Establishing a network of social media advocates – from ambassadors and employees to athletes and celebrity influencers – is at the core of a successful social media strategy in 2020. While platform algorithms and best-practices change, one truth remains the same: people have the power on social media.
The influence of individuals is measurably more impactful than that of brand-owned channels. And by working alongside individuals, brands can connect to the personalized trust and engagement that is only made possible through the human-to-human connection.
The Value of a network
When it comes to driving success with social media, there are many assets and strategies than can help you achieve valuable business outcomes. You can power your owned accounts with an airtight strategy, instant-response community management, best-in-class content, and unrivaled ad targeting.
All of these can be on-point and high-performing. But nothing can replace the social marketing power of a network of individuals who are bought-into distributing your content in their personal channels. Truth is, your social performance can be best-in-class, but even the best brands cannot match the human-to-human connection that exists on social media.
This is word of mouth marketing in 2020. It means growing beyond your single-channel approach to reach your digital marketing potential.
How can a network help?
A network of ambassadors, influencers, and even employees will help your business reach a new, more actively engaged audience. You will have a more expansive distribution network, reaching multiple audiences that will allow you to build community, visibility, and establish connection with a target audience.
With multiple unique channels, you will have access to multiple audiences. You’ll be able to tailor content specifically to individual audiences, and, using tools available to modern marketers, measure the impact your content and individuals within your network.
- Network of individuals is vital to grow beyond the single-channel approach
- Reach new, more engaged audiences
- Tailor content and offers to specific audiences that your network reaches
- Measure performance of content and individual channels to fine-tune programs.
Effective types of networks to build
The ambassador model is established with those who exist in your business or organization’s network. These individuals often want to share content related to your organization, allowing them to build their own following while providing you with a new, valuable distribution channel. Ambassadors are also often on-board to assist in marketing initiatives to help achieve revenue and growth outcomes for your organization.
Ambassador model networks are often made up of…
- Company leadership
- Brand champions (those who love your brand)
- Ambassadors (athletes, media talent,
The Influencer model follows traditional athlete and influencer marketing specifics. These are typically pay-to-play, with a brand finding an influential individual with a connection to the brand’s target audience.
Organizations can also pursue authentic relationships in which the desired athlete or influencer is a fan of your brand and will organically share about your product or service, or accept an exchange-of-goods agreement.
How to build your network
Using influencer marketing agencies has become common in recent years. However, trust has been eroded and traditional social media influencers and their agency representatives have lacked transparency into valuable success metrics. Still, these agencies can provide an easy way to identify and get in contact with large groups of social influencers.
If you have a previously established relationship with your intended partners, you may be able to execute a social media campaign with athletes on your own. To get started, you’ll have to perform the following:
- Make contact with your preferred athletes or influencers. This often occurs through marketing representatives, agents, or other handlers.
- Establish an agreement with the athlete(s). Once again, you’ll likely be working with the agent, marketing representatives, lawyers, or assistants. Agreements will likely involve a negotiation to determine payment for campaign participation.
Spreadsheet & Content Storage Solutions
The spreadsheet approach allows you to get content copy and media to ambassadors who have already okayed involvement in your program. You can share weeks of copy and links to media at a time, with instructions for when and how to share. The downside? Your valuable ambassadors are left to remember what to post, when to post it, and what social channels to post it on. When it works, it’s simple, but there’s a reason it’s called copy-paste-and-pray
Real Tech that offers delivery
Digital networks like Opendorse provide allow you to add and manage pre-existing ambassadors, athletes, or influencers to its social publishing network – or use the network’s services to help them find and add the right influencers for their social media program. The network can help you pick, pitch, and secure participation from athletes with an all-in-one digital experience. This offers easy access and can assist with contract negotiations and ensuring participation from the intended athletes.
With a digital network and social publishing tools as an all-in-one experience, you’re able to access your influencers, ambassadors, and athletes; schedule and send tap-to-publish content suggestions; and measure results in real-time.
What to expect
Your network put the power of multiple, diverse channels in your hands. With access to more engaged, influential social media channels, you will be better equipped to drive business outcomes for your organization. But there are several guidelines to make the most of the moment alongside your valued ambassadors and influencers.
Do… share engaging, valuable content that will help your ambassadors build and engage their audience. By helping your network, they will be more likely to willingly help you pursue business outcomes when asked.
Don’t… Strictly send sales or revenue-generating posts to your ambassadors. Your ambassadors will tire of sharing only revenue-oriented content. Soon, their fans will be able to spot a paid or “company” post from a mile away.
Do… consistently share content suggestions with your network. Consistency will help build their audience and enhance the effectiveness of your message.
Don’t… expect results on day-1. Marketers rarely find one-post-wins on social media. Give your program time and patience before shifting strategy.
Do… Tailor voice and tone to each individual in your network.
Don’t… Use a one-size fits all approach. Your network and audience will shut this down quickly.
Do… allow your content to stretch beyond your business, into adjacent interests and relevant topics for your ambassadors.
Don’t… try to limit your network’s additional social media activity. It’s okay to monitor for appropriate messaging, but don’t overstep your bounds.
Do… track performance of individuals within your network and specific content types. Use your findings to better personalize and tailor content to resonate with your network’s audience.
Don’t… over-analyze every post from every individual. Depending on the social media network, as little as 2% of your followers sees every post. Sometimes timing was just off. Trust the process and try again tomorrow.
You’re ready to begin building your multi-channel network approach. This plan will opens the door for more marketing efficiency and effectiveness. More channels, audience, and influencer will be at your fingers. Now, you’ll be able to drive tangible outcomes for your business, including…
- Driving Leads
- Adding Followers & Engagement
- Improving Ecommerce
- Maximizing Ticket Sales and Tune-In
- Assist in Recruiting Performance.