A brand ambassador I manage called me up on the phone one day and asked if he could run something by me. This wasn’t unusual because this particular member always has great ideas and I encourage him to call me. He asked me if he could create a private Facebook page for our community. He explained that he had experience with another community where they did this and they found it to be very effective. A “virtual locker room” he called it, where they could hang out and talk about anything they wanted within the community out of the public eye. I wish I could say that I came up with that idea but I didn’t Steve did; fortunately though I quickly saw the value.
In my opinion anything that creates or solidifies community is a good thing. Not only is it a good thing but it helps the community become more genuine. A lot of our community members live all over the country and having a group on Facebook (a platform they’re already using) helped them get to know each other on a personal level. Lately the group has taken to posting their blog posts they write for ICEdot Athletes on the private Facebook page in addition to the other daily things they ask each other or talk about. That’s also a very good thing because I don’t always post their blog posts on our company Facebook page (although I try) so at the very least the community is reading what the others are writing and in turn sharing on their own social media channels.
Back to Steve. Steve is an awesome brand ambassador because he really believes in our product and likes our company. He’s made an effort to go out of his way on a business trip and come by our offices to simply meet us. How awesome is that? He’s brought our company up in professional settings at his work and made lots of introductions. He doesn’t get paid to do this, he does it because he likes to and as I said earlier, he likes us as a company. He’s a very important brand ambassador and member of our community. He once told me a story that he was a brand ambassador for another very large, well known company. At one point he came up with in my opinion (and in the opinion of the community he belonged) a really good extension of the product. He went so far as to mock-up what that would look like and how to market…and it was good stuff! Great ideas and very insightful feedback. What company or marketing director wouldn’t want that? He said he sent the idea to them several times and never heard anything back. He explained to them that he didn’t want compensation he simply wanted them to use it or even acknowledge that he sent that to them. I agreed with him that was a mistake or oversight on their part. He then told me that was one of the reasons he liked working with us because he could simply call me up whenever he had an idea. I agree but I also think bigger companies can do…and should do a better job at this.
Our community members often email me with ideas about our product or where we should market. Sometimes we’ve thought of these already and sometimes we haven’t. Either way it’s encouraging to have your community think about your product that way and offer feedback to you. It’s a tremendous source of intel that should not be overlooked.
You’ll often hear community managers talk about “listening” and perhaps you’re wondering what the heck they’re talking about. My story here about Steve is a perfect example of “listening” to your community. They often have something very useful to say.