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One of the best perks of social media is the way it democratizes marketing. With the help of devoted consumers, you can take your brand messaging farther than ever – without increasing your marketing budget. Here’s how to use social listening to identify those influential brand ambassadors.

The passion principle

Most social listening technique requires you to look beyond mere mentions of your brand as a metric of consumer love – because sheer volume of mentions doesn’t indicate how people are talking about you.

What matters is how consumers feel – and the amount of passion they demonstrate for your brand when they’re talking about you.

Use sentiment analysis to find the members of your audience speaking with the highest degree of positivity about your brand. You’re looking for those who are actively engaging with your campaigns and recommending you to others, versus simply mentioning your brand.  These are your potential brand ambassadors.

Who’s talking about you?

Identifying the people who love you is just the beginning. Influencers are not all built the same any more than the rest of your audience is – so you’ve got to look at what specifically these people love. That way you have leverage to encourage them to amplify your messaging.

This is normally where you’d go deeper and look at the other topics they are passionate about – and that’s the strategy here too – but this time you also want to know what makes them love your brand so much. Are they entrepreneurial Millennial women who love the way your products organize their life? Are they golf-loving Gen X-er men who can’t live without your sports drink?

Find out who these people are in relation to your brand – and beyond – and you’ll be able to create segments by topic, appeal to them as people, and get them excited to talk about you even more.

Who’s listening to them?

Of course, really helping you means they need an audience of their own. There may be thousands or even millions of people who love your brand – but they aren’t all influencer-worthy. Someone with 27 Twitter followers isn’t going to take your messaging very far.

But you don’t necessarily need to get Beyoncé and her millions of fans to make a splash for your brand. A super passionate lover of your brand with at least 500 devoted followers can be enough – especially if they engage a segment you really want to claim.

What counts is how active they are. Someone with 2000 followers who only tweets once a week isn’t any more of a help – because their posts aren’t filtering through to those 2000 people at that rate.

You’re looking for people who love your brand and love talking about it on social media regularly.

Deputizing more of your audience with UGC

Existing brand ambassadors aren’t the only option for carrying your message via consumer channels. Encouraging user generated content (UGC) is another way to help shake the social tree and find more influencers.

Instead of 10 people with 3000 followers each, you may inspire 3000 people to create content to share with all of their followers, which increases reach exponentially as well. And from those you may spot another few with the kind of passionate following worth harnessing. Or start a chain reaction of sharing across all of your followers.

If you have fans already creating UGC, use them to inspire others. If you don’t, create a campaign to get users excited to show you their brand love – like Coke did so well with their #ShareACoke campaign.

As Coke proves, your ask of fans doesn’t have to be anything fancy – a selfie of them in one of your stores, a video of them using your product, fan art of the characters in your book or TV show, etc. Just get them involved.

You don’t even need to offer huge incentives. Showcasing their content in some way can be enough to motivate them.

Screencap of fan art shown live on AMC TV during Talking Dead’s Fan Art of the Week segment

And each share broadcasts the idea to their friends, encouraging greater participation.

Engage your army

It’s clear why brand ambassadors are such a necessary commodity – they save you a ton of work and money, while increasing brand awareness. You want to keep them around, and encourage more people to join the ranks – so never take them for granted!

Engage, inspire and reward them for being part of your team – and they’ll go to bat for you even when things go wrong.

There’s no shortcut to that kind of devotion. So put your social listening tools to work, and build your team – one influencer at a time. You’ll never regret it.

Want to see how our sentiment analysis tools help you segment your audience? Get in touch for a demo!

Image from Mario Emiliano Fernandez

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