Brand advocates, or Champions, are key in ensuring the success of an online community. Champions are your most loyal customers, your biggest fans, and your most helpful users. Typically, Champions participate in a community and answer the questions of others out of the goodness of their heart. They enjoy being recognized as a top contributor or a subject matter expert, and will often defend your brand during times of need.
Prior to launching your Champions program, take the time to define each part of the program clearly and rally support around your Champs from others in the organization. Decide what it means to be a Champ, what’s required to earn and maintain Champ status, and what the benefits are for being a Champ.
Defining Your Champs Program
When defining your Champions program, it’s helpful to think about the overall mission and goals of your community, and tie Champion duties back into them. That way the success of your program can be tied back to the overall success of your community, and ultimately ROI can be developed. Here are a few questions that will help with defining a Champions program:
- What is the goal of our Champions program?
- Build stronger brand advocacy across the web
- Help reduce employee involvement in the community
- Develop Champerators to watch the community outside of normal business hours
- What is expected of a Champion?
- Build peer to peer interaction and support in the community by participating in active topics, and sharing knowledge with new members
- Lead by example by maintaining an active, positive presence in the community. Uphold the community guidelines, step in if users begin to argue with one another, and drive conversations toward productive outcome
- Advocate for our brand both online and offline
- What qualifications define Champion status in our community?
- History of positive contributions within the community
- Demonstrated positive engagement and participation
- Demonstrated product knowledge
- What are the benefits to being a Champion?
- Special recognition within the community with a custom Champs badge and a listing on the community’s “People” page.
- Exclusive access to our team via email and Skype, and advanced-access to new features and releases
- Potentially earn Champerator status, which would give the Champ access to moderation tools. A useful skill set to add to one’s resume or LinkedIn profile
- Fun schwag from our company to wear or share
- How am I measuring the success of our Champions program?
- Number of issues resolved by Champs
- Number of active topics created by Champs
- Number of new customers related to Champion activity
Ongoing Champs Management
As your program grows you’ll want to continue to engage and reward your Champs, as well as add new Champs to your program. Set up regular checkpoints with your Champions as well as exclusive activities, including:
- Groups – Create a private Get Satisfaction Community, Facebook Group, Google+ Community, or another exclusive forum for your Champs to develop relationships with one another, and deepen the relationship with your brand.
- Regular Communications – Send regular newsletters to your Champs so that they’re kept up to date with your company happenings. Consider setting up monthly, or quarterly, calls with your Champs to keep them engaged and in the loop.
- Offline Meetups – Depending on your community, you may be able to pull together regular events where your Champs and employees can get together face-to-face.
Measuring the Success of a Champs Program
The key to the longevity of your Champs program, and to get management to continue spending money on your custom Champs schwag, is to be able to measure the overall success of your program. Measuring success of your Champs program will increase the value of your community, and ultimately help increase ROI. Depending on your community’s goals, you may want to monitor the following metrics:
- Total number of Champions compared to “engaged” Champions
- Number of conversations started, and issues resolved, by Champs
- Amount of positive participation on negative threads
- Quantity of topic activities
- If a Champerator, amount of topics moderated (archived, removed, etc.)
Champions Program Template