Digital business has given birth to digital marketing, and web owners are constantly trying to reach customers through marketing tactics that speak to this digital age. The digital world is moving at a fast pace, and clinging to traditional strategies may be a marketer’s downfall to competitors.
Being a digital marketer, you need to be more innovative and keep up with trends to consistently monitor your strategies. Here’s where brand ambassadors come into the picture.
Who is a Brand Ambassador?
71% of marketers believe that ongoing ambassadorships are the most effective form of influencer marketing. So what exactly is an ambassadorship? A brand ambassador is a person appointed by a company or an organization to showcase the positiveness of the brand and its products. A form of influencer marketing, ambassadors also play a pivotal role in increasing brand awareness and sales.
A brand ambassador can be a single person or a group of people. This can range from company employees to existing customers sharing positive reviews of your brand on social media.
These influencers also use other communication tools like emails, messages, and word of mouth publicity (which generates more than twice the sales of paid advertising) to generate engagement from their fans. Unlike general influencers, brand ambassadors are generally loyal to a specific brand, consistently promoting its products often through a paid partnership that provides them with free products, discounts, or monetary compensation.
Types of Brand Ambassadors:
Employee Ambassador – an existing employee who also doubles as a brand advocate.
Existing Customers – who willingly post user-generated content (UGC) showcasing their experience with the brand’s product on social media, and share their unsolicited enthusiasm for your brand through word of mouth
Event Ambassador – individuals representing and marketing your products at various events or solely for specific campaigns
Strong Audience Ambassador – social users with a loyal target audience and is a trusted identity (like micro influencers, who tend to have niche, engaged followings)
Field Authority Experts – experts in their respective fields and serve as ambassadors, like a professional Yogi promoting Alo Yoga gear
Student Ambassador – typically young adults, students who can successfully promote the target audience on a college or related campus
Existing Customers – customers who are using and love your products, help promote the same with word-of-mouth publicity
Long story short, these individuals typically fall into two broader groups: established influencers and smaller-scale fans. Selecting who to target as a brand influencer involves identifying who is most connected with your target audience and aligns with your brand’s values.
Why Ambassador Marketing?
Why invest in an ambassador program? Apart from generic search engine optimization (SEO) and branded content, your brand needs a personal touch to establish itself amongst the competitors. Many think of ambassadors as the midpoint between micro influencers and customers.
Ambassador marketing is already a winning strategy because your brand connects with influencers, fans, and customers already supporting your products – often on social media or other high-visibility channels. Since 74% of consumers rely on social media to inform their purchasing decisions, it’s a good bet to focus your ambassador program efforts there first; if that’s where your customers already are. This bond translates to future success and customer loyalty; the lifetime value for customers referred by brand ambassadors is 16% higher than other customers.
How to Start an Ambassador Program
When a brand offers several individuals the opportunity to join a structured, ongoing partnership to promote products, this is called a brand ambassador program.
Hiring students to use their online influence to create awareness about your brand and its products is often termed a college brand ambassador program. College brand ambassadors can host campus-centric campaigns or events and also use word-of-mouth publicity through posters, social profiles, and online groups available to other students to increase your brand’s visibility.
Partnership with individual bloggers or influencers who work as affiliate marketers is known as affiliate brand ambassadors. They often get a commission on customer purchases that result from their marketing efforts, or personalized discount codes and free products. Both the company and the ambassador gain through this ambassador program.
Known for its top-tier car racks and other outdoor gear, Yakima Racks created its ambassador program, the RackPack, as an extension of its brand through relationships with individuals whose lifestyles align with the brand’s products. From photographers to athletes to adventurers, the RackPack features a diverse group of Yakima advocates sharing their experiences with and love for the brand’s products.
RackPack Ambassador Diego Huerta shares a photo with his Yakima car rack, but also makes his posts more personal than a paid ad by detailing his travel experience in the caption.
If a company is aiming for results within a specific time limit, it may opt for requirement-driven brand ambassadors, who try to raise awareness of the brand instantly and reap benefits. They are usually gifted with free products from the brand or hired on a commission basis.
These ambassadors tend to have a strong following on social media, resulting in increased ROI and brand awareness.
Designing a Best-in-Class Ambassador Program
Once you have decided which ambassador program is right for you, you must choose what motivation you will provide to your incoming advocates. A few examples include monetary compensation, commission, discounts, and free samples or products to feature in posts. You can also grant VIP access to events or new products to incentivize your ambassadors.
Now it’s time to pinpoint the individuals you want to reach out to. Start by searching through your brand mentions, existing followers, and related hashtags on social media. You can also use Pixlee’s platform for this step in influencer discovery; social users will be suggested to you based on your brand’s products and goals. Identify users with more followers than the typical social account whose interests and lifestyle align with your brand, and reach out to them with your offer via DM or email.
A few factors you should consider when choosing ambassadors:
- Are their posts professional and appropriate to reflect your brand values?
- Are they already using your products?
- Are their posts relevant to your products?
- Do they have high levels of engagement with their followers?
Beyond these initial points, make sure to scout their social media profiles for authenticity, leadership, and high-quality content. Just because someone’s lifestyle is perfect for promoting your products doesn’t mean they will actually produce good, professional-level content.
Once your ambassadors start sharing content, it’s your marketing team’s job to amplify their posts and engage with them publicly. This shows authenticity in your relationship with these individuals.
The ultimate step of any marketing program is always the results. After ensuring that your tracking methods and analytical tools are perfect, measure the progress of your ambassador program. On average, businesses make $6.50 for every dollar invested in influencer marketing, so use that as a reference point.
Check all the possible factors, like the link clicks, engagement rate, impressions and reach, conversions, and inbound traffic. This makes it easier to identify which ambassadors are contributing to the success of your digital business, and which relationships to pour the most resources into.
Authentic Community Growth with Ambassadors
Brand ambassadors are experts at bringing your products into the social media limelight and gaining customer trust. A well-crafted brand ambassador program helps in building audience loyalty to your company and increasing ROI.
The passion with which a brand ambassador works is commendable, so it’s wise to empower these people and provide them with quality support and resources.
Reward these ambassadors handsomely as they are a valuable part of your brand’s journey.