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.

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.

SocialLadder Blog - Ambassador Spotlight

Ambassador Spotlight: Zack Palmer!

Welcome back to our Ambassador Spotlight series! We’re featuring the top ambassadors of various programs from all around the SocialLadder ambassador network to give our ambassadors a chance to tell everyone about their memories, interests and passions – all of the things that fuel awesome communities and experiences!

New Spotlight Ambassadors are selected each month. Be sure to keep up with the top tier of ambassadors and you could be featured next!

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This month’s Spotlight Ambassador is Zack Palmer!

Zack was the top-ranking ambassador for April’s awesome Asteria Arts & Music Festival. We got the chance to catch up with Zack just after the festival ended and heard some of his thoughts on his experience as a top-ranking ambassador!


Tell us about yourself!

My name is Zack Palmer and I’m born and raised in Orlando, Florida. I’ve always loved music, the outdoors, socializing and bringing people together for a good time! Being a part of Asteria allowed me to involve all of these things in one special place, a place for us to escape and connect in ways we all desire, yet sometimes may have difficulties finding time to do so.

What has been your best festival experience?

My best festival experience has changed in just the last week! As a DJ/Producer, one of the things many would look forward to is their first festival performance. With that being said, Asteria Arts & Music Festival 2018 was mine. Not only did I enjoy every second of my time up on stage as a performer, but the reactions and responses to my set had me in tears more times than I can count & still counting after waking up to more content and feedback in regards to everyone’s experience during the festival and how many individuals had the times of their lives.  It makes my heart beat faster and the emotions come rushing through all over again. Asteria 2018 takes the cake!


What is the best part of being an ambassador?

I started promoting events before I really got into performing and the best part of it for me has always been the ability to connect with individuals prior to the event, which allows you to have a decent general idea of some of the friendly faces you will encounter during the event you’re promoting. I love connecting with new friends at these events and this will always be a great way for me to do so! Also as an artist, the ability to promote events and anything you’re a part of will always be beneficial in the sense that when you have the opportunity to take the stage, there’s a good chance you may have answered a question or two about the event to those in the crowd and when they see you’re not only showing up to play your music and take off, it definitely resonates with some and let’s them know you’re just like them, someone there to enjoy the music and have a great time.


What are some tips you have for people starting up and want to sell more tickets?

Interaction, interaction, interaction! Definitely make a point to connect with and reach out to potential guests, and even guests who are already sold on the event! Be available, be happy to share information, don’t leave people hanging when they need something answered or direction on anything in regards to the event you’re involved in. Also, knowing your market and who to promote to within social media groups, friend groups and the local scene in general is always beneficial to an ambassador.

Thanks, Zack! Any closing thoughts?

As mentioned earlier, I am an artist myself and love every aspect of the scene from throwing and promoting events to performing at events and just being in the crowd for some. I live for this and that isn’t going to change! If you’d like to check out my artist page you can visit my Facebook, my Instagram, or my Soundcloud.

Keeping the Momentum Going Post-Event

Everyone knows the importance of building momentum for an event, but no one likes to talk about the importance of  keeping the momentum going after an event has passed. We have created a guide (below) to help you maintain your momentum post-event as well as keep your ambassadors engaged.

 

Utilize Social Media!

pexels-photo-433617A great way to sustain momentum  is to update your social media. You can do this with posts about key takeaways from your event or reliving your favorite event moments. The former is especially important if your event was educational in nature.

By posting industry-related content on your social media and blog, you keep the conversation surrounding your event alive. You also showcase the value of your event and your organization as a whole to potential sponsors, future partners, and your general audience.

We all know everyone has a favorite moment or highlight of an event. Posting about these moments are a great way to boost post-event engagement and even drive sales for recurring events. You can post all of your photos on your Facebook page and then highlight your favorites to incorporate in your Throwback Thursday and Flashback Friday weekly hashtags on Instagram and Twitter! Attendees make the best storytellers so encourage them to share their highlights as well. 

Since not all of your attendees or supporters may follow you on social media, send out an email reminder with links to all of your pages. This will remind everyone of the great time they had at your event this year, as well as encourage those who were unable to make it to RSVP to next year’s.

 

Hold a Press Release or Q&A

Free publicity? Yes, please! Hosting a Q&A discussion session helps keep your brand fresh in everyone’s mind. It’s a great way to learn about what you could do better for next year as well, and can help you garner more ambassadors. Similarly, holding a press release to talk about your event is an important part of keeping your brand visible to the general public. Even if it’s only through free distribution networks, a press release will help get the word out about your event – showcasing its success to others and encouraging them to buy a ticket for next year’s event.

 

Start An Ambassador Program Early

This is probably the most important way to continue the momentum surrounding your event. As soon as your event ends, start planning the next one. This doesn’t mean you have to start selling early bird tickets right away; start off by getting together with the planning committee and debriefing. Discuss logistics of the event: what you thought went well, what you thought didn’t, and any ideas on how to increase sales and boost attendance. The sooner you begin planning, the sooner you can map out your engagement goals and reach out to current ambassadors as well as recruit new members.

 

Following these guidelines will not only ensure that you have a strong group of social influencers that are getting the word out about your event, but it will also increase the success of your next event!

 

 

Mirayda

 

Mirayda Martínez is an intern at SocialLadder. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics and Computer Science at Swarthmore College, as part of the class of 2020, and is a member of the the Swarthmore Track & Field team. She loves going to parks and petting any and all kinds of dogs, as well as rock climbing.