Summer might have just rolled into gear, but if you own your company’s college ambassador program, you know it’s time to get everything into place for launching the 2015-2016 program! The beginning of the summer is the ideal time to take stock of your goals for a college ambassador program and make sure you are set for success.
Here are 6 tips for setting up a successful program from the start this year.
Determine (or re-evaluate) your program goals
It’s key that you know what you want to get out of your program as the school year kicks off. Do you want to expand usage of your app, acquire new users, better understand your core customers, get more brand awareness, etc. etc.? You want to select ambassadors and activities that can help you achieve these goals. If getting brand awareness is key, for example, you might want to ensure you have ambassadors spread out across schools in your target areas. If expanding usage is key, you might want to have ambassadors participate in activities help spread the word about why your product is amazing. Whatever the goal is, make sure you keep it in mind through each step of your program.
Recruit the right ambassadors
Figuring out where and how to recruit college ambassadors can sometimes feel a little daunting. How many schools do you start with and how many ambassadors should you recruit? There are a few key ways to recruit that we’ve seen work. The first is to simply put an application up on your website. This allows you to recruit the students who are already fans, visiting your site. If you don’t have the time or resources to add an area to your website, you can always create a form using Surveymonkey or Wufoo and put it up on your social media and broadly share across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. You can also use college career sites, Craigslist, LinkedIn, Indeed, Looksharp or Campus Job, to name a few places, to post the description of what you’re looking for to get back a broad cross-section of candidates.
Train, but don’t go overboard.
You don’t have to go overboard with training (and in fact, we suggest you don’t overload students with lots of documents to read and tons of forms to fill out), but it can be helpful for the long run to make sure ambassadors understand exactly what’s expected of them for a semester. It will save you a lot of time answering the same questions over and over and over again. Show them some sample activities and examples of what a job well done looks like. Put up some simple guidelines in your ambassador community. Or do a series of short videos. Whatever you do, remember that attention span is short, and it’s most important that you offer up training materials in bite-sized pieces for ambassadors to refer back to and remember. And you do want to give your ambassadors some leeway to be really authentic in how they promote your brand.
Create relevant activities
What should I have my college ambassadors do? What offers the biggest bang for my buck? Some of the activities we’ve seen work well with our customers are:
- Have ambassadors host an on-campus event related to your product or service, whether that be a fashion show, a volunteer event or a career session.
- Pass out swag or product samples. College students know their own campus better than anyone else and so they’re often the best reps to scope out the areas and events that capture the most exposure.
- Ask ambassadors to fill out a product survey. These are your core customers so ask them what they think.
- Host a training event related to your product or service.
- Write a blog post – this could be about an experience with your brand or just something relevant to your brand.
- Create a video – have ambassadors do short videos of themselves interacting with your product or brand.
- Share news on social media.
Reward in ways that students want to be rewarded
While money is certainly one way to reward ambassadors, and can be a good reward for broke college students, you can get great results from other types of rewards that help build skills and experiences for the ambassadors. This could be by providing the opportunity to get an internship, writing a letter of recommendation or being featured on your website or social media (college students love a little 15 minutes of fame!). Product or swag can also work really well, as college students end up serving as walking billboards for you, since they’re wearing or using your products.
Keep up engagement
There are a few strategies we’ve seen work really well for engagement. The first is to spread out activities so that you’re continually adding new, exciting activities that entice ambassadors to get involved again. A second tactic is to set up the activities as challenges so that ambassadors are competing against each other for some sort of reward, for points or even just to be recognized by you. Finally, giving lots of encouragement and feedback keeps ambassadors coming back because they want to do a good job.
The school year might seem like a way’s off, but now’s the time to get your strategy and tactics in place for a super campus program!
Maybe you’re thinking about starting a college ambassador program, but aren’t quite sure how you’ll manage it. Or perhaps you already have a program, but you’re at a point where you really want to scale it up. If you’re in either of these boats, sign up for a trial of our software now to manage your program to success.