In order to thrive, every business needs a team of cheerleaders. Online media and buzz may go a long way in promoting awareness for your brand, but nothing replaces the personal touch.
That’s why every startup needs brand ambassadors. These are the people who believe in your product or service, who spread the word, and act as authorities to people who are wondering whether your service or product is worth their while.
There are two vital components of an effective brand ambassador:
- They’re insanely passionate about your product.
- They have a big circle of influence and a good level of authority on the area that you specialize in.
Of course, there will be a sliding scale. Some ambassadors will be very passionate about your product, but will lack a wide circle of influence. Others will have a wide circle, but not be truly sincere in their appreciation of your product. The very best will have a lot of influence, and be sincerely and genuinely in love with what you do.
Here are some ways that you can expand your business’ network of clients and fans by making the most of those brand ambassadors:
- Have a remarkable product and extraordinary customer care. The biggest impression you make is the one-on-one interaction. Of course, this will be easy for some and hard for other businesses, but in a small business or a start-up, there’s no reason that you shouldn’t have positive face-to-face interactions with your client base. Make sure that your customer service reps are well-versed in representing the company well. Remember that it takes more than just a “sufficient” interaction to stand out in people’s minds. You want something remarkable. Go the extra mile. Make a friend. Give them an experience that stands out as positive and memorable.
- Keep in touch. Once you’ve made the initial positive contact, keep the connection through social media channels, newsletters, and updates.
- Empower your customers to talk to others. One of the best ways to do this is through branded gear. Give out a free item that reflects your brands. Make sure that it’s high-quality and that it provokes conversations. Your biggest supporters will proudly wear it or use it, and be glad to start conversations about your business.
- Let your ambassadors know that they’re insiders. Make them feel special by giving them special access to deals, or to information about your company and brand. Give them the first go at a new item, and give them opportunities to give you feedback and feel like part of your business. Reach out to individuals and give them specific jobs.