22 Oct How You Can Use Brand Ambassadors This Holiday Season
The holiday season is both madness and bliss for retailers. It’s the worst time of year for your sanity, but the best time for sales. In fact, in 2017, holiday sales grew 5.5 percent over the previous year, which was the largest increase since the great recession, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF).
To capture sales during this advertising-heavy season, however, your marketing strategies need to be creative, unique, and effective. In our social-media-focused world, brand ambassadors can be a valuable resource. These people promote your product or service to their existing audience, allowing to reach an entire pool of customers that may be otherwise hard to tap into.
While a popular type of brand ambassador is an online influencer, your brand ambassadors can be helpful outside of social media and the digital world. Brand ambassadors can promote your business at events as well.
Whether you have an existing ambassador program or are new to the game, the following ideas can help you to incorporate brand ambassadors into your holiday marketing strategy.
Small Business Hacks for Brand Ambassadors
If you haven’t worked with brand ambassadors, or don’t have the resources for a formal program, don’t worry! You can still use ambassadors to bolster your holiday campaigns.
As a first step, the resource How to Promote a Product 10 Different Ways, recommends reposting user-generated content (UGC) from customers’ social accounts: “They might be a natural brand ambassador that can carry your new product into spaces you couldn’t reach on your own.”
Search for pictures, posts, or reviews of your brand, and repost them to your company’s social platforms, allowing you to promote your product or services without making the post feel like an advertisement. This is critical for brands right now. According to the 2018 Ad Reaction report, 81 percent of consumers agreeing that they see ads in more places compared to three years ago. Not to mention, 25 percent feel irritated by the multi-channel marketing most brands are now using. Avoid this challenge with your audience with user-generated content. Look to brands like Hydroflask and Tekkers Eyeware to see how you can build these posts into your regular rotation.
Here are 2 other ways to use your current network as brand ambassadors during the holiday season.
1. Promote giveaways to turn customers into brand ambassadors
Create a giveaway promotion that encourages existing customers to share pictures of themselves using your product or service. Encourage them to share their experience with your brand and track entries with a unique hashtag.
These types of giveaways compel participants to promote your brand to their network. A great example is J.Crew’s fall Meet My Crew contest. Running from September to October 2018, the retailer was giving away $10,000. To win, customers need to post a photo of their friends explaining how they’d “spread good vibes with the $10K”. If they used the hashtag #MeetMyCrew, they were entered to win.
Successful giveaways like this one offer a high-value prize and promote a narrative at the same time. “Investing in the quality of your giveaway items can help ensure they will actually get used, turning your customers into brand ambassadors and evangelists,” says Nadja Blagojevic of Axiom.
Attractive prizes help drive entries, and have a relatable or timely narrative as your base provides substance to the shared content/promotion on social media.
A happy and motivated employee can serve as a valuable brand ambassador. This could be when they’re talking about their experiences as an employee or share a current deal or promotion.
However, remember that there’s a fine line between asking employees to sing your praises and forcing them to say they love the company. Amazon experienced this when they started using employee ambassadors on Twitter to combat negative PR about working conditions. Many people questioned if the Twitter accounts were real or bots.
Don’t forget about seasonal workers either. To turn these temporary employees into brand ambassadors, Monster’s guide, Turn Seasonal Hires Into All-Season Brand Ambassadors, suggests doing a few things:
- Use employee training to ensure these employees have a clear understanding of your brand and business.
- Treat them as full-time employees, not seasonal. Assimilate them into your current workforce to make sure they feel like part of the team.
- Leave a lasting impression by hosting off-site events, giving away t-shirts or products, etc.
- Stay in touch throughout the year, just like you would with a customer.
Hire Brand Ambassadors for Holiday Events
You don’t have to commit to a long term relationship or program to use brand ambassadors for the holiday season. Instead, work with a company that can provide you with brand ambassadors for specific, one-off events.
Tigris Events, for example, is a Canadian-based company that supplies brand ambassadors to retailers for Black Friday and holiday promo events. “With so many extra customers, leaning on a temporary and scalable workforce makes perfect sense,” says Nicole Delorme, Tigris rep.
These event brand ambassadors can provide increased engagement with customers during highly-trafficked retail hours or big local events.
Increase Brand Ambassador’s Content Publication
If you already have a brand ambassador program in place, turn to these cheerleaders to create holiday gift guides, party tips and product- or service-related insights ahead of time. Schedule them to go live throughout the season and use the content to drive sales.
Bottom Line — Get Started Now
Whether you turn to your customer base, employees, or formal brand ambassadors, the time to start planning is now. You have a finite amount of time to capture sales, so get holiday strategies into place as soon as possible. Don’t forget to get ahead and keep going, right up until the last minute: according to NRF, 53 percent of U.S. consumers—approximately 126 billion people—planned to shop two days before Christmas.
Find your best brand ambassadors and start engaging now. When the holiday season is over, assess how the program worked and consider bringing ambassadors into your regular marketing plan.