In a competitive market, many brands will look to diversify their marketing efforts. Leveraging the right marketing channels for your brand is a great way of reaching new audiences without overspending on your marketing budget. This could lead you to turn your customer into affiliates or brand ambassadors.
Some brands use brand ambassadors as a marketing channel. Although this technique can be tricky, using it right and investing in developing your program can bring in a new revenue stream. Passionate, committed brand ambassadors and successful niche influencers are a great tool in your marketing arsenal to reach new customers.
What are brand ambassadors?
Brand ambassadors are individuals (or sometimes groups) who are compensated in some way for promoting a brand or product. There are different types of brand ambassadors, particularly when it comes to their level of formal employment.
Some brand ambassadors may be celebrities or social media influencers (which sometimes overlaps with social media influencer marketing) with a formal contract. Others might be informal ambassadors who receive offers or free products to casually promote a brand.
Image sourced from Statista
Different sectors utilize brand ambassadors differently. This type of marketing has a diverse range of uses, including for:
- Hospitality – bars and restaurants may take on casual ambassadors who are already patrons of their establishment to share content on their social media, for nominal payment or discounts.
- eCommerce – eCommerce sites may partner with professional influencers or micro influencers within their niche to reach relevant audiences in their online spaces.
- Services – service users with existing social media followings may be approached to share their experiences online as a type of case study, acting as a brand ambassador moving forward. This also helps boost the business’ social media presence, supporting their Facebook, Twitter, and instagram growth, amongst other platforms.
- Delivery – food and delivery companies may approach regional or local ambassadors to promote the merits of their services on social media.
These are just some of the ways that brands might approach ambassadors to promote their work and the brand’s reputation. How they do this will depend entirely on the nature of their product or service, their marketing budget and their approach to digital and social media marketing, as this is where a lot of ambassadorships are focused.
Hiring brand ambassadors that are right for you
Selecting a brand ambassador is not that to selecting a new employee, in that it necessitates a similar attention to detail and dedication to attracting talent—that’s why many companies employ the help of recruitment process outsourcing with an RPO company.
Brands cannot use just any brand ambassadors—ambassador programs work best when ambassadors are passionate about your brand and have a following of like-minded people. For this reason, you need to know how to find and reach out to ambassadors that are right for your business.
Image sourced from Statista
These six tips will help you to level up your ambassador game and drive more customers to your business.
1. Understand your audience
First of all, it’s crucial to understand that you should already have a solid understanding of your audience. You should be undertaking regular social listening and consumer media monitoring to understand what your audience needs and how you can provide it.
What does it mean to understand your audience from an ambassador perspective?
You need to dedicate time to researching where your audience exists in online spaces. This includes:
- Knowing broadly which social media and media platforms your audience personas use – by age, location, gender and interests, among other factors.
- Understanding which competitor pages and groups interest your audience and how you might access these other audiences.
- Understanding how your audience prefers to consume content and when, i.e. by video or static media, in the morning before work, or in the evening.
You should then map out the key media channels that attract your audience. You can then begin to locate influencers in these spaces.
2. Know where influencers exist
Every social media platform has its influencers and individuals that would make suitable brand ambassadors. The trick is how you go about finding them. These are a few of the major steps towards locating the right ambassadors for your business:
- Platforms: you’ve already identified your key platforms, it’s now time to find out how major industry influencers communicate with their audience, so that you can decide what style of ambassador communication works for you.
- Goals: spend some time in the spaces that you want to target. This way, you can experience how these spaces communicate and whether their goals and values align with your own. From here, you can find micro influencers who might work well with your brand.
- Past form: by spending time in the spaces that your audience frequents, you’re likely to come across existing ambassadors. Take the time to see their past work and decide whether they would collaborate well with your business.
- Competitors: when it comes to research, competitors are your friend. Go over ambassador or partner posts from competitor brands that have been popular with your audiences, and try to map out similarities that you could emulate in your own campaign.
Once you have located potential ambassadors, you should then map out your strategy for approaching them. For this, you should have a dedicated database, and business phone numbers and email inbox for contacting and managing ambassadors.
3. Be proactive with resources
A successful ambassadorship makes full use of resources from their business. Make sure that you know what resources you need to share with your ambassadors and have this prepared, ready for distribution.
For example, if an HR systems firm wants to promote their content and expertise through an ambassador, then they would need to share this content – ‘How to master investor meetings’, as an example – as well as background research and expectations for the campaign. The ambassador should then receive support throughout the campaign in terms of information and resources.
When it comes to reaching out to new ambassadors, you should have separate resources prepared and ready for distribution. These may include guidelines for ambassadors, any reward systems in place, and point-of-contact details.
4. Lay out your expectations
Communicating your expectations from the beginning of the partnership is crucial to finding the right ambassadors for your brand. While it shouldn’t be the very first thing you discuss with new ambassadors, you need to make sure that the following is quickly from the beginning:
- Remuneration and monetary expectations.
- Expected commitments – posting frequency, post lengths.
- The expected length of the ambassadorship.
- Exclusivity of content and other working obligations.
- Any legal obligations that you have towards one another.
- What ambassadors are to do in the event of being contacted by a customer.
You’ve also got to maintain your own standards of professionalism for the ambassadorship to succeed.
If, for example, you expect to be able to contact your ambassadors at certain times, then they should be able to do the same. If this is not possible consider, for example, whether you can set up voicemail to email notifications or host an automated support line.
5. Give confidence in your business
This is the core of an ambassador program. An influential individual promotes your brand because they have real passion and confidence in the work that you do. This is the ideal scenario for any company hiring brand ambassadors, and one that you can foster by demonstrating internal confidence in your business.
There are a number of ways that you can do this, including:
- Creating a pitch deck or presentation on the pain points that your product addresses.
- Having a clear idea of your unique selling points (USPs).
- Identifying, acknowledging and addressing potential faults with your product or service.
- Backing up the theory of your product with data-backed evidence.
Proving the usefulness of your product or service is the best way to promote confidence in your brand. This means that your brand needs to be widely and routinely tested. Crowdtesting platforms are a great way of doing this on a large scale, with unbiased individuals able to report positive and negative outcomes in real time.
6. Tailor your communication
Ambassadors need to know that your brand wants to work with them specifically. After all, this is the point of an ambassador program – brands promoting themselves through partnership with passionate and influential individuals.
For example, your brand could:
- Use merge fields for mass email communications
- Have a point of contact that is familiar with high-profile ambassadors
- Implement a Dialpad VoIP number and cloud-based information storage for streamlined communication
- Acknowledge your ambassadors by name on social media
Make sure that any aspect of your communications that aren’t personalized are targeted towards influencers and ambassadors. Find out how to create electronic signatures and email sign-offs to keep every part of your communication up to scratch!
The first step towards using ambassador marketing is to decide whether or not it’s right for your brand. You should understand how to measure the success of your program, including key performance indicators (KPIs) and customer satisfaction metrics. These will determine whether the program is working for your brand and whether it should continue.
Finally, you should consider how best to approach ambassadors. This includes factors like their online and physical locations, their niche and following, your expectations, and what your audience expects to see (or not) from your brand.