How to Build a Community with Brand Ambassadors
When I first started Vitae Apparel, I set out to create a community of women that supported and empowered each other. Today, our brand community is comprised of over 4,000 brand ambassadors.
In exchange for their steady engagement with our social media posts, they receive exclusive discounts, early access to products, special events, travel opportunities, and more. Once onboarded, ambassadors are also added to a private ambassador Facebook group and Instagram account. With these platforms, our team is able to connect with ambassadors individually and facilitate discussion around our brand values: female empowerment, health and fitness, mental wellness, and body positivity.
Initially, I did it because I wanted to bring together like-minded women from all over the world. I didn’t realize how much of an asset it could be not only to its members but also to my business.
An Abundance of User-Generated Content
Investing all this time in building a community often proves advantageous for growing brands. For starters, good brand ambassadors will afford you an extensive bank of user-generated content to use in your marketing.
These are essentially photos or videos of real-world customers wearing and using your products. Ambassadors take the time to capture high-quality, aesthetic photos because they know ambassador pictures are used on our social media channels and they want the opportunity to be featured.
This has worked wonders for Vitae Apparel. Not only is it free content for us to fill our feed with, but it also attracts new potential customers because we showcase real, everyday women instead of unrelatable, tall, and skinny supermodels.
A Community of Repeat Customers
The main reason why ambassadors sign up in the first place is simply because they love your product! They want to stay in the loop and be the first to know when new products drop. These customers have tried and tested your products. They know it works for them and they prefer it over competing brands. By default, this means more sales for you.
In essence, your community becomes a group of repeat customers.
Social Proof for Skeptics
For skeptics or people that have never ordered from you before, the uncertainty of purchasing from an unfamiliar business can, understandably, be a big deterrent.
A strong brand ambassador, as their title suggests, does an excellent job vouching for your products. This can either be directed towards potential customers they already know or shoppers that they interact with over social media. Additionally, a well-organized Facebook group acts as a form of social proof showing the public that your brand is legitimate and can be trusted.
Your Own Dedicated Focus Group
Another fantastic part of being closely connected with your community members is the ability to get instant feedback from them.
For example, when we’re ordering inventory or creating new products we can ask the community what colors or designs they would prefer and, consequently, would be more likely to purchase.
This works the other way as well! Ambassadors can post in your Facebook group and give suggestions about products, websites, or campaigns. Reading and responding to those suggestions will only help you grow as a company and also makes your community members feel valued and heard.
All business aside, having a large community of like-minded people is just a great time! Getting to know your most loyal customers virtually or at events is truly an enriching experience. You’re passionate about your brand but so are they! That one commonality alone serves as an instant connection.
Getting close with your ambassadors also encourages them to root not only for the success of your business but also for you.
How to Build Community
So with all these benefits in mind, the next question is… how do you build a brand community?
Step 1 – Identify Your Brand Mission
Identify what your brand stands for and what sets you apart. This needs to be your first selling point when seeking out ambassadors. You want community members that share your brand values and connects with your following.
Step 2 – Pick Your Platform
Pick a social media platform that best suits your target audience. For Vitae, our target audience was women aged 18-25, so Instagram was the perfect platform. Others to consider are Facebook, Reddit, independent blogs, Discord, and Clubhouse.
Step 3 – Provide Value
Make frequent posts on your platform of choice to show your community that you’re not just selling a product. Post content that is interesting and relevant to your community. Being a fitness and lifestyle brand, we post about fitness, nutrition, self-care, and wellness.
Step 4 – Stay Engaged
Engage with your community members! People like feeling heard and they are more likely to stay interested when they feel valued. Comment on community members’ posts, reply to their comments, like their posts, and tag people. Be friendly, inviting, relatable and approachable.
All in all, your community will play a crucial role in determining the reputation of your company. Investing in building a positive brand culture will pay off and will benefit your business in the long run.