You have seen them already on Instagram. The girls, the boys, the dogs – everyone and anyone promoting something, protein powders, skinny teas, newest makeup product, gym supplements, clothing items, and teeth whitening systems. They have a lot of followers, highly engaging posts, and support from the brands they promote. They look effortlessly gorgeous and successfully sell whatever they advertise. And you want in. You want to become the next brand ambassador.
By now influencer marketing has reached sky-high levels of investments and ROI, but is it really the future of advertisement? According to the latest reports, it is predicted to reach over $10 billion by 2020. However, the influencers’ influence seems to be diminishing. People are seeing through the $100000 contracts, forced positivity, and promoting a product for the sake of promotion. The audience sees right through the paid posts, and they are no longer incentivized to purchase everything that an influencer promotes. That is where the brand ambassadors come into play.
What is a Brand Ambassador?
In simple terms, a brand ambassador is a person paid to be the face of the product and promote it to their audience. A brand ambassador represents the best of the company and helps the brand reach a bigger audience and sell more products. In 2018, influencers were considered to be brand ambassadors, often engaging in one-off collaborations with the brand that they forget tomorrow when they promote their competitors. In 2019, the story is changing.
A good brand ambassador of the new era is a micro or nano influencer who is a real fan of the product they promote. The brand ambassador of 2019 is an everyman, an ordinary customer who just happens to be a big fan of the brand and wants to recommend the products to their friends and family. They accept discounts, free products, and other perks from the brands instead of thousands of dollars, which increases the trust their audience has in them. They are honest about the thing they promote and can list both good and bad sides without bias since they are not being paid in the traditional sense to advertise the product.
According to the report from McKinsey & Company, 20%-50% of all purchases come from word of mouth marketing, which shows that brand ambassadors do drive the sales, making them the irreplaceable peg in the machinery of advertising.
Brand Ambassador Essentials
To become a successful brand ambassador, you need to cover a few things:
- Find the brand that you love
- Grow a community
- Engage with your audience
- Be professional
- Be consistent
- Post quality content
Find the brand that you love. Before agreeing to promote a brand, make sure that it is something you are genuinely passionate about. Think about your lifestyle and what your personal brand stands for. If you are a cruelty-free makeup lover, do not promote companies that test on animals. If you are all into health and fitness, stay away from skinny teas. Working with a brand that aligns their goals and missions to your personal convictions will not only result in successful campaigns and long-term collaborations but also in the growth of your brand and trust you instill in your audience, no matter the size.
Grow a community. Any successful brand ambassador knows that their community is the backbone of their success. Networking and sharing your story online and offline will give you a more extensive reach, but more importantly, your friends and followers should feel that they are a part of an inspiring group of people that share common interests. By being honest, you are making sure that your audience trusts you, which results in more successful campaigns with the brand you are working with.
Engage with your audience. Brand awareness does not only come from the actual brand you are promoting. Brands tend to provide polished images of themselves and sometimes can be quite generic in their communication with their clients and customers, but you as a brand ambassador can engage with your audience and share thoughts and experiences with them. Responding to comments, commenting yourself, and leading a discussion is just one part of your brand ambassador job.
Be professional. Since you are not only representing yourself, but also a brand you are working with, keeping a level of professionalism is essential. This does not mean that you cannot be human. It just means that you should not engage in arguments and leave negative comments on someone’s post. Everyone can get a little heated at times, but with a bit of self-control and mindfulness, you can be approachable and professional at the same time.
Be consistent. Since brand ambassadors usually start by working for perks and not pay, it is expected that not all of them will be as active as they should. According to BrandChamp’s ambassador program template, an average brand ambassador campaign will only see about 25%-60% engagement per month, which can hurt the brand in the long run, especially if their brand ambassador pool is small. In order to be one of the active ones and have a better relationship with the brand, make sure you are consistent with your posting and that you are actively participating in the activities the company offers to their ambassadors. This way, you are growing your audience and online presence as well, so it’s a win-win situation. Some of the critical parts of consistent posting are:
- Keeping a posting schedule by using a calendar
- Using a content planner
- Using social media tools that allow you to schedule posts
- Dedicating time to create content (g., every two days getting up early and taking photos)
Post quality content. Most brands will provide the guidelines to the content they wish to see, but you have higher chances of being picked to be an ambassador if you already post high-quality content. Whether you are an Instagram user, YouTuber, or a blogger, try to reach the quality levels a brand would find satisfactory. Numerous YouTube videos and blog posts explain how to take good pictures and how to include your creative self into a post, so have a look at some of them and try to elevate the quality of your content. There are a few simple things you can do to upgrade the quality of the content you post:
- Learn how to pose and edit your pictures
- Experiment with different formats (e., if you are known for photos, try posting a video or a gif)
- Focus on strong headlines if you are a writer
- Do your research
- Use good lighting for your videos
- Pay attention to audio quality
- Utilize the rule of thirds
Becoming A Brand Ambassador
One of the first steps to take is to make yourself available to the brands. They need to know that you are interested in promoting their product, and the first step is actually to be a satisfied customer. Reaching out to brands that you already use and love will result in a successful campaign, as the goal of each company is to have their loyal customers promote their products. This is where the difference between a classic influencer and a real brand ambassador comes into play.
Nolan Heyer, a former Brand Ambassador Manager of Kaged Muscle, stated that the brand is focusing on the individual customer, instead of the number of followers they have. Kaged Muscle supports their ambassadors just as much as they are promoting them, and features their athletes such as Ashley Horner, Tawna Eubanks, and Jake Dalton on their website and social media. Nurturing long-term relationships has worked for them, and most other brands are following the example. You, as a brand ambassador, will do your part, promoting the brand and their products, and receiving perks and shoutouts in return.
A great starting point for you can be one of the brand ambassador platforms that aims to connect the real customers to the brands that are looking for promoters.
- Apply to be a brand ambassador
- Showcase your content to the brands
- Set your terms of collaboration
- Receive rewards (discounts, coupons, free products)
- Have a safe platform where your compensation is guaranteed
Having the support of a platform will help you reach your goals quicker, and provide the security that you may not have otherwise. Most of the brand ambassador platforms are focused on nurturing relationships between brands and their ambassadors, and promoting the successful campaigns. This, however, does not mean that you no longer have to try and that the job is done for you, it merely means that you are protected from fraudulent activities some brands resort to in order to save money and manpower.
Tips for Micro and Nano Influencers
As a micro influencer, you know that getting brand deals is harder than it is for large-scale influencers with millions of followers. At least that was the case in 2018 and earlier. In 2019, micro and nano influencers are stepping on the scene as the brands realized that they have the most significant influence on their audience. Micro and nano influencers tend to have better engagement rates and their audiences trust them more than they do someone who earns millions of dollars to promote a product.
Micro influencers tend to dabble in a specific niche, something that they are passionate about and something that they have extensive knowledge on. Whether it is fashion, health, beauty, fitness, or even books, they are the ones driving the conversations and providing their audience with the newest finds and quality products from their niche. In the USA, 72% of people who seek recommendations use social media to find the best products and services for their needs. To top it off, if that recommendation is personalized, the likelihood of them purchasing said product skyrockets.
The latest studies show that micro and nano influencers have the highest engagement rates, and that the rate drops as the number of followers grows.
# of Followers
Brands are starting to see the value that micro and nano influencers have, and are actively looking to collaborate with them to help promote their products. So, as an influencer, what can you do to become a brand ambassador?
- Prepare a media kit
- Join a Facebook group for brands seeking ambassadors
- Reach out to brands
- Post engaging content
- Include your audience
First off, you need a high-quality media kit to make you stand out. To make your media kit amazing, include a photo of you, your logo, the best posts from your blog, Instagram, or YouTube, your overall niche and interests, your analytics and demographics, your subscribers from all the social media platforms, and other noteworthy statistics.
Next, it is time to reach out to a brand ambassador platform. Do your research and find a platform that works with brands that you already love. Brands such as Dude Wipes, Skirt Sports, Kaged Muscle, and Blendjet are all on BrandChamp, which allows brands to reach out to their existing customer base, so if you love any of these brands and are interested in becoming a fashion brand ambassador, fitness ambassador, or another niche, you can benefit from this type of collaboration.
When it comes to reaching out to brands, remember to include your media kit and to explain why you are the perfect fit for them. Do not be afraid to show your most engaged posts and showcase your abilities to promote products to your audience. If you have worked with a brand before, include examples, as they will surely help the companies see that you are capable of being a perfect brand ambassador.
When you get the gig, make sure to post consistent, high-quality, engaging content. If you are on Instagram, utilize the power of Instagram stories and IGTV feature. Diversifying your content is a great way to keep your audience on their toes and follow your posts throughout the campaign. A perfect example of this is a fitness guru Kayla Itsines who is her own brand ambassador and posts multiple times a day, both to her Instagram stories and regular posts. She is, of course, a mega influencer, but also a perfect example of how a brand ambassador makes the brand relevant and human.
Finally, do not forget to include your audience in the conversation. Ask them questions, reply to the comments, and give them as much information as they need. Seeing that you are invested in educating them about the brand you are working with will make them feel at ease and eliminate the chance that you are doing this only for the money, but because you genuinely believe in the brand’s message and mission.