At first glance, ambassador marketing may seem pretty simple. However, using it effectively and making it worthwhile can be difficult.
At its core, ambassador marketing is a tactic companies use to increase brand awareness and sales by partnering with some of their brand’s most loyal customers. We will examine common mistakes brands make when utilizing ambassador marketing and how brands can avoid making those same mistakes. We will also cover five tips to help you find, manage, and communicate with current and potential brand ambassadors.
Thoroughly Research Potential Brand Ambassadors
While this tip may seem obvious, finding a quality brand ambassador can be more challenging than you think. Brand ambassadors must be likable, knowledgeable, trusted in their community, and representative of your specific brand. Finding someone who meets all of those requirements is not an easy task.
Here are some common mistakes brands often make during this process and how you should approach researching potential brand ambassadors.
One of the worst mistakes a company can make when using ambassador marketing is solely focusing on an individual’s follower count on social media. While follower count is an important factor to consider when searching for potential brand ambassadors, it can also be very misleading when examined alone. To make sure you are recruiting effective brand ambassadors, you must take each of the following factors into account:
- Current Status in Their Industry or Community
- Post Frequency & Engagement Rate
- Follower Count
When considering someone as a potential brand ambassador, you must thoroughly examine the type of content they post. This step is often where companies mistake placing more importance on follower count than on content quality. It is important to remember that having a brand ambassador with a large follower count will do you little good if their content is low-quality or unrelated to your brand.
For example, if you are an athletic brand selling exercise equipment, you want a brand ambassador who frequently posts about:
- Healthy Eating
- Going to the Gym
- Health & Wellness
- Being Active
Using the same example, you would want to avoid picking an individual who frequently posts about unrelated things such as:
- Eating Out
- Playing Video Games
In this example, follower count would not matter as much due to the drastic difference in the types of content each individual posts. Even if the second individual has a larger follower count than the first, chances are the individual’s audience does not align with your brand’s target market. As a result, the percentage of their followers who convert into customers of your brand would likely be low. Therefore, it is essential to weigh a potential brand ambassador’s follower count against the type of content they post.
Current Status in Their Industry or Community
When searching for a brand ambassador, you want to look for someone influential. In this case, being influential does not necessarily mean being famous or having an enormous follower count. Choosing an influential brand ambassador means picking an individual who is deeply trusted by those around them. Think about it as someone you would go to for everyday advice or product recommendations but in a specific category or industry.
Let’s think about this in terms of the exercise equipment example we mentioned earlier. When buying an expensive piece of exercise equipment, such as a treadmill, you will want to know what someone who has experience with treadmills recommends.
For example, you may ask your trainer at the gym his thoughts on what to buy, or you may research what brand of treadmill a particular professional athlete uses. This is because you trust these individuals to know about exercise equipment.
Consumers often look for these types of influential individuals to help guide them through certain purchasing decisions. This is why you should choose brand ambassadors who your target market is likely to trust and who are reasonably knowledgeable about your brand’s industry. While not all of your brand ambassadors need to fit this description, it is good to have a few individuals who are authorities in your company’s industry and their own communities if possible.
Post Frequency & Engagement Rate
Post frequency is another factor that can often be misleading when looking for potential brand ambassadors. While it is important to recruit active users, you do not want to recruit someone whose feed is so full that your brand’s content will be lost.
You also do not want your brand to be associated with someone who often posts low-quality or unengaging content. One way to gauge if an individual’s posting schedule and content positively resonates with their audience is to examine the amount and type of engagement that an individual’s average post receives.
To calculate the engagement rate for an individual’s specific post, you will use the formula:
- Engagement Rate = (Total Engagements / Follower Count) x 100
The type of items included under total engagements will vary depending on what social media platform you are using and what specific metrics you are interested in.
For example, on Instagram, items that may fall under total engagements can include:
- Story Replies
- Profile Clicks
While a higher engagement rate means that more people interact with that person’s content, it may not necessarily be a good thing. For example, you could have a lot of comments under one post. Many comments might contribute to a high engagement rate for that post; however, all of the comments could be negative. For this reason, you must examine the type of engagement a post receives in addition to the amount it receives.
It is also essential to recognize that some types of engagement may be more important than others. It is much easier to hit a like button than it is to take the time to type in a comment under a post. Most social media algorithms acknowledge this and give greater weight to things like comments than to likes. This means that a post with a large number of comments will receive a higher-quality display position on a user’s feed or timeline.
As mentioned above, you should not determine whether or not someone would make a good brand ambassador based solely on their follower count. You also need to take an individual’s content type, engagement rate, post frequency, industry status, and other crucial factors into account.
In addition to examining the factors listed above, it is important to note that someone’s follower count may not be consistent across multiple platforms. A user who only has about 500 followers on Instagram might have 50,000 followers on YouTube. In addition, someone who has an overall low following on social media may write a weekly blog that averages over 3,000 views per post.
Due to these fluctuating factors, you must find brand ambassadors who thrive in the most popular spaces among your specific target market.
2. Manage Your Expectations & Be Upfront with Your Ambassadors
When practicing ambassador marketing, you must acknowledge that a brand ambassador is very different from a typical influencer. Unlike influencers, brand ambassadors are usually not given any monetary incentive aside from the possibility of receiving some free product or participating in a brand rewards program. This means that you will have a lot less control over how they act and what they post about your brand. As a result, you need to manage your expectations ahead of time to avoid being disappointed with the outcome.
In addition to managing your expectations, you must manage the expectations of your brand ambassadors. Make sure they are aware of what exactly it means to be a brand ambassador for your company. When talking to potential brand ambassadors, you need to be upfront about any monetary incentive or lack thereof associated with the program.
It is important to ensure your brand ambassadors are aware of your expectations. If you are looking for something specific like high-quality, product-driven posts made once every two weeks, you need to let your brand ambassadors know that.
If your brand ambassadors are unable to commit to posting what you want, you might need to:
- Try finding another potential brand ambassador whose typical post content and schedule more closely mirror what you are looking for.
- Lower your expectations and be more lenient regarding the kinds of posts you are looking for a brand ambassador to make.
- Hire an influencer or micro-influencer. Due to this type of partnership’s more monetary nature, you will likely have more control over what kind of content an influencer posts for your brand and when they will post it.
Always remember that communication is key. A potential brand ambassador may not be able to provide what you are looking for. However, you won’t know either way unless you openly discuss your expectations with them. It is unfair to you and your brand ambassador for your relationship to sour because you did not properly communicate at the start.
3. Remember That Communication Is Key
Earlier, we talked about the importance of having quality communication when interacting with potential brand ambassadors. Once you confirm someone as a brand ambassador for your company, the importance of continuing to have this open communication only increases.
Even if you are highly confident in your choice of brand ambassadors, you or someone at your company must regularly check in on them. Remember that people will view a brand ambassador as an extension of your brand. This means that the content they post may also become associated with how people view your brand. Therefore, it is imperative that you regularly check to verify that your brand ambassadors are positively, accurately, and effectively portraying your brand.
Regularly checking in on your brand ambassadors can help you gauge what’s working and what’s not. For example, one ambassador may have a much higher follower count than another, but they aren’t converting as many people into users of your brand. Examining various information such as that specific brand ambassador’s content type, post frequency, and engagement rate may help you figure out why this is happening. By understanding the key performance indicators (KPIs), you can then lay out a solid blueprint for better managing your brand ambassadors and their content in the future.
4. Invest in Your High Performers
Brand ambassadors are typically driven by their love of a brand and not a monetary incentive. However, it is important to remember that you have already invested in these individuals.
There are many ways you invest in a brand ambassador without directly paying them:
- Initially investing your time into finding brand ambassadors.
- Investing effort into communicating with and inviting brand ambassadors to join your program.
- Potentially investing money if you hired someone to manage your brand ambassador program.
As a result, you want to make the most of your investment. Like an employee working at a company, you want to promote and further invest in the high-performing brand ambassadors who are getting real results. Before you can do so, you must first discover who your top performers are.
Some ways to identify your top performers include:
- Examine the average engagement rate of the posts each brand ambassador makes about your brand.
- Give each brand ambassador a unique link with a discount code to share with their audience and see whose link brings in the most customers.
Once you have identified your top performers, you’ll want to think about what you can do to help them continue being successful. One easy way to help is to send them more of your brand’s products. You never want to miss out on taking advantage of a low-cost, high-quality promotion simply because your brand ambassador could not afford or could not get access to your product.
Receiving a free product will please brand ambassadors and make it easier for them to create content that positively promotes your brand.
Before you give a brand ambassador a free product, you need to take the potential ROI (Return On Investment) into account. You want to avoid giving a brand ambassador a product worth significantly more than their promotion of that product will bring in. It will also depend on the type of product you are selling and its associated production costs. For example, sending out a few dozen thirty-dollar sleep masks is very different from sending out a few dozen one-thousand-dollar smartphones.
Overall, you want to give your brand ambassadors the tools they need to succeed. Simple things such as sending a brand ambassador some free product or being responsive if an ambassador has any questions can do wonders to strengthen their relationship with your brand further. Offering additional incentives such as a points-based rewards program can help keep brand ambassadors motivated to do their best.
A happy and informed brand ambassador can significantly increase sales, customer loyalty, and brand awareness for a company.
5. Utilize Your Brand Ambassadors to Their Fullest Extent
While brand ambassadors can help promote your brand more organically, they can do so much more. Assuming you have done the proper research, your brand ambassadors should be individuals who genuinely care about your brand and want to help it succeed in any way they can.
One way to let them help is to include them in some of your company’s early testing programs. This can be a great way to get sincere feedback from someone who is a loyal user of your brand and knows what other individuals in your target market are looking for.
Another way to utilize your brand ambassadors is to give the highest performing ones early access to new products from your brand. Not only will this make them feel important, but it is also a great way to increase the excitement for a new product launch.
One final way to further utilize your brand ambassadors is to let their promoted content help determine what kind of content you should be making in the future. For example, examining which of their organic posts regarding your brand did the best may tell you what type of social media ad will catch the attention of individuals in your target market.
How to Start or Improve Your Brand Ambassador Program
If you want to start a brand ambassador program or improve your existing program, BrandChamp has all the tools you need. Here at BrandChamp, we offer an all-in-one platform to help you manage every aspect of your company’s brand ambassador program.
With our platform, you’ll get valuable insights regarding:
Our software automates ambassador referral sales tracking, management, and onboarding for easy use. This simplifies rewarding ambassadors with cash and points commissions, creating branded referral links for ambassadors to share online, and issuing discount codes for your ambassadors.
Our content software provides a straightforward way for you to give ambassadors rewards for creating and sharing user-generated content on social media. This allows brands to easily collect user-generated content directly from ambassadors, organize it all in one place, and view various social media metrics.
Our social software makes it easy to coordinate social activities for ambassadors to build brand awareness and improves engagement and reach. With this software, you can easily design social media activities for your ambassadors to complete for rewards, help ambassadors create content to share with their followers, and generate more engagement.
Our rewards software creates a simple process for providing your ambassadors with a personalized rewards catalog that automatically issues rewards in real-time and helps grow ambassador loyalty. With this software, you can create any reward, including discounts for your store, gift cards, cash payments, and custom rewards.
Our analytics software gives you detailed analytics updated in real-time to provide valuable insights to improve ROI and help you identify your most valuable ambassadors.
If these features sound like they could be beneficial for your brand, contact us here: https://brandchamp.io/lets-talk/
Ambassador marketing can be highly beneficial when done right. However, you must put the necessary time, effort, and resources into this process to get good results. Due to the large amount of freedom most brand ambassadors have, you must pick individuals who you know will accurately and effectively represent your brand.
Our five main tips for finding, managing, and communicating with both current and potential brand ambassadors are:
- Thoroughly Research Potential Brand Ambassadors
- Manage Your Expectations & Be Upfront with Your Ambassadors
- Remember That Communication Is Key
- Invest in Your High Performers
- Utilize Your Brand Ambassadors to Their Fullest Extent
Overall, how useful ambassador marketing can be for your brand truly depends on the quality of brand ambassadors you choose. If you’re looking for help building your brand ambassador program, BrandChamp is the place to go!