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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

Lights All Night – Lights It Up with SocialLadder

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AMBASSADORS HIT 1 MILLION DOLLARS IN SALES FOR LIGHTS ALL NIGHT

Congratulations to our ambassadors for hitting 1 million dollars in ticket sales for Lights All Night through SocialLadder! Lights All Night, a popular music festival in its ninth year of celebration, partnered up with SocialLadder for their 2017 ambassador program and have continued on for the festival’s 2018 iteration as well. Lights All Night ambassadors can win exclusive rewards like free tickets, on-stage viewing, meet & greets, and more through completing online challenges, as well as selling tickets via SocialLadder!

“SocialLadder has been a massive asset to our event the past few years. From helping us push important messaging to making fans feel like they have a way to be directly involved, Lights All Night wouldn’t be where it is without them.”

The two-day end-of-year event takes place on December 28th and 29th, and will return to Dallas Market Hall. Last year’s sold-out event welcomed over 30,000 fans with huge performers like Bassnectar, Marshmello, and more. After a well-received expansion last year, the festival will continue to grow with 5 stages and over 40 acts from across the country.

Attendees can expect to see electronic music legends like Excision, Diplo, Kaskade, and Rezz performing across the unique stages at Lights All Night. The festival curates a special experience for its attendees with highlights like cutting edge production, specialty performers including stilt walkers & fire breathers, and the Disco Galaxy Stage – a 360° stage experience. Lights All Night is truly a magical experience for all.

Want $5 off select tickets? Click here & apply the discount code SOCIALLADDER to join in on the fun!

“We love having a partner like Lights All Night who always puts the fans first and understands how important it is to craft a memorable fan experience. Their use of once in a lifetime opportunities is part of that story and a really awesome way to thank their top ambassadors for making another year successful.” — Alana Bly, SocialLadder Co-founder

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

SocialLadder Featured on Amplify

SocialLadder’s recent partnership with Eventbrite has the potential to make significant changes to the landscape of live music and concert promotion, a development which is not lost on Amplify Media’s founder and executive editor Dave Brooks. His writeup on SocialLadder’s integration with Eventbrite’s third-party API can be found here, or you can read the text below:

Peer-to-peer marketing technology provider SocialLadder has made its technology available as an extension to ticketing platform Eventbrite, integrating “the company’s online ticketing technology with its comprehensive brand ambassador management system,” according to a release.

“Our partnership with Eventbrite means that the world’s largest ecosystem of event organizers can now discover new fans and seamlessly access the power of word-of-mouth marketing to increase tickets sales and drive buzz,” said Raavi Iqbal, CEO and co-founder of SocialLadder.

This is the first on-platform extension for an ambassador marketing program to be built on Eventbrite’s third-party API. The integration allows event organizers to activate peer-to-peer marketing in one click by giving them direct access to SocialLadder’s network of on-demand ambassadors, and enabling attendees to secure tickets where they hear about most events: their friends.

“Eventbrite is focused on helping event organizers sell more tickets, and making the process of buying tickets as easy as possible, regardless of where people discover those events,” said Scott Van Brunt, Head of Partnerships at Eventbrite. “Events are inherently social, and the integration with SocialLadder helps event creators sell out their shows by tapping into the networks of the most influential fans through the power of ambassador programs.”

SocialLadder was founded four years ago to make professional ambassador teams accessible to organizers of events of all types and sizes, and sold millions of dollars of tickets in 2016 for thousands of the world’s most popular events.

“Event fans win with this partnership too – as more organizers turn to SocialLadder, we continue to be the best destination for fans everywhere to get rewarded for promoting the events that they’re actually passionate about,” said Alana Bly, Co-founder of SocialLadder.