One of the most common questions we hear from brands as they’re doing the work of recruiting and onboarding ambassadors into their programs is, “how do we encourage and increase engagement?”
Last week’s webinar focused on answering this very question. I enjoyed the opportunity to dig in and think through challenge creation and planning with our favorite brand ambassador consultant Natalie Mehra. Natalie presented her best tips and strategies for designing creative and engaging ambassador challenges. We covered questions such as:
- Keeping communications channels open
- Setting clear, measurable goals
- Celebrating ambassador achievements & success stories
- Incentivizing challenges through friendly competition
- Giving ambassadors a voice in product development
How to Effectively Engage Your Ambassadors [VIDEO]
As more and more brands are seeing the value in ambassador programs, the stakes are getting higher to create more creative challenges and rewards to appeal to these creators.
So, is there a secret sauce to ambassador engagement, creating challenges and rewards?
When creating challenges, Natalie recommends keeping a checklist to ensure each challenge aligns with specific measurable goals for your program:
- Is this challenge trackable?
- Will this challenge drive sales?
- Does this challenge work towards achieving a company goal or objective?
- Will the ambassadors be excited to complete this challenge? Would you?
- How much time is necessary to execute the challenge successfully?
- Is the challenge clearly explained?
- Do ambassadors have all the resources necessary to perform the task successfully?
How to Effectively Engage Your Ambassadors
Words by Natalie Mehra
I had the opportunity to sit down with Jason Konopinski last week to chat about the ins and outs of the ambassador landscape in today’s market, and how to keep your ambassadors actively engaged in your program.
To set the stage, let’s say you have set up your ambassador program, recruited your ambassadors and have them executing tasks.
Things have been going great for a month — or maybe years. But as more and more brands continue to introduce ambassador programs, the landscape becomes more competitive. This introduces the challenge of keeping your ambassadors engaged and loyal to your brand, against other amazing programs and products.
Additionally, as humans, we always want something new and different. How do we continue to keep ambassadors satisfied and excited about working with us month after month?
These may be some of the concerns you have come across with managing your program. Hopefully we covered your answers as we discussed together in the webinar. Enjoy!
How to Unlock Engagement
Every program is different. Maybe your engagement is faltering because of one particular issue; however, in most cases, engagement comes from a combination of many elements of your program.
By taking a more holistic approach, we can ensure your ambassadors will feel immediately connected to your brand day to day — and we will keep them engaged for years to come.
We will discuss the main elements that contribute to engagement including: onboarding, challenges, rewards, hierarchy, management, and scaling.
Behind recruitment, onboarding is the second most important element of building a solid foundation successful ambassador program. As the program scales, we want to make sure branding remains consistent and we are always putting our best face forward out in the field.
Believe it or not, the largest period of churn for an ambassador is actually before they ever begin!
There are some things that we can do to immediately “engage” the ambassadors during the onboarding process that you will be grateful you did in the long-run!
- Group Video Onboarding Session
- “Training Manual Quiz”
- “Getting Started” Challenges
- Host a 1-1 meeting with each ambassador
When I was directly managing ambassador programs, I remember sitting down a few days before the start of the new month and getting so stuck on creating new, fun, and exciting challenges in a pinch and being forced to be creative.
Can anyone relate?
The last thing we want to do is just throw some challenges in for the sake of it and be paying ambassadors to do things that we are not even sure are productive!
I eventually became wiser and decided to try this thing called “preparing”.
When creating monthly challenges, we want to cover each of the Company’s KPIs. Each month, think through each initiative you want to hit to create your challenges around them.
I also recommend sitting down internally prior to the beginning of each month to get each department’s top “asks” for your ambassadors to execute. This will make sure the ambassador program is working towards overall company goals.
We always want to make sure we are keeping challenges new and exciting to keep ambassadors engaged. This can be fun if you give yourself time to be creative!
Product? Cash? Prizes? Don’t be afraid to ask your ambassadors what they want!
In my experience, the best option is a combination of the three.
- If you are a company with a consumer product or a paid technology, lucky you! You already have what the ambassadors want, at a very low cost to you. If they are true ambassadors of your brand, they are already consumers and will work for free product! This is also a win-win because we are getting more product out to the world and into the hands of the right people.
- If you do not have something of value to “gift” to your ambassadors, think about other ways they can engage with your brand through swag or branded items. Also a win-win, as they now serve as a (pretty inexpensive) walking billboard.
- Who doesn’t like cash? If you are a program with a budget, this is a good place to allocate it.
- Your next question may be, but how much? Well, we can work into this one of two ways.
- 1) You can back your way in by looking at your monthly budget, how many ambassadors you have, and then how much you can afford to pay per challenge.
- 2) you can test out the “right” amount with your ambassadors. Set challenges to how much you think they are worth and get feedback by seeing if people are completing challenges for the price.
- One point of caution here would be to start low. You can always raise your prices but you really cannot lower them..
- Prizes can be very fun! These can be always available and can be used as every-once-in-a-while perks that get everyone super excited when you feel like engagement is low.
- Prizes can be anything, really. What is the HOTTEST item of the moment? Or do you have access to something that not everyone can get? This is a perfect place to use this.
Just as in your job, ambassadors want to feel like they are working toward something greater, expanding their horizons, or earning more, as they continue to work for your company.
There are two ways in which we can do this.
- Create an incentive or bonus structure for ambassadors to work toward
- Create a hierarchy. Just as in your company. Not everyone reports into the CEO. That would create quite a few large issues, don’t you think? It keeps ambassadors feeling well-managed, heard, and working toward that higher title.
Management at Scale
Management. Did you have any idea you would be so deep in the weeds as a manager when you took this position? Most people are surprised…
There are a LOT of things you need to do to effectively manage tens or hundreds or even thousands of people. To make it a bit more digestible, I like to break these responsibilities down into 4 categories: Daily, Weekly, Monthly, and Quarterly.
These items are not going to be the same for everyone but I challenge you to workshop this for your program specifically. I also like to go ahead and put all of these things onto my calendar as a reminder for when each item needs to be completed.
SocialLadder helped hundreds of companies transform their ambassador program with our end-to-end holistic creator management solutions. Want to learn more about how SocialLadder can help you engage your ambassadors with our in-app interactive rewards capabilities? Feel free to schedule a demo with one of our specialists now.