How to set up a dealer advocacy program in 6 steps

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Dealer advocacy is a strategy used by many companies with a distributor network to amplify their reach and grow their brand through their own dealers and their trusted network. Such a program can be formally established and launched via an advocacy platform that automates efforts and maximizes results. In this article, we talk about how exactly you can set up a dealer advocacy program.

What is dealer advocacy

Dealer advocacy resembles the more known customer or employee advocacy, namely, a system where your customers, employees, or, in this case, dealers advocate for you and promote your brand online, mostly on social media.

Dealer advocacy is a strategy mostly used by companies with a distributor network that handles the sale of their product or service firsthand to ensure their brand presence is consistent, providing a unified experience throughout all the available channels. If you’re not familiar with the concept of dealer advocacy and want to find out more about why your company needs it, its benefits, and long-term value, check out this article for more insights.

How dealer advocacy works

Dealer advocacy plays out mostly on social media as your distributors promote your company’s content on their own social media channels and pages. The overarching idea defining dealer advocacy is that by actively involving dealers or partners in its marketing efforts, a brand can expand its reach, make its message more impactful, and enhance brand presence and awareness.

On a practical level, with a dealer-reseller advocacy program, the dealer offers its reseller network a platform to enable resellers to access an online content hub, always full of pre-approved, branded, and ready-to-go content to either download and use on their channels, directly share onto their pages, or engage with in a meaningful way by liking or commenting on it. 

Plus, of course, you’ll be able to track results and progress and monitor ongoing campaigns and the overall performance of your advocacy program. Ambassify has built-in analytics and tracking tools, allowing you to measure engagement, clicks, and other relevant metrics, gaining valuable insights into the program's effectiveness and progress.

How to set up a dealer advocacy program

If you are a company with a distributor network, then you are a prime candidate for dealer advocacy, but at this point, you might be asking yourself, practically speaking, what steps you should be taking to set up a dealer advocacy program.

We've got you covered. Here are the 6 steps we deem essential to set up a program that meets your needs.

1. Find the right tool

As hinted at above, having a platform supporting your program is going to make a huge difference. Not only is it going to eliminate all manual processes (emailing each distributor with content on a weekly basis, contacting dealers and gathering feedback from each, and filing spreadsheets to keep track of activity, to name a few), but it’s also going to facilitate the tracking of important metrics such as individual dealer activity, performance, generated traffic, and more.

There are a million more reasons why you should opt for a platform-supported dealer advocacy program — including efficiency, effortless creation for you and sharing for them, streamlined communication, and much more — but the point is if you want to slim down your processes and make your program as straightforward as possible, find a solid, user-friendly platform that best suits your needs.

2. Set goals

Goal setting is a staple in any strategy or program. The central question is one: what do you want to achieve with it?

Marking out concrete (but realistic) goals for the launch of your program will help you gauge its progress over time, make it easier to judge its outcome along the way, and, of course, adjust when needed.

Ambassify offers tailored and personalized support to all customers, helping them along every step of the way, from goal setting to onboarding and launch and beyond. In this phase, your customer success manager will help you map out strategic goals for your program.

3. Identify those distributors that can help you grow your brand

Step 3 involves identifying the dealers or resellers that you think will be most willing to join your program. This has to be on a voluntary basis, of course, but it’s important in this phase to look at your dealers and what kind of relationship you have with them.

These will be those dealers you are most in contact with, those with whom you’ve collaborated in the past, and those you know personally, for example. 

Being involved in a dealer advocacy program is a great way to solidify your relationship with them, so inviting them to be part of it and explaining how it works and everything that goes along with it is a great first step to breaching any potential gap between you and make them a trusted ambassador.

4. Onboard your dealer ambassadors

The onboarding phase is a delicate one because it will set the tone for the entirety of your program. Onboarding your dealers involves two main things: explaining how the platform works and showing them what their advantages are in using it.

First things first: showing off the platform. If you choose a user-friendly platform like Ambassify, walking your dealers through it will be all it takes to demonstrate how easy it is to use it and convince them to get on board. Ambassify doesn’t foresee a steep learning curve, so everything will be clear and easily understandable from the get-go.

After explaining how to log in, interact with the content, connect their social media accounts, and re-share content onto them, your dealers will be good to go and start advocating for you.

After that, you have to make sure the ‘what’s-in-it-for-me’ factor is addressed. As willing as they may be to help you out and support your brand communication via their own social media channels, dealers will still want to know that they are also gaining something out of this collaboration. So, make sure all their advantages are clear to them from the start, and that will ensure a higher activation rate and engagement. 

5. Provide training 

Training is another fundamental part of any advocacy program, even more so when it involves dealers. If you want them to be witnessed as authorities and experts in their industry, you have to make sure they are building up their expertise and knowledge — both in a practical sense and on social media. 

Practically speaking, you will need to provide training and support for them to be up-to-date on market insights, trends, and advancements in your products and services. While at the same time, you also want to help them showcase that knowledge on social media, build up their presence there, and grow as thought leaders.

This is very important if you want them to strengthen their relationship with their (and, by extension, your) trusted network of customers.

6. Grow as you go

Last but not least, there’s growth. Growing means increasing the number of dealer ambassadors in your community but also improving your processes by exchanging feedback with the dealers and providing the best support and content for them.

The Ambassify platform offers the possibility to go beyond the sharing of media and content on social media. In fact, it allows you to take your advocacy program one step further and create an actual collaborative relationship with your reseller network by launching surveys, gathering feedback, sharing documents and campaigns, ideating upcoming campaigns, and so much more.

There you have it; we hope that your road to building and launching your own dealer advocacy program has become clearer, and you are now ready to take the first step to growing your brand and amplifying its reach through your dealer network.