strengthens consumers’ personal connection to your brand. In 2020, it’s connection that causes conversions. 

AN OMNI CHANNEL APPROACH

Physical and digital will become one unified experience for consumers in 2020. In this new decade, we’ll start to see more DTC brands taking a hyper local approach as they shift away from sole eCommerce strategies to include brick and mortar retail avenues. 

Brand communities that have been activated and engaged are able to take a hyperlocal approach as they have now cultivated a community of advocates that want to talk about their products in the real world and digitally. A hyperlocal, boots-on-the-ground approach is an integral component of this type of shift in strategy. 

“Micromobility” brand, Lime, is taking a hyperlocal approach with real, local ambassadors who are active and enthusiastic users of their electric bikes and scooters to create content and social impact within their communities. As DTC brands begin to live in the real world, they need to be engaging their communities not just online, but through these grassroots efforts as well. 

2020 will see more DTC brands activating and engaging their brand communities to cultivate personal and lasting connections with consumers as they shift into an omni channel approach.

What Does A Successful Ambassador Look Like?

Screen Shot 2019-12-10 at 12.44.11 PM.png   “Where do I find ambassadors?” and “Who should my ambassadors be?” are questions nearly every brand asks when setting out to build their community. Having the right process in place is important, but as the significance of having a strong and engaged ambassador community increases, so is having the right people. So, what does a successful ambassador look like, and where do you find them?

1. Identify the people who know and love your brand. 

At SocialLadder, we always say that your best ambassadors are those who already know and love your brand. You might think it’s difficult to find them, but there are plenty of ways to easily recruit your biggest fans. Tap into your email lists, social media followers, or any platform that your fans engage with, and invite them to apply to join your ambassador community! 

Use your application to get some more information on the people who have expressed interest in joining. Why do they want to be an ambassador? What social media channels do they use, and what is their following like? What is their favorite thing about your brand? What is your favorite thing about them? 

2. Don’t forget the real people.

Consider what kind of ambassador works best for your brand’s goals. Influencers with masses of followers are great and have a broad reach  – but don’t forget about the “real” people that live by your brand! They may be promoting on a smaller scale, but micro and nano influencers are an increasingly integral part of ambassador communities. This type of ambassador may have a higher engagement rate, and a more personal, extensive reach to their followers. 

Especially in the wake of influencer fraud, it’s important to identify how legitimate an ambassador’s following is. Look for ambassadors that have organic followers and engagement, and avoid accounts that have unusual activity. 

Learn more about influencer fraud here

3. Trust. 

Word of mouth is the #1 reason people make purchases, so you want an ambassador that puts their money where their mouth is (and gets their friends to, also). An ambassador should be passionate, positive, and most importantly: trustworthy. 

Having people that are naturally motivated to talk about and are familiar with your brand means more authentic promotion, and authenticity fuels trust. Trust is what allows your ambassadors to build better, lasting relationships between consumers and your brand. 

4. Keep it professional. 

A person’s online identity should align with their beliefs and values, and those values should ideally align with your brand’s principles. Identify the ambassadors that share your mission and will promote with positivity and professionalism, putting their best face (or #selfie) forward. 

5. Communication is Key! 

Your ambassadors know your brand best. Keeping the lines of communication open and allowing them to provide you with valuable feedback helps keep your brand and community aligned, highlights areas of improvement, and strengthens the relationship between your brand and your biggest fans. 

At SocialLadder, we understand that communication is key. That’s why we’ve streamlined more ways to better engage your community. With in-app chat features, message boards, and access to brand resources, it’s easier than ever to stay in touch.