Ambassadors are people who love you. Well, not like your mom loves you, but people who love your brand and have an audience to shout their love to.
Bloggers, with their niche audiences and far reach, make perfect brand ambassadors. You just have to find them. And cultivate them. And make them love you. And hold on to that love. Sounds like a marriage, doesn’t it? Truth be told, it’s more important….
The theory is this: bloggers have a niche audience. And big or small, that audience is primarily comprised of your target buyers. It’s like someone—the blogger—has hand built a pool full of customers and leads just waiting to hear about your brand.
The Flip Side
Everything comes with a flip side, right? Bloggers and ambassadors sound fantastic—a strategy you are probably ready to jump on.
But this strategy takes time and dedication. Ambassadors are relationships that are built, maintained, rewarded and respected. You need to be prepared to invest a bit to get a lot.
Start By Finding Ambassadors You Don’t Know You Have
If you’re a GroupHigh user, you can type your brand’s name in to the post content filter to get a list of bloggers and posts who have ever written about your brand. Check out these posts and if they are glowing reviews, add the blogger to your ambassador list.
If you don’t have a blogger outreach tool, don’t worry, you can find blogs about your brand the manual way. I’m a fan of Google’s blog search as a free option. Social Mention and Ice Rocket are other personal favorites of mine.
Find Niche Bloggers
The secret to successful blogger outreach is to search by niche instead of reach. A blogger who writes about the niche your brand falls in to has a specific pool—even if it’s small—of your target audience.
The majority of the bloggers on your list of niche bloggers may not have heard of you and that’s okay. Start by reaching out and networking with the bloggers. Don’t say “dear blogger, please be my friend and tell everyone that you love me.”
Instead try building your relationship in these steps:
- Introduce them to yourself and your brand.
- Invite them to join a LinkedIn or G+ group set up to house discussions about the niche that the blogger talks about and your brand falls in to.
- Invite them to take your product or service for a test drive without attaching any stipulations.
- Equip them with resources about your brand such as case studies, white papers and ebooks so that they are educated on all things your brand.
- Any mention they give you whether it’s a post or a tweet acknowledge it and thank them for it.
- For bloggers who give continual mentions and social media shares, send them some SWAG or free products or services from your company.
- Give them inside information about upcoming new products and changes to your brand.
- Offer discounts that they can give their audience.
- House your advocate list in one place so you can monitor their mentions and keep track of how many leads or customers they send your way.
Reward Your Advocates
Make sure that you are keeping in constant communication with your ambassadors and rewarding their advocacy so that your relationship doesn’t fall apart. Ambassadors aren’t born out of a one night stand, they’re born out of relationship maintenance…
Here are some creative ways I’ve seen brands reward their brand ambassadors:
- Host an event for them. A dinner, a VIP pool party or invite them to a retail store for discounts and free things.
- Send them some company SWAG like a funny t-shirt.
- Offer your brand’s service for free or send them free products.
- Acknowledge them on your social media channels with a creative shout out.
- Allow them to give their input about decisions you make about your company from branding to new products. Use their input and give them acknowledgement when their input is implemented.
- Send them a handwritten Christmas card.
Have you seen brands reward advocacy in a creative manner? Would love to talk about some examples in the comments below, cheers to a good discussion!
Image courtesy of cooldesign / FreeDigitalPhotos.net