Brand ambassadors are like the secret ingredient that elevates a good recipe into something truly out of this world. They advocate for your brand, both online within their networks and offline with their friends and family. If you run your brand ambassador program properly, you’ll not only build brand trust and visibility, but you’ll also drive sales and build up a treasure trove of user-generated content (UGC).
So, how do you establish a profitable, long-term ambassador program that is easy to manage and appealing to your customers? In this “antiguide” we’re going to focus on what not to do if you want a thriving brand ambassador program full of engaged people eager to champion your company.
Let’s dive into ten ambassador marketing pitfalls to avoid at all costs.
Using Spreadsheets to Manage Your Program
Managing a program with hundreds, or thousands, of brand ambassadors can be stressful, especially if Excel is your tool of choice. Lots of BrandChamp clients come to us after years of relying on multiple tools and messy spreadsheets to monitor campaigns, keep track of email lists, compile creative assets, and plan social media.
They are tired of losing data and frustrated with having to navigate intricate mazes of files. Their brand ambassadors are often mismanaged, and engagement levels suffer as a result.
What’s the alternative to spreadsheets? An ambassador management platform helps brands manage every aspect of their ambassador marketing programs from one centralized dashboard. With the right tool, you can:
- Automate ambassador referral sales tracking, management, and onboarding
- Automate rewards and activities
- Centralize communication
- Incentivize ambassadors to create and share unique UGC
- Store and organize your content
- Measure ROI and analytics
Creating Boring Activities
Brand ambassadors sign up for your program because they’re passionate about your products or services and, (hopefully!), they enjoy creating content. Sharing creative videos or images is a point of pride.
With that in mind, try to put as much passion into creating activities as your brand ambassadors do completing them. Invite people to a snoozefest, and eventually, they’ll snooze — even if they are compensated for their efforts. Fun and engaging activities will result in high-quality content.
How to dodge the snooze button:
- Game on! Look for brand ambassador management platforms that provide a gamified experience.
- Trust the experts. If you need inspiration, seek out experts who can guide you with activity templates.
- Analyze what activities perform the best and inspire the best user-generated content. Tailor your tasks accordingly to truly resonate with your community.
To help jumpstart awesome activity creation, we curated a list of 33 activity ideas that you can customize to your unique marketing campaign.
Neglecting to Set Clear Ambassador Marketing Program Guidelines
Do you need to call the sheriff on your brand ambassador marketing program? Without clear guidelines and expectations, any program can quickly turn into the Wild West. Ambassadors need direction, or the way they complete tasks might be at odds with your brand values or not relate to your mission.
These tips will help you provide brand ambassadors with a roadmap for success:
- Provide a comprehensive onboarding guide to every ambassador as soon as they join your program. The guide should explicitly outline your expectations and any rules you expect them to follow in their content creation.
- Maintain transparency. Always be upfront about what you expect.
- Set achievable goals. Understand their capacities as busy humans and make sure your expectations are realistic.
- Impart your brand’s vision. Ensure ambassadors truly grasp the essence of your brand.
If you don’t know where to start, BrandChamp’s Knowledge Base feature is a tool designed with these concerns in mind. With Knowledge Base, our clients:
- Provide content briefs outlining the type of content they want from ambassadors
- Outline their tier system and explain how ambassadors can move through each tier
- Create private guides for collections and products
— and more.
Providing guidelines and expectations doesn’t mean you have to limit ambassadors’ creative freedom. The best user-generated content feels authentic and true to the creator, yet still aligns with the brand’s vision.
You can encourage creativity by:
- Offering a variety of activities for ambassadors to choose from
- Keeping in mind what your brand ambassadors find interesting or inspiring
- Requesting feedback on what types of activities ambassadors enjoy
- Being mindful not to micromanage if you don’t need to
Providing Cheap Rewards
Brand ambassadors are often your most loyal customers who absolutely love your brand. Don’t they deserve to be compensated accordingly? You want them to feel like they are getting a good deal for their efforts in promoting your brand.
There are several types of rewards companies use to motivate their ambassadors, including:
- Promotional items
- Free products
- Gift cards
- Exclusive access to new products and services or company events
- Invites to company headquarters and retreats
Think about which rewards your ambassadors would appreciate the most and which make the most sense for your business.
Overlooking the Power of Community Building
One of the most powerful aspects of a brand ambassador marketing program is the sense of community it creates among participants. When done right, it doesn’t just connect ambassadors with the brand, but also with each other.
A thoughtfully nurtured brand community helps to:
- Foster deep connections between ambassadors
- Amplifies hype and excitement about new products or campaigns
- Allows ambassadors to learn from each other
- Discourages churn by creating a space people don’t want to leave
A strong community doesn’t just benefit the ambassadors; it also reflects positively on the brand itself. Potential customers seeing a tight-knit, enthusiastic community of brand advocates are more likely to trust and invest in the brand.
One way to undermine the success of your brand ambassador program is by neglecting to establish effective communication channels. An engaged brand community thrives on clear and consistent communication.
A skilled community manager will create a communications calendar and plan regular email blasts for brand ambassadors. The right ambassador platform will allow you to:
- Create segmented and targeted email updates so you know your content is going to the people who enjoy it the most
- Put together e-newsletters with ease
- Send out promotions at the click of a button
If you sell products with different target audiences, segmented/targeted email blasts are a blessing. A teen won’t receive a promotion for a product for senior citizens, something that might cause them to hit that Unsubscribe button.
BrandChamp offers the Community Posts (link to community features) and Email from Filtered Search features. This enables brands to communicate with their brand ambassadors easily and keep all community communication channels under one roof.
Not Offering Ambassadors Support
A lack of brand ambassador support is the initial domino that might trigger dissatisfaction with your program and kick off a drop in engagement.
Make sure someone on your team is available to your brand ambassador community to assist with any technical or brand-related issues. If ambassadors feel like they don’t have the support they need to be successful, their brand loyalty may waver and they could even leave your program.
Ignoring Feedback or Criticism
Brand ambassadors want to feel valued and heard. If you receive feedback that a certain aspect of your program could use some improvement, do your best to respond in a timely and thoughtful manner. Even if you’re not able to make the change they suggest, they will appreciate that you’re willing to listen to their ideas.
Being open to feedback and criticism will benefit your brand more than anything else. Examples include:
- Unique insights: Ambassadors can pinpoint product strengths and weaknesses from a user’s perspective. Not tapping into this feedback means missed opportunities for improvement.
- Innovation: Meaningful feedback can spark new ideas for product features, marketing campaigns, or even entirely new product lines.
- Increased Brand Trust: When ambassadors feel their feedback is valued, their trust in your brand will soar.
- Strategy: Without ambassador feedback, a brand can unknowingly continue with strategies or products that aren’t resonating with its target audience, leading to wasted resources and potential revenue loss.
Not Celebrating Success and Diversity
It’s essential to understand that not all ambassadors bring the same value to your brand and its program. You want to create an inclusive community that rewards loyal customers, even those who might not make a huge impact on your bottom line.
By celebrating ambassadors for their efforts and passion, not their followings, you can elevate the morale of your entire program. This brand enthusiasm can not only enhance the quality of user-generated content but can also inspire and activate more people to join your program.
With BrandChamp’s streamlined software, you can:
- Use the Leaderboard feature to showcase top-performing ambassadors
- Recognize amazing UGC with the Featured Content feature
- Segment brand ambassadors into tiers, enabling personalized activities and rewards
BrandChamp allows brands to segment their brand ambassadors into tiers, enabling personalized activities and rewards.
Additionally, BrandChamp offers the Featured Content and Leaderboard tools to help brands showcase and recognize their top-performing ambassadors.
That’s a Wrap! It’s Time to Build your Brand Ambassador Program.
If you keep this antiguide in mind, you’re well on your way to a healthy, successful brand ambassador marketing program. Just remember this list of pitfalls to avoid:
- Using spreadsheets to manage your program
- Creating boring activities
- Neglecting to set clear program guidelines
- Stifling creativity
- Providing cheap rewards
- Overlooking the power of community building
- Communicating sporadically
- Not offering ambassadors support
- Ignoring feedback or criticism
- Not celebrating success and diversity
At BrandChamp, the relationship between your brand and your brand ambassadors is at the forefront of everything we do.
We strive to see brands thrive. Discover how BrandChamp helps brands like yours grow and succeed.