Social Storytelling combines strategic marketing, public relations, digital marketing, and social media into one integrated program designed to connect with prospects, nurture your current customers, and encourage them to become loyal customers. The ultimate goal is to empower your customers to become your best marketers, A.K.A. your brand ambassadors, through word-of-mouth marketing.

Converting loyal customers into ambassadors has become a bit easier with the growth of social media. True brand building usually happens organically. Here are 5 ways to create a brand advocate program for your business.

1. Work from the inside out
Start with your employees first. Empower your employees by explaining the story you want to share and then] providing them with the right communication tools. Encourage them to serve as your first line of brand ambassadors.

2. Speak with one voice
Social media is a powerful tool. Use social media to grow your business’ brand but create guidelines for your employees to give them some direction and consistency. It’s important for all your brand ambassadors to share the same message.

3. Don’t try to buy your friends
That goes for your customers too. Offering cash prizes or other promotional incentives have become “old school” tactics. Your customers will be more motivated by free trials or sneak peeks of your products, insider access to information about your business, and other tangible benefits than by a mundane cash prize. Plus, your customers will feel more connected to your brand if they are informed

4. It takes a village
Create a blog on your website and encourage your employees and customers to participate in sharing relevant content stories about your business, products, or services. Providing your audience with an avenue to share their thoughts, ideas, and opinions can contribute to improving your brand. A blog also gives you access to monitor what people are saying about your business.

5. Use people-speak language
Customers typically don’t want to read your business jargon. Make sure your presenting your message in terms your customers can understand. Community engagement is about allowing the human side of the brand come through.

Whether it’s a customer or an employee, people look to the web and use social media to become more informed. With the right strategy and marketing tools, you can turn your customers and employees into your best marketers!