This post previously appeared on Zepo Blog!
Are you a startup? Are you looking for a cost friendly yet effective means to market your business? If yes, then this article is for you.
With the advent of social media, marketers have been looking for creative ways to build a buzz economically. Through social media, advertisers have been getting the benefit of positive contributions from their fans and followers. Word of mouth and direct referrals can scale up your user base, but even the most loyal customers may not get sufficient marketing influence to drive the attention you need.
In such a scenario, there has been an increase in the number of startups pointing towards a campus ambassador program as a key pillar for their customer acquisition strategy.
Who is a Campus Ambassador?
Popular brands like Red Bull, Reynolds, McDonald’s have been using college students to promote their products in college fests, graduation parties for years.
The logic behind is simple – who can better understand the college environment and market better than the students themselves?
These are the students who voluntarily promote their brand by speaking, writing, interacting in their targeted demographic and freely expressing how much they love their services and products.With so many small enterprises and startups targeting the college demographic and using students to promote their products, is the strategy really working? The answer is a big YES! Brands like Keds, Chubbies, CBS Sports Network, Adobe have received 70% increment in their social presence and brand loyalty due to their effective college ambassador program. Unlike large multinational brands, could college ambassadors successfully market your small business?
Here’s how you can set up an effective college ambassador program:-
1. Drafting a plan:–
- What are your ambassadors for?
- Your expectations of them?
- What’s on offer ?
- How will you recruit them?
- Will the program be invitation based or application based?
- What is your expected ROI ?
- How will you measure the success of the program?
Staying updated about how other brands are utilizing their ambassadors for their products can be one helpful inspiration.
Startups like Internshala and Wooplr have been successfully extracting the best use of college ambassadors by spreading the word about their product and features among youth.
3. Choosing the right candidates:-
The comments of these “like-minded” ambassadors who share the fire for your services would be heartfelt and convincing and their peers, followers, and friends would be convinced and inspired.
A truly convincing ambassador should be passionate about your product and what it offers.
4. Properly utilizing your College ambassadors:-
- Sharing the brand’s message on social networks – utilize your ambassadors to share a specific message.
- Get ideas for new product design – new product ideas and features emerge from ambassador feedback.
- Identify your ambassador interests – to find complementary marketing opportunities to scale up.
5. Keeping your ambassadors open or private:-
Making college students as private ambassadors makes them feel special, ensuring their quality participation.
Ambassadors would also like to interact with other influential ambassadors and thereby solidifying the bond between brand and among ambassadors.
6. Respecting your ambassador’s insights:-
Brand ambassador programs are built on mutual respect and their inputs can be invaluable to your target audience and their requirements.
College ambassadors manage your community questions on social networks or via direct messaging. The flow of essential communication from your company to ambassadors is essential for them to identify complementary marketing opportunities and share brand’s message.
College ambassadors majorly use their social profiles like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram for campaign promotions. Repetitive use of their profiles for awareness can create a sense of ‘brand fatigue’ among their followers. Ideally, the frequency should be kept around 2 campaigns per quarter and should be utilized effectively for creative buzz.
All college ambassadors want recognition for their work, so a good place to start would be featuring their photos on your social networks or websites. Whereas, the biggest incentive for influencers, fans and followers could be rewards and brand goodies. Also, get innovative while deciding your incentives, not all ambassadors are motivated by rewards only!
The success metrics can be different for every brand. A few metrics can be value, content, buzz, social outreach, traffic, conversions, and revenue. For example- The number of photos and content shared by the ambassadors and number of clicks that came through can determine the success of your ambassador program.
Hope this was a useful article for those who are contemplating investing time and resources in such a program. Have anything that you feel I should add to this article? Feel free to comment, email or write me a response!