Your employees and customers can act as powerful brand ambassadors for your company. Here’s how to nurture their success.
There are two primary types of brand ambassadors, often confused with each other:
1. Recruited ambassadors: Members of the public, employees, influencers, celebrities and/or even founders of companies who are engaged then specifically rewarded through a formulated endorsement program. Note: There are some crossovers and nuances with the term ‘influencer marketing,’ but I won’t go into detail here.
2. Brand advocates: Customers and/or die-hard fans (even employees!) who naturally grow to love a brand and promote their joyful experiences to everybody they know. They may eventually be rewarded in some form, but remuneration is not planned nor expected. For maximum impact, you would have a constant pool of both recruited brand ambassadors and brand advocates who are simultaneously active. The impact of a two-pronged strategy like this? Priceless.
In this article, I’ll specifically cover brand ambassadors who are recruited to promote your company to their networks.
Key Characteristics Of Brand Ambassadors
What exactly does a brand ambassador look like? Before you begin your hunt for devoted brand ambassadors—you need to note down and target your search based on these necessary, core traits:
– An understanding of how marketing works
– Large social followings or highly engaged, micro followings
– Tasteful social profiles (no explicit or highly-personal posts)
– Ability to proactively engage and lead
– Love of connecting with people
– Reliable (in terms of communication and results)
The Birth Of Loyal Brand Ambassadors
When creating and running a brand ambassador campaign, there are a few tactics you can deploy to ensure the ambassadors you recruit are ambassadors for life:
1. Focus your brand on the individual
When your brand is customer-centric (which it always should be), these values must follow through to your ambassador program. When you clearly show you are all about them, they will have no qualms promoting your brand so it’s all about YOU.
Make sure you are rewarding your ambassadors appropriately and lovingly. I’m not just talking about money…there are tonnes of other ways to add that extra little sparkle to their paycheck.
Take a look at what Buffer sent me as a natural advocate…absolutely no money involved.
2. Select ambassadors who are relevant
Successful brands recruit the right people, through and through. A brand ambassador’s job is no different to that of a full-time employee. Think about it…your ambassadors must already have some sort of connection to your company to begin with.
Whether it’s through past buying habits, attraction to similar products, earlier communications or closely-related hobbies—if you are both closely matched, the rest is pretty straightforward. For example, it probably wouldn’t be beneficial to hire an influential mechanic to promote your cereal brand! Take a deep search into your existing customer base. Who knows—you may have influential customers just waiting to be approached!
They could be your next brand ambassador recruits.
And it’s not only ambassadors you may discover within your customer base…but extremely valuable feedback, too. Don’t just apply your own opinions and research when hiring celebs or influencers—ask those who are actively paying for your products and/or services. When it comes to promotion, their thoughts are infinitely more valuable than your own (and they will also feel incredibly grateful that you asked). Dismissing your audience is a slow but steady, downward spiral!
3. Constantly interact and communicate
Engage with both your potential and any existing brand ambassadors on social media…all the time! Be the first in mind and make them feel special. This also helps you get to know them well—making way for honed, individually-focused ambassador strategies for the future. It pays to be organized, too. Use software like Slack for brief, ongoing communications and specialized platforms like EveryoneSocial for robust ambassador campaigns.
4. Clearly define objectives
Are you looking to increase sales directly as a result of your brand ambassador program, or do you want to penetrate the market and gain as much brand exposure as possible? At what time exactly do you wish to be promoted, and on what channels?
There could be many types of goal for your ambassador campaign… it’s important to clarify and communicate these goals to everybody involved. Without clear objectives, you’re shooting in the dark… and so are your ambassadors.
It’s a good idea to set monthly, quarterly and annual targets based on each ambassador’s likelihood of achieving them. You can then reward based on accomplishment and everything will be logged in your software (ideal vendors are mentioned above, in #3). Be organized and your brand’s message will spread like wildfire through word of mouth marketing.
The birth of a devoted brand ambassador begins with a strong plan:
Discover brand ambassadors: The right people who have some form of connection to your brand.
Determine rewards: Make your brand ambassadors feel like they belong and they will become 100% dedicated to your success.
Establish goals and metrics: Do you want to generate more content, increase social engagement, or drive direct sales? Identify and clarify the expected results and timelines.
Constantly communicate: Use software to keep track of brand ambassador programs and listen to what your recruits are saying.
Optimize: A brand ambassador program is never just a case of ‘set and forget’. You must consistently analyze, measure, tweak, experiment and repeat this process over and over again for the best ambassador-driven results.