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The people who hold the most influencing power in the marketplace could surprise you. Now more than ever, it is important to use your customers, your brand loyalists, micro-influencers, and your employees for cost-effective marketing content and growing your online presence.
Brand ambassador programs are growing in popularity due to their ability to reach a more engaged audience on social media. But, brand ambassador programs take time to develop and evolve and are not successful overnight.
Before starting you must consider, is your brand ready for a brand ambassador program?
Not every brand is ready to build a brand ambassador program and should consider a few factors before taking this next step…
Are you a brand with an existing online presence? Does your online audience regularly share your product or brand already on their own? Is your existing audience already regularly engaged on your social media channels? Are you prepared to put in time in building a successful brand ambassador program? If you’ve answered yes, then continue reading for the steps to building your own personalized ambassador program.
For businesses wanting to start their first brand ambassador program, there are some key questions to keep in mind:
- How do I plan to recruit and select my brand ambassadors?
- Do I plan to set any requirements around their social following, location, or online activity?
- What activity types do I plan to offer and how often will I require them to take part? What types of rewards will I offer versus what will my ambassadors appreciate?
- What amount in sales do I wish to generate from the program? (Consider your costs versus your profit) What are the main benefits I wish to achieve from building a brand ambassador program? (Such as an increase in your social following and engagement, gaining User Generated Content for other marketing efforts, etc.)
Finding and recruiting your brand ambassadors can be done in many different ways. Utilize your social media following. Create an eye-catching graphic to post across your social media channels that others will identify with your brand. Include a brief description of your program, why they would want to take part, and a direct link where they can quickly and easily apply. Be sure to set a deadline for the application process to provide a sense of urgency when they read about the program. This is a great way to catch the attention of your pre-existing audience and gain the attention of others.
Next, consider creating a dedicated email campaign introducing your brand ambassador program, how they can apply, and the rewards they gain to achieve by participating. Cross-posting across your social media channels and your email audience will allow you to reach both sets of people in a quick and easy manner. Don’t miss out on using the resources that you already have access to!
If you are interested in finding influencers to recruit them as your brand ambassadors outside of our pre-existing audience, then you can use a tool like Sprout Social. Sprout Social allows you to narrow your search for potential brand ambassadors by searching for specific terms and hashtags related to your brand.
When you are first starting your ambassador program, it is best to dedicate the majority of your time executing and measuring rather than planning. Creating a plan would be a waste of time. Your plan will inevitably change once you learn more about what works and what does not for your program.
Starting with a simple program is important for both you and your ambassadors because it will reduce anyone from becoming overwhelmed early on and deterred from participating in the program.
Many brand ambassador programs have grown to become successful because they asked for input from their ambassadors. The best way to receive feedback, learn the types of activities and rewards your ambassadors love, and any new activities they would like to participate in in the future is by asking them.
Asking for feedback is easy! You could create a survey for each ambassador to fill out at the beginning and end of their term or reward them for their feedback in the form of an activity.
Gather each of the responses and consider them when making changes to your program throughout each term. Allow each of their ambassadors to know that their voice is valued and they will use it.
Always value the opinions provided to you because it will shape your program and help it to grow. Again, successful brand ambassador programs take time and can’t be done alone.
Activities are a necessary component of getting your ambassadors involved in the program. Activities are not only important to them but also to you in creating User Generated Content for campaigns and advertisements. Activities can be offered in many different forms, such as their engagement on your social media accounts, referring their followers to follow your social media pages, posting a story with your brand’s product and username tag, and more! It is important to offer a variety of activity types to cater to your ambassadors.
Each of your ambassadors will be more likely to become and remain involved if they have a wide selection of activities to choose from. A narrow set of activities could deter your ambassadors from participating.
Updating your activities to correlate with upcoming holidays, product releases, or promotional sales will allow them the opportunity to showcase their individualized creativity and reduce repetitiveness in their postings. Think options, options, options when creating activities for your ambassadors to take part in.
A key component for creating a successful brand ambassador program is through your rewards. In order to receive the awesome User Generated Content you expect, you must provide the awesome rewards. This will not only motivate each of your ambassadors but also entice them to complete more activities and remain involved.
There isn’t only one type of reward that can be offered. Rewards can come in many different types and forms. It's important to keep in mind what your ambassadors will love and appreciate.
There are many different options that you can offer such as gift cards, free products, monetary exchanges if it fits within your budget, or even a special shout-out on your social media pages. Get creative and make your rewards unique to your program! Rewards are meant to not only thank your ambassadors for their hard work but to show them how much you appreciate their involvement. Just as activities will range in the amount of time and work involved, so should your rewards. Another option to consider is providing each ambassador with a unique referral link or code. They can easily include their referral information in their postings, bios, and even share them with friends.
When the link is used during a transaction, this will allow you to track the sales generated by each ambassador and their audience. Generating referral sales for your brand is another great way to broaden your audience and online presence.
Trust between your brand ambassador and their audience will continue to grow the more often your brand ambassador posts about your brand and speaks about you to their audience. As a result, they are more likely to convert their audience into long term customers and build upon your brand loyalty.
As mentioned before, a great way to reward your ambassadors is by shining the spotlight on them to your audience. This is a great way to recognize them for their loyalty to the program and also helps to make your brand more personable.
Showcasing your ambassadors can be done on any of your social media channels, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and more!
Allowing your ambassadors to be recognized in your marketing and advertising campaigns has more benefits than none. It will help to increase the authenticity of your brand and cultivate a personable touch to your campaigns.
Your ambassador works to create awesome User Generated Content, so why not utilize it to its fullest potential (and reduce your costs in the process)! You can easily carry over your brand ambassador spotlights into your product pages.
Remember, recognizing your brand ambassadors is as important to them as it is to you! Don’t miss out on this marketing opportunity that you’ve dedicated the time to build. To reiterate, building a successful brand ambassador program does not happen overnight. Take into consideration each of the suggestions written above when you are starting to build your ambassador program.
Recruit your ambassadors using your social following and use various platforms to find and recruit the right ambassadors for your brand. Term after term, you will continue to grow from that select group into the widened audience you have taken the time to build.
To recap, here are the steps you can take to build your brand ambassador program:
- Start off simple and build upon that. There isn’t a plan that works for everyone so you will have to learn what works for you and what does not.
- Consistently ask for feedback. If you want to know what your brand ambassadors love, what they hate, or what they would like to see, all you have to do is ask.
- Provide the opportunities and they will respond.
- Reward them for their efforts and they will remain loyal to your brand and to the program.
Use these helpful tips to build your program and you will soon be on track to success!