5 things you didn’t know about brand ambassadors
Forget the flashing billboard on your drive to work; your best marketing opportunities are much easier to reach. Every one of your clients’ recommendations to colleagues, friends, and family carries far more weight than the advertisements they see every day.
When you hear the words “brand ambassador,” who do you think of? Most people answer “internet celebrities” – social media influencers with an everyday appeal and hundreds of thousands – or even millions of followers. And it’s no surprise brands often use these people to laser-target their audiences and use their considerable sway to promote their products.
Nevertheless, there is still a degree of separation between a potential customer and celebrity influencer. The good news is that brand ambassadors come in all shapes and sizes – and they don’t need to have any sort of celebrity appeal at all. They can also be micro-influencers – your aunts and uncles, your friends, your children and your colleagues.
And it turns out they are the most powerful influencers of all because you know, love and trust them. So here are 5 things you probably didn’t know about brand ambassadors.
#1. People want to be rewarded for sharing your product or service over social media
According to a survey by Nielsen, 88 percent of Americans want to be rewarded in someway for sharing your product or service over social media.
That could mean, nearly 9 out of 10 of your customers are willing to spread the word to their networks for some sort of gift, discount, or benefit.
Our takeaway: Use it or lose it! Your current clients are a rich source of word of mouth advertising. Give them the opportunity to come aboard your ambassador programme early on while they still have that “good feeling glow” and are most likely to be enthusiastic about sharing their new favourite brand with their friends.
#2. Brand ambassadors are your greatest marketing asset
According to a survey cited in Business2Community, recommendations from “social peers” are 64% more effective than adverts in general.
As we’ve discussed in previous articles, your friends and family are by far the most influential people in your life. Considering the trust, affinity and loyalty you have within your social circle, it’s not surprising that when they recommend a product or service, you listen.
Our takeaway: Once you harness the power of your community’s influence, there’s really no stopping you.
#3. Millennials put a lot of importance on brand ambassadors
Following on from point 2, it’s also important to know that we’re not all built the same. Millennials and Baby Boomers are quite different when it comes to making purchasing decisions.
Marketing Charts research shows that while approximately the same percentage of Millennials and Baby Boomers use Facebook, Boomers are more likely to be influenced by advertising and Millennials are more likely to be influenced by word of mouth recommendations.
Our takeaway: Keep your eye on the demographics and your data insights. While brand ambassadors have sway over almost everyone, it may pay off to focus a little more on your Millennial segment when designing your ambassador strategy and a little more on your Baby Boomer market when looking at your ad campaigns. In any case, always A/B test your tactics and listen to what your data is telling you.
#4. Your ambassadors are more powerful than the naysayers
If your brand ambassadors are that powerful, what about the people who say bad things about you?
Unfortunately, not every interaction we have with the public will be positive. Though we try our best, things can go wrong. If people leave you negative reviews or tell others they don’t like what you do, it can feel like the world is about to fall away from beneath our feet.
So here’s some good news. Positive word of mouth (PWOM) has greater influence than negative word of mouth (NWOM) – at least according to this research reported in the Academy of Marketing Studies from 2017: Positive versus negative word of mouth: Effect on Receivers
The research indicates that PWOM is seen to be more trustworthy than negative word of mouth – and this is a core finding. As the report explains; “trustworthiness is one of the key factors influencing whether a receiver will use the sender’s information in their purchase decision”.
Our takeaway: Don’t sweat the small stuff. Keep pushing forward, working on getting feedback from your community, problem solving and giving your clients the best service you can. While NWOM can be painful, you can learn from it and improve. If you do work hard and turn a negative experience around, unhappy customers can even become your most enthusiastic advocates. Your hard work will pay off in the end.
5. People seek out brand ambassadors
According to research 82% of American consumers ask their peers for advice before buying something.
That’s right – people don’t just listen to what their friends are telling them, they actively ask for recommendations.
Of course, it sounds obvious – you probably ask your peer group for advice on a regular basis. But what’s really important here is that people seek out recommendations before making a purchase.
Our takeaway: When it comes to engaging with your community, aim to stay top of mind. Ideally, your company should be your ambassadors’ go-to recommendation. Keep them interested, keep them engaged, and keep them talking about you!