You have a great product. You’re building a great business. You’re creating goodwill and loyal followers. But you’re struggling with branding and marketing – wouldn’t it be great if you could figure out how to let your loyal followers be ambassadors for your brand?
A brand ambassador program can be an effective, economical, and fun brand strategy to enhance your existing Internet marketing, social media, and branding campaigns. But what does that mean in real, practical terms?
Let’s use as an example a small startup microbrewery in the Denver, Colorado marketplace. Denver is teeming with breweries, from single-barrel systems to some of the biggest production facilities in the world, which makes Denver craft beer marketing challenging. How does a small startup make a big difference and break into the swamped Denver social media marketing scene? Here's an example of an effective Denver microbrewery marketing plan, using brand ambassadors to develop a strong social media presence.
Develop a team of hard-core fans.
If you’ve got a great product and friends who like that product, you’ve taken the first step. Ask your friends to tell their friends. Go to local festivals and events, make new beer friends, and give away beer. Give your fans incentives, such as beer, swag, and special tasting or brewing opportunities.
Make sure your core group can articulate exactly why they love your beer so much: Is it the unique blend of hops? The extra-roasted malt? The specialty yeast? Whatever it is, make sure that your core group can share that message effectively. These will be your brand ambassadors.
Start selling your product outside the core group.
Once you’re ready to market to a wider group, your brand ambassadors can help. Ask them to use their social networks (both in real life and on social media) to spread the word about your product and build relationships online. Get the word out about outside events you’ll be at, in-house events you’ll be hosting, new product releases, distribution/purchasing channels, and more. In addition to their own social media networks, your fans may belong to associations, professional groups, hobby brew clubs, or other networking circles where they can spread your branding.
Your brand ambassadors can share their opinions of your product and updates about your brand news on their own blog, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter, or other online channels, as well as through online review sites and check-in apps like Untappd, TapHunter, BeerAdvocate, or iBeer. All of these mentions increase your online presence and SEO with creative, sincere, positive online content -- helping you develop an active social media presence that attracts potential clients!
Give your brand ambassadors special incentives.
Your loyal fans will want to drink your beer and tell others about it because it’s delicious, but offering them some incentives will speed the plow. Depending on liquor control laws, you may not be able to offer them discounts on your beer (if you can, that’s always a good first choice), but you can also offer them merchandise or VIP opportunities for events like special tappings and first chance to try new releases.
If you tie incentives to specific benchmarks, you may see even more concrete returns. For example, you may offer a private behind-the-scenes tour with the brewer for anyone who checks in 10 times at your taphouse during the month of April on Untappd. You can make these offers to the general public or specifically to your core fans via direct email or limited social media, or a combination of both.
Using social media to help build brand awareness -- and using brand ambassadors to enhance your social media and web presence -- works for a lot of reasons: it’s cost-effective, it has a greater reach than most marketing blogs or campaigns, and it’s more personal and sincere than conventional marketing. Even Denver craft brewery marketing doesn't look so daunting when you use your quality product to develop quality fans, who develop quality content for websites and social media…it’s worth raising a toast to that!
Need help developing your branding and marketing strategy? Contact Blue Frog! We would be happy to help you craft a business marketing strategy to promote your success. We have two offices, one in Des Moines, IA, and the other in Denver, CO, and we serve both large and small businesses across the country.
We can help you take your business to the next level with branding, industry-specific social media marketing, knowledgeable and insightful blogging, and other highly effective inbound marketing techniques.