Every business wants as many loyal customers as possible — but when customers talk about your business and provide free “word of mouth” advertising? That’s even better. However, the holy grail of customer loyalty is when your regular customers end up becoming brand ambassadors for your business.
Customers who are that engaged with your company and what you do will bolster it for you and become an integral part of your marketing efforts without you having to spend an additional dime. It’s an incredible resource for small businesses with an even smaller marketing budget.
Of course, as you might expect, customers don’t become brand ambassadors overnight. There are things you can (and should) do to build and strengthen relationships with the people already following you. Let’s take a closer look at what it means to be a brand ambassador, and how your marketing campaigns can foster more loyalty and better business relationships with your customers.
What Is a Brand Ambassador?
Everyone has businesses they love and support. Maybe you only go to one specific grocery
store because of the experiences you’ve had there. Maybe your favorite clothes come from a particular company, or you can’t stop drinking whatever new flavor your favorite coffee chain comes out with. There’s a difference, however, between liking a brand, showing brand loyalty, and becoming an ambassador. A brand ambassador represents your company in a positive light. Some companies hire brand ambassadors to work for them, but if you can turn your customers into brand ambassadors, you can get the same exposure for free.
A brand ambassador will tell their friends (in person and on social media) about your company. They’ll wear gear with your logo or name on it. They’ll share your news and social media posts, encourage others to use your goods or services, and essentially serve as a walking, talking billboard. Unlike a billboard, however, they can advertise to people who will actually listen and trust what they have to say.
Obviously, the more customers you can turn into brand ambassadors, the better. So, what
should you be doing to make that happen?
Strengthen Your Image and Customer Service
Before you start making changes or strategizing how to get closer with your customers, make sure your brand is strong enough to live up to the potential hype you’ll get. You’ll need input from marketing, finance, and customer service teams to make sure your strategy is successful.
It can help to designate specific roles and departments within your company to get your strategy off the ground. Some of those crucial departments include:
● Human resources
● Customer service
Having clearly defined teams will make it easier to reach your goals and move forward with a clear mission in mind. When everyone is on the same page, it’s easier to maintain brand consistency, which your customers will appreciate.
A strong customer service team is essential for making sure consumers are willing to talk about your brand in a positive light. Anyone can buy a product or use a service and have a positive experience. However, when your team chooses to go the extra mile by engaging with your consumers, it’s an experience they won’t forget. Consider things like using a live chat feature on your website or having multiple points of contact so customers can reach out with comments, questions, or concerns.
The more accessible your customer service team is, the better, and that requires all other
departments to be as functional and efficient as possible.
Foster a Sense of Community
Now, more than ever, customers want to build relationships with the brands they love. You can do that by regularly posting on social media and engaging with your followers, using videos and photos to humanize your business, and regularly updating your blog with relevant content.
Remember, brand loyalty comes from building an emotional attachment with your customers. Focus on building emotional relationships with your social community, and you’ll essentially create a sort of “family” atmosphere surrounding your business.
One of the best ways to do that is by encouraging User-Generated Content (UGC) and
UGC is a great way to promote your brand with a limited budget, without having to devote more time and money to your marketing efforts. It refers to things like social media posts or reviews and feedback on Google, Facebook, etc. Some businesses shy away from asking for feedback or reviews, but you should encourage it. Even if someone writes something negative, it gives you an opportunity to directly engage with that person. Chances are, it will only take a few minutes to make things right, and reaching out can end up changing their opinion into a positive one. Plus, when others see that every review means something to you, it builds more trust.
If you want to encourage more people to generate this kind of positive content, think of effective ways to get your customers talking, such as:
● Holding a contest
● Giving away free swag to people who post
● Offering limited-edition products
● Creating a reward system for engagement
You can even get more people talking by sending some branded gear to social media
influencers. Consider your target audience, and which influencers would make sense to work with. Influencer marketing is great because those in front of the camera work hard to establish loyalty and relationships with their followers. They build a sense of trust. If they’re marketing your brand for you, you’ll gain new followers and customers who will already trust you because of the person promoting you.
As you can see, turning your customers into brand ambassadors is a great way to keep your business growing without having to overwork your marketing team. However, don’t overthink things too much.
Building a community should be fun. Customers will see through your marketing efforts if they’re too formal or it’s obvious that you’re more interested in getting people to talk about you than fostering relationships. Get creative, let the human side of your business show, and be as real as you can with the people boosting your brand.