I’ve talked in the past about the concept of personal reciprocity with your social network. When you engage with others, they are more likely to engage with you because you are personal and relatable. Let’s take that now to a business level. Chances are you go get your nails done…. or your hair cut…. or your oil changed… or to the Dentist. You engage in your local community. You are also a small business owner in your community. Leverage those professional connections, and use social media to promote those businesses. You will build professional relationships, and it may help generate referral business, or Brand Ambassadors.
Who is a Brand Ambassador?
A Brand Ambassador is a member of your target audience who supports you and your business, may be a super user of your products, and believes in the core values of your company or brand. This may include VIP customers, hostesses, other local businesses or connections, local bloggers or celebrities, or even friends and family. They crave access to your company that others do not receive, in exchange for reaching out to other members of your target audience on your behalf. This is a long term relationship that must be nurtured regularly and publicly. Brand ambassadors are built first on relationships, and often are based on reciprocity. You refer their businesses to your network, they refer yours.
What does a Brand Ambassador do?
Brand Ambassadors are active on social media, follow you on social media, and have a genuine interest in helping you succeed. When you get your nails done at “Nails R Us” salon and you post a shout-out to them on your business fan page along with a picture of your awesome nails, you are their Brand Ambassador. You are promoting their business and good service to your network. As you continue to build your local professional relationships, that will likely be reciprocated, and result in referral business. You may wish to have someone be a walking advertisement for you, by offering a discount on your jewelry. Or, for every referral someone passes along, she gets a discounted item. You could even set up a hashtag that your Brand Ambassadors use, when they promote you on their social media. #EmpowerSocial certainly comes to mind…
How do you use Social Media for Brand Ambassadors?
The benefit of having and being a Brand Ambassador extends the personal relationships to a professional level. Reward good service and loyalty, with support for those local business partners. Leverage social media to make those personal and professional contacts feel like VIPs. They want information first to share with their networks. They want to know of your specials and promotions. They want to receive callouts and pictures on Facebook or Instagram. Pin their content on Pinterest, with directors back to their page and boards. But the relationships, as always, must be genuine. Simply posting as your Facebook fan page on another fan page, with no context, will have little effect. Personal connection and rapport will always have a greater impact to a longer lasting relationship.
Research shows that 88% of people who research products online, trust Brand Ambassadors more than the brand itself. Why? Because the Brand Ambassador isn’t directly affiliated with the brand and has no (obvious) vested interest in the sale of the product. They simply love it, want to help you succeed, and are willing to be a voice for positive service. With 91% of women doing online product research before making buying decisions, and relationships flourishing in local social media groups, local Brand Ambassadors are an important piece of working with your network.
I challenge you to look at your own local service relationships, and see if there is anyone who you would consider your best customer(s), always wants to be first to know, quick to refer you to others, and is happy to wear and promote your product. Are you giving them the shoutouts they deserve? Are you making your customers feel special on your business social media? Are you giving local businesses that you support the love they deserve? Ask them to follow you and share your social, and reciprocate by sharing theirs. Or, ask them to take pictures wearing or using your products! Lead with relationship building, and you will find another channel to help your business grow.
Interested in learning more? Come on over and join the Socialite Suite – free social marketing for direct sellers and small businesses. Want even more coaching, empowerment, and value? Suite SassyPants is for you!