An important part of the modern marketing department's arsenal is the use of influencers to spread the word of the business and its product. Brand ambassadors act as cheerleaders for your business and represent the culture of your company to the public.
A brand ambassador program is a special type of marketing campaign that puts your company's message in the hands of influencers with a certain goal in mind, such as improving your sales, brand recognition or reputation. These programs can be temporary partnerships that last for a set time or ongoing relationships. Either way, it should involve a contract with negotiated compensation for the work and effort the ambassador is willing to put in.
Besides driving sales and increasing brand awareness, the use of brand ambassadors has other benefits that other forms of marketing lack.
1. Naturally increase your social media presence
"We believe one of the main benefits of having a brand ambassador program is to reap the benefits of social media and increase your social media presence," said Matt Schmidt, CEO of Burial Insurance Pro. "Most ambassadors come with 'online' credibility and a large social media following."
A brand ambassador's main medium is social media, particularly platforms where they're able to acquire a sizable following, such as Instagram and YouTube.
2. Become a source of content
Your brand ambassadors create content that either features or centers on your business or product. Depending on your ultimate goal, they can do things such as drive interest in your industry using your business or utilize your product or service in their regular content.
As part of the partnership with your brand ambassador, the content they create with your brand will be yours to keep and use again as you see fit, such as posting it on your own social media pages and your website.
A creative brand ambassador will make content that utilizes your brand in a positive, fun way and will continue to be useful to you in the long run. Content such as video reviews, demonstrations or funny promo videos can be shared and posted multiple times.
3. Create a community
In the world of influencer marketing, there are clear superstars who are guaranteed to get your products or services in front of thousands or maybe even millions of eyes, akin to a celebrity endorsement. This is quantifiable by the number of followers these influencers have, and you can expect those numbers to reflect how much it will cost to work with them. But you don't have to go after the biggest Instagram celebrities or YouTube stars.
Your brand ambassadors don't need to have legions of followers; instead, they can have smaller audiences that they regularly engage with. They can influence their audience and bring attention to your company, changing the way it's viewed by all. Even if they're just reaching their family and friends, you're jump-starting a word-of-mouth campaign and hopefully building a community of enthusiasts.
"The results won't happen overnight, but if you have a well-thought-out long-term strategy and a vision to implement the strategy, there aren't any reasons why you shouldn't see results in a matter of a month or two," Schmidt said.
Find brand ambassadors
An easy way to find good brand ambassadors is to field your own social media following and find active followers who are enthusiastic about your business. Reach out to them and let them know you're interested in working with them as a brand ambassador. It's important to find people who will represent your brand the way you'd like it to be represented. Take care to look at their audience and decide if they match your own target audience.
The qualities of a good brand ambassador include being not only outgoing and personable, but also creative, trustworthy and genuine. Find individuals who really like your business and would be excited to work with you. Working with someone who isn't familiar with your business or interested in your product won't come off well and would be akin to a common paid advertisement. Their audience can easily sense disingenuous branding deals.
When recruiting brand ambassadors, it's important to set well-defined agreements beforehand that outline how your ambassadors present your brand. Otherwise, you risk not being represented in a proper and professional way. You don't want your company and branding to be part of inappropriate social media postings that hurt rather than help your cause.
Another great source for brand ambassadors is your own staff. Employees can be great brand ambassadors and come with lots of perks. They can share the most accurate information about the company and have better insight on what kinds of messages will benefit the brand.
"There is much research to support the fact that employees are highly trusted when it comes to sharing information about the companies they work for and the products/services those companies create and sell," said Linda Pophal, communication strategiest. "I would say the greatest potential downfall for companies is that, in order for employees to be willing to serve as brand ambassadors and to share positive messages, they have to be loyal, committed and engaged with the organization."