As social media use continues to grow, many brands are investing in new ways to connect and reach their target audience. If you're here, you have probably heard that partnering with brand ambassadors is a great way to grow your brand through a farther-reaching online presence. Building and maintaining a successful brand ambassador program can increase your marketing strategies effectiveness and below are 6 steps to guide your team through the creation of your first social media brand ambassador program.
But first, what is a brand ambassador? A brand ambassador is a person that loves your products, believes in your brand values, and is your brand's personal cheerleader. Ambassadors can come in many forms whether they are passionate social media followers, loyal customers, or your own employees, but they all share the common love (or obsession) with your brand and are not afraid to spread the love via some good ole fashion word-of-mouth marketing. This can come through their own user-generated content promoting your brand to their social media following or through writing positive reviews about your brand on review sites.
Having people shout-out your brand is great but how can your team harness the power of those positive experiences to drive more revenue and awareness for your brand? Enter the brand ambassador program.
A brand ambassador program is a marketing strategy that formalizes agreements with people that can be/are your brands biggest and most effective cheerleaders. You will recruit these passionate individuals to promote your brands products in a positive way to drive brand awareness and revenue for your team. Let's jump into how to get started.
Step 1: Research and Plan 🔑
Like the first step to launching any type of program, research and planning is a major key to success. You want to have a clear overarching vision for the program and goals that will help make the vision come true.
- Are you looking to leverage your brand ambassadors to drive sales, brand awareness, and/or link clicks through their social media posts?
- How many brand ambassadors do you need to fulfill your goals?
- How many programs/campaigns will you need brand ambassadors for?
- Will each ambassador need a unique discount code?
- What do your success metrics look like?
These are all questions to answer before taking the next step in building your brand ambassador program.
Also, it is very important to figure out how you will pay your brand ambassadors. Free product, commission, flat fee, or a combination through a payment vendor? Will your ambassadors get paid or shipped free product on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis and how much must they earn to be eligible for payment?
Once these nitty gritty details are planned out you can then move on to the fun part...finding your ambassadors!
Step 2: Recruit Your Ideal Ambassadors 🔍
When looking for your ideal brand ambassador it is important to ensure that the ambassadors you recruit are authentic and align with your brand values and style. As soon as an ambassador is not authentic he/she loses credibility and trust from their audience.
Some great places to start your recruitment are within your own social media accounts. Look for customers that are always active on your brand posts and/or are tagging your brand in their own user-generated-content. These users are practically already ambassadors for your brand so why not make it official!
It is also encouraged to look within your own brands category whether that be beauty, fashion, fitness, etc to find potential brand ambassadors that are a part of your brands vertical and target audience.
Don't hesitate to look within your company as your employees are all ambassadors for your brand and already have the knowledge that may need to be taught to outside ambassadors.
No need to only target large social media influencers as users with smaller audiences can be just as effective and much less expensive. If you're having trouble finding your ideal ambassador there are ambassador management software and platforms that can help match your brand with the right ambassador. There are dozens of them out there but here are a few free discovery tools:
- Facebook’s Brand Collab Manager
- HypeAuditor (limited version)
- Klear (limited version)
- SocialBook (limited version)
- Analisa (limited version)
- Stellar (limited version)
Influencer Marketing Hub is also a great resource to cross compare paid options if your budget allows.
Like we mentioned above, authenticity from your brand ambassadors is very important, so 10 quality ambassadors provide more value than 50 unauthentic ambassadors just trying to make a couple bucks. An effective way to help verify that the potential ambassadors will be a good fit is by having them go through an application process. Nothing crazy here but an efficient Google form can help you confirm that this user will be a good fit in your program. Some potential application questions could be:
- Why they want to work with your brand?
- Why they love your products?
- Why they would be a good fit?
- Are they willing to share your products more than once with their following?
Step 3: Educate Your Ambassadors
Now that you have recruited your team of ambassadors it is time to educate them on your brand. Ensuring that they understand your brand’s values, history, benefits, and how your brand is better than the competition will ensure that your ambassadors can clearly and effectively communicate about your brand to their audience.
Providing clear guidelines and policies for acceptable and unacceptable content will also ensure that your brand ambassadors create content that is safe and aligned with your brand guidelines. Similarly to how your company follows a set of guidelines, you'll want to share that with your new ambassadors.
Step 4: Engage With Your Ambassadors 👍
Engaging and treating your ambassadors as true brand partners will strengthen the ambassador relationship with your brand, increase their brand loyalty, and motivate them to go the extra mile for your team. Below are some great ways to engage with your ambassadors to make them feel like a true part of the team:
- Provide early access to new products and perks
- Invite them to exclusive events
- Ask for their product feedback
- Repost/share their social media posts
- Highlight an ambassador of the month
Step 5: Measure Success of the Program 📊
Measuring the success of your first brand ambassador program is critical to the success of your future programs. Take your plan and goals that you created in step 1 of building out your program and see if you achieved all of your goals and if you didn’t achieve everything you wanted to through your brand ambassador program what can you change for the future programs? Gathering and analyzing the data from your first program will help shape future ones to come and will help you determine if your ambassador marketing efforts are on the right track.
A few examples of success metrics to look at are: how many pieces of content did you brand ambassadors post? How much traffic did they drive to your site? How much revenue did they drive? Did your social accounts see an increase in followers during the program? etc.
Step 6: GROW! 🌳
Use the data from your first brand ambassador program to continue to scale and grow your army of ambassadors. Build off of what worked well in terms of strategy, the ambassadors you worked with, and determine ways to improve on goals you did not achieve.
Some great places to recruit new ambassadors are in your customer network, employees, thought leaders within your industry, and ambassador softwares.
💥BONUS: Take Your Brand Ambassador Program to the Next Level with Whitelisting
Having your brand ambassadors post organic social media content promoting your brand to their social media following is an effective marketing strategy. But there is a not-so-secret way to supercharge your ambassadors organic social media posts through a process called whitelisting.
Whitelisting is the process of obtaining the appropriate permissions (advertising access) from your influencers/ambassadors to run paid ads through their social media identities. This allows your team to transform your ambassadors' organic content that only reaches their direct followers into paid social ads that can be targeted with any audience in your team’s Facebook Ads Manager
Whitelisting can be very painful when done manually as it requires the influencer to jump through multiple hoops, like setting up a Facebook Business Manager. Have no fear, Lumanu's technology fully automates the whitelisting process into a couple clicks. Lumanu allows your team to whitelist as many brand ambassadors as your heart desires through by sending a simple link to gain the ability to amplify the user-generated-content to users outside of just the ambassador followers.
To learn more about Lumanu and how our streamlined whitelisting technology can help take your brand ambassador program to the next level book a demo HERE.