One of the first tools TechSoup used to engage and activate community were the TechSoup forums, Susan Tenby, our forum pioneer, and Michael DeLong will give some background on our forums and will about how the forum community helped inspire our current effort to build and further formalize an ambassador program. I’ll walk you though the lessons learned and talk a bit about the steps we’ve taken towards building and formalizing the TechSoup Community Ambassador ProgramFinally, we will have an open forum discussion, where I’ll seed some questions to you so that you can share your experience with an existing program and/or your desire to build one. This is also an opportunity for you to ask some questions to us and to each other.
We are all community managers, so we understand that in today’s hyper connected world, building an active community of followers is essential. If done right, an ambassador program will help you get and keep the best kind of people – dedicated fans not only loyal to your organization, but who also become evangelists that do outreach for you. Tap into an incredibly passionate community to build a movement
These are some steps you’ll need to take and consider when putting together your organization’s ambassador program.
A successful Community Ambassador program requires a long-term commitment to the program itself, as well as to empowering the ambassadors to spread your message on their terms and in their space. Give your ambassadors the freedom to take your message and make it their own. An ambassador program takes time to build momentum and create results, so be willing to give it the time to reach its full potential.
Do some research. We interviewed potential ambassadors to identify their needs, concerns and expectations. This human capital will help us shape the program.
If you start small and select those that are truly passionate about your organization or mission, the growth will come organically as these passionate people will help you identify others just like them.
Make ambassadors knowledgeable and empower them, createtoolkits, and trainings, make them understand your organization, that way they will be able to stay on message. Create talking points and check in points. Remind, but don’t restrict. Be positive, rather than saying don’t do this, tell them what they are able to do and how they are expected to behave. Also remember: The two way dialogue is the hallmark of every Ambassador program Remember you will be empowering ambassadors to speak on your behalf and maybe to recruit others. So they must be clear.
Rewards are more than money. Look at perks and rewards that are achievable within your budget and since you know your ambassadors best, you will be able to match those things with your rewards. Be real about what you are able to give ambassadors. Here are some simple and general ways to recognize ambassador. There are easy way to recognize ambassadors! You can highlight them on twitter, blog about the wonderful work they are doing, for example we have a community newsletter on kontribune where we do community spotlights
I have some questions for you, but I am sure you also have questions for me and others. So lets open it up!
Ambassador Program - OCTribe
Finding, Embracing and Engaging your Biggest Fans Bea Dominguez Online Community Curator firstname.lastname@example.org @trichetriche
Today’s Agenda• TechSoup’s Forum Royalty – How forums helped inspire our own Ambassador Program• Lessons Learned - Steps to Build and Manage and Ambassador Program• Open Forum – Moderated Discussion and Q&A
TechSoup Forums• TechSoup forums background• How we first engaged an identified the first forum leaders and stars• Where are we now? What the TechSoup forums look like today
Why Should You Build an Ambassador Program?To create an active & passionate community offollowers that can talk about your organizationand can help activate other communitymembers
Building and Managing an Ambassador Program1. Make Time, Give it Time2. Know your Community: Identify Potential Ambassadors3. Start Small, Grow Big4. Communicate & Define Guidelines5. Recognize your Ambassadors
Make Time, Give it TimeTurning active community members into loyalpromoters and evangelists is a focused effortthat will take time. Not only staff time duringthe planning and research stage, but also timeto “get going”. An ambassador program takestime to build momentum and create results, sobe willing to give it the time to reach its fullpotential.
Know Your Community: Identify Potential AmbassadorsChances are you already have people who loveyour organization and brand. This inner circle ofsuper fans are already active and connected.Who are they? What do they have in common?What do they need/want?
Start Small, Grow BigYou don’t have to have a million members inyour ambassador program. In fact, it is better tohave 10 truly passionate communityambassadors than 10,000 “meh” members.However, always think about how you can bestengage those “mehmbers” and move them upthe ladder of engagement.
Talk the Talk: Communicate Effectively with Ambassadors• Give your ambassadors the tools to communicate your message effectively and give them the freedom to make the message their own.• Give guidelines, but don’t restrict.
Recognize your Ambassadors• Help them build their network: Connect them with advocates and leaders, and create ways for them to connect with each other• Create exclusive ambassador experiences & perks• Encourage/further their learning• Recognize their leadership. Feature them on spotlights and thank them often