Here at BrandChamp, we’re proud to be trusted by the world’s best brand ambassador programs. Our customizable platform keeps you connected to your ambassadors and makes it easy to manage every kind of rewards program imaginable.
Of course, before you can start rewarding ambassadors, you need to recruit them first. We are firm believers that the foundation of any successful brand ambassador program is a well-structured recruitment process. Below, you’ll learn how to recruit and onboard new ambassadors — how to communicate with them and even how to reject them — in ways that boost your brand and your revenue.
What Makes a Great Brand Ambassador?
Hint: the best brand ambassador might not be who you think. Imagine a mega-influencer in your industry, someone with a massive following and epic social media presence. While a collaboration with them could be great, we promise that they won’t be the bread-and-butter of your ambassador program. Usually, a major influencer simply won’t have the time or brand loyalty to be a consistent ambassador.
Who are the best brand ambassadors? Your customer base. The people who already use your services or love your products are ideal for representing your brand. They are excited about what you do and proud to be a part of it. Even if they have a smaller social media following, they are the ones already talking about your brand out in the community, at the gym or with their book club. If you reward them for their loyalty, they will reward you right back by singing your praises even louder.
Ready, Set, Recruit!
The first step to recruiting new brand ambassadors is fine-tuning your application. We’ve supported hundreds of brands through this process and have fully integrated ambassador applications into the BrandChamp platform. After years of building expertise, we’ve found the following application guidelines to be helpful for any brand in any industry:
- Lay out what is mandatory for your brand ambassadors as clearly as possible.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions to ensure your applicants are suitable to represent your brand.
- Prioritize people who are already customers.
- Public social media profiles are a must if you’re asking ambassadors to post in exchange for rewards.
- Consider carefully what information you need to determine if an applicant is a good fit with your brand’s mission and values.
When it comes to getting the word out that you’re accepting applications, the method really depends on where your audience is. Some of the most popular ways to recruit new brand ambassadors include:
- Emailing your customer database
- Creating a social media campaign
- Adding a brand ambassador section to your website
Now that you’re filling up the slots and building your ambassador community, what’s next? Let’s talk about how rejecting applicants can actually be a good thing.
It’s Not Me. It’s You.
Sometimes you’ll receive an application from someone who is clearly a poor fit for your brand. We recommend not wasting time on an application you feel unsure about. If you are wavering back and forth, it’s better to politely reject the applicant and move on.
On the other hand, we have encountered a lot of rejectable applications that turned into opportunities for connection in the future. Here are a few examples:
- Non-customers: If someone applies to be a brand ambassador but doesn’t know, own or use your brand, that’s a solid reason to reject their application. Their ability to genuinely represent you is questionable. Consider including a discount code with their rejection letter, so they can purchase your product, get to know it and re-apply to be an ambassador when they’re more familiar with what you do.
- Social media challenges: An applicant might send you a broken link or you otherwise can’t view their content because their account is private. If you feel like a detective trying to track down an applicant’s Facebook or Instagram profiles, ask them to send working links or change their privacy settings before reapplying.
- Incomplete applications: You can’t make an informed choice if you don’t have all the information. If an applicant is enthusiastic about your brand, they will be happy to flesh out their application if you ask them for more details before deciding to accept or reject them.
Rejecting an applicant, with guidance for how they can be accepted, keeps the door open to a possible relationship.
Once you’ve recruited your first group of brand ambassadors, the fun begins. With the proper tools and preparation, onboarding new brand ambassadors is an exciting process:
- Step 1: It all starts with a welcome letter. A new ambassador’s welcome letter should contain all the information they need to comfortably get started. It should also reinforce their excitement about being accepted to your brand’s inner circle. We recommend including links to your program guidelines and BrandChamp ambassador registration in the letter. New ambassadors often haven’t used an ambassador portal before, so the welcome letter is a good place to explain what BrandChamp is.
- Step 2: Ask your new ambassadors to register and set up a BrandChamp profile. This makes everything “official” and prepares them to announce their ambassadorship.
- Step 3: Hit the ground running with a welcome gift or new ambassador activity! You might want to include a discount code in the welcome letter to really sweeten the deal.
- Step 4: Follow through. After you’ve brought a new group of brand ambassadors on board, it’s important to have a standard process for checking back in, making sure profiles are set up and confirming that everyone received what they needed to get started.
We’ve found that new ambassadors appreciate personalized communication. This requires planning and time management on your part, but you’ll see it’s worth it when participation starts to soar. We’ll talk more about staying in touch with your new ambassadors below.
Don’t Be a Stranger
The BrandChamp platform is full of options for keeping in touch with your ambassadors, but don’t stop there! Consider how you can connect your newly-recruited brand ambassadors to each other. Their combined enthusiasm will build a snowball of momentum around your brand. We’ve seen clients have great success with:
- Facebook Groups
- Google Chat
Using strategic communication, BrandChamp client Skirt Sports mobilized more than 1,000 brand ambassadors to generate more than 70,000 pieces of Instagram content. Who’s to say your brand can’t do the same?
Divide and Conquer
Even if your brand ambassador program is just getting started, it’s helpful to prepare for growth and to be mindful of the diversity of your ambassadors. This is where tiers and segmenting come in handy.
Let’s start with growth and once again use Skirt Sports as an example. In the span of 6 years, their brand ambassador program expanded from 25 women to more than 1,500! To make managing their ambassador program easier, Skirt Sports created a 3-tier system using the BrandChamp platform. Here’s how it works:
- The top tier, VIPs, is a small group of leaders who offer guidance and encouragement to other ambassadors.
- The second tier, called Super Fans, are avid participants in the program but without the responsibilities of a VIP.
- The third tier, Champions, is the starting off point for new ambassadors as they get to know the program and brand better.
This tiered system is beneficial because it fosters community with ambassadors and also takes some of the management responsibility off of Skirt Sports.
It’s common for a product to cater to different groups of people. For example, a lifestyle brand might attract some ambassadors who are into fitness and others who are serious foodies. It wouldn’t make sense to give these groups the same ambassador activities and rewards, because their interests are just too different.
BrandChamp allows you to segment your ambassadors into distinct groups. You can communicate with these groups independently, ask them to promote your brand in different ways and reward them based on their unique interests. Segmenting makes brand ambassador management easier for you and more personalized for your ambassadors.
Another helpful way to segment your ambassadors is by date. If you onboard a group of new ambassadors all at the same time, you can tag them accordingly in BrandChamp and track their participation over time.
That brings us to the idea of longevity — the life cycle of a brand ambassador.
The Circle of Life
It takes time and energy to develop a seamless recruitment process, not to mention track ambassador participation and create/give rewards. (We recommend having a dedicated team member to manage your brand ambassador program.)
With this in mind, you want to be planful about the life cycle of your ambassadors. These are some questions we ask our clients to help nail down the right process for them:
- Do you want ambassadors to reapply after a certain amount of time?
- Do your top-tier ambassadors automatically roll over without needing to reapply?
- What makes sense for your ambassadors’ tenure? Six months? A year?
Whatever you decide, BrandChamp is here to help. We are passionate about the brand ambassador recruitment process from beginning to end. If you have any questions or are interested in our brand ambassador management services, reach out anytime!