A brand ambassador program leverages influential personalities to effectively deliver a brand’s messaging directly to its target audience. As ecommerce becomes more competitive every day, businesses with the best brand ambassador ideas will have an edge over their competitors. We asked experts to share their best tips for running a brand ambassador program.
Here are 25 brand ambassador program tips from the pros:
1. Find an Ambassador Who Connects With Your Audience
Tatiana Caciur, Inbound Marketing Manager, HostPapa
Just like with any other aspect of marketing, your target audience will be your beacon of light that will guide you to the right choice of a brand ambassador. As this person will be representing your business in front of your audience, you have to make sure there is an established connection between them. This person can be either your audience’s peer or, perhaps, some kind of leader that they look up to and from whom they seek advice. Using their influence and reputation, your brand ambassador can bring you a significant increase in new leads and customers, but this will work only if they have access to your target audience.
2. Choose an Ambassador With a Strong Digital Presence
Itamar Gero, Founder & CEO, SEO Reseller
As with any professional SEO service, brand ambassador programs are all about reinforcing engagement with your target audience. You want someone who not only embodies the core values of your brand, but also has a strong digital presence. When you choose a brand ambassador, you need to keep in mind the following: What does their digital footprint look like? Do they generate quality traffic? How many of their visitors convert into customers? Do they provide content that piques genuine interest among their audience? My advice is to prepare a checklist that includes your brand ambassador requirements, so it will be easier to narrow down your potential candidates.
3. Get to Know Your Brand Ambassador
Jess Tiffany, Author, Speaker, Strategist & Marketing Consultant, Jess Tiffany Consulting
The most important thing about a brand ambassador program is being a company that your target ambassadors can get behind. I would first want to make it known what your company stands for and the causes they will support. Invite potential brand ambassadors to participate in volunteering for the mutually supported cause. Share refreshments and ideas while you are there. Offer them an incentive program that benefits their cause, or perks and free stuff that refer to the cause. Make being an ambassador fun. Sponsor local meetups where you can bond, share your message, and expand awareness.
4. Make Sure Your Brand Ambassador Is a Fan
Jimmy Rodriguez, COO, 3dcart
Your brand ambassador has to do two things: (1) use your products and (2) find your products valuable. If these two things don’t occur, then you are setting your brand up for some serious backlash down the line, which can have the opposite effect of what the campaign is intended for. The last thing you want is for your branding efforts to hurt you. The danger of working with a brand ambassador is that their persona reflects your brand in some ways. This is why it’s important to pick people who can’t be bought to just promote anything, but rather see the actual value of your product to their audience This has to be an individual who won’t get behind something they don’t believe in.
5. Provide Professional Training for Your Ambassadors
Maggie Aland, Marketing & Review Editor, Fit Small Business
Your brand ambassadors will be your company’s representative as you compete with other businesses in your niche. As an extension of your business, you need to ensure that you provide your brand ambassadors with the skills and tools to help them leave a positive impression on your target audience. The Sales Pro offers powerful, self-paced training courses to teach your team the most advanced negotiation skills and strategies to close more deals. Their simple format makes learning quick and easy while gaining proven sales and customer techniques. Click here to check out their sales essentials program that starts at $49.95.
6. Add Authenticity to Your Brand Ambassador Program
Zach Laidlaw, Brand Manager, Seafoam Media
Consumers are able to see through a phony plug for a brand’s product or service when they see it. The best brand ambassadors are those who are already using a brand’s products or services. This could be someone who has expressed their support for the brand or product via social media without being prompted or paid to talk about the product. A great example of this is YouTube makeup vloggers. Stars such as “Tiffany D” began her vlogging career talking about her unsolicited love for MAC products, which eventually earned her 900,000 followers and a paid sponsorship with Nordstrom several years later. Today, Tiffany D. is an iconic brand influencer in the makeup and fashion industries.
7. Evaluate Your Potential Brand Ambassador’s Social Media Feed
Kendall Canessa, Influencer Marketing Manager, Power Digital Marketing
I recommend doing a literal side-by-side of their feed versus the brands and seeing if their content style, imagery, and even editing align. Another great element of influencer marketing is being able to repurpose content, so this small tactic helps ensure that the content they will be creating is an easy fit into the brand’s feed. Another tip I recommend when selecting a brand ambassador that is perfectly “on-brand” is to scroll through their feed and see which other brands they have partnered with in the past. Take a deep look into these brands and ask the correct questions. Are these brands we would partner with on a social give-away? Do they directly compete with ours?
8. Be Prepared for Your First Brand Ambassador Meeting
Laurie Shields, Influencer Marketing Strategist, Laurie Shields Media
Once you identify a potential good fit for your brand ambassador, reach out to them to determine if they would be interested in the role. Before you contact them, understand exactly what it is that you are asking of them. Are you just asking them to post about your product one time? Two times? Over the course of several months? What is your budget to pay them? Will you be offering a commission per sale? When you reach out to your potential ambassador, make your message brief and to the point, but also personable and friendly.
9. Focus on Staying Consistent With Your Brand Voice
Audra Hamlin, Owner, The Gift Firm
My suggestion is to start a simple program at first and focus mainly on being consistent with your brand voice. Your program will evolve over time, but the voice of your brand should stay the same. Look for ambassadors that naturally fit into your brand in an engaging way. Maybe one is a great blogger who creates a lot of content, yet another creates amazing images. This will not only help promote your products and services, but it will help provide creative ways to explore what your audience responds to most.
10. Attract Brand Ambassadors With a Professional Website
Neva Paule, Supervising Editor, Fit Small Business
You need to be able to impress your audience in order to build a fan base of people who can become potential brand ambassadors for your company. This includes having a beautifully designed website to match interesting content that will keep your audience engaged. Website builders like Squarespace can help you easily create and launch beautiful websites with their elegant and highly customizable templates. It comes with advanced design tools like Adobe Creative Suite for editing Getty or Unsplash images, so you always produce unique, professional websites your clients will love for just $16 to $46 per month. Click here to design your first website with Squarespace.
11. Set Clear Expectations for Your Brand Ambassador
Lindsay Anvik, Business Coach, See Endless, Inc.
Make it clear what you want from the person, and what they will get from you in return. This needs to be set and clear from the start. Make sure they know how often they would have to post on social media, what tags they should use, what kind of photos you’re looking for, and any other specific details you can share. What is the ambassador’s role? What does the ambassador get? Make the program easy enough that there isn’t much of a barrier to entry to be an ambassador, but don’t give away product to anyone who posts a photo. Make it clear what happens if they don’t keep up with what is asked.
12. Find Your Perfect Brand Ambassador Among Your Customers
Shanna Goodman, President & Brand Strategist, Ampersand Business Solutions
A brand ambassador can be spotted by continuously scanning your repeat customers. To back up a bit, let me preface this piece of advice by saying that if you’re not collecting customer data, stop everything and start right now. Assuming you’re collecting data on your customers, you should be able to scan your lists, see what they’re buying, how often they buy, if they’re referring friends (if you’re not tracking this, you should be), and interacting with your brand on social media.
Reach out to those customers that top the list. First start by asking them what they love about your company and why they keep coming back. Ask them if there’s a way they could envision partnering with you to tell about their experience. This could be as simple as interviewing them to write a case study or client story for your website, having them appear in your next commercial, or even just a testimonial on your website.
13. Go Beyond Photos & Videos
Ryan Goff, EVP, CMO & Social Media Marketing Director, MGH
Go beyond photos and videos and leverage your ambassadors to provide meaningful advice to potential customers. While glamour shots of your product or service posted to Instagram can go a long way, a helpful answer to a potential customer’s question can go even further. Identify your top ambassadors, train them on messaging, and use them to seek opportunities to connect them directly to those who may be in the market for your business. Then find ways to thank them for their hard work in the form of exclusive access to new products, behind-the-scenes tours, input on branding, and other low-cost, high-impact incentives.
14. Build a Sense of Community Among Your Customers
Jim Hume, Owner & Principal, Phire Group
There is no more powerful way to promote your brand than by the endorsement of current customers. They are your greatest opportunity. To harness the true power of your community, you must create a tribe-like mentality, purposefully graying the lines between internal and external, and including them in a relentlessly positive, transparent brand experience. Once they feel as if they are invested in your success, they will spread your good word with enthusiasm every chance they get.
15. Hire a Professional Brand Ambassador
Jitesh Keswani, CEO, E-intelligence.in
You can easily judge a person’s level of professionalism by their previous projects. A professional brand ambassador will go for quality and not quantity. Avoid being gullible when you see someone who has done endorsements for the big players in the market. This is one factor, but another important thing to look for is whether the campaigns are meaningful or not. Your brand and the endorser must have a point of association for each other, as this will help in reinforcing each other. Choose your brand ambassador wisely. Hiring a rookie is not going to take your brand anywhere.
16. Identify Your Target Audience
Kat Rosati, Fashion Business Strategist, Apparel Booster
To have a successful brand ambassador program, you have to really know who your customer is. Many starting businesses make the mistake of accepting anyone who applies to their brand ambassador program or pitching their brand ambassador program to everyone. To get the best results, you need to be clear on who your customer is, what their lifestyle is like, and what this looks like visually (since most people will be exposed to pictures posted by the brand ambassadors through social media). Once you know who your ideal customer is, you can look for potential brand ambassadors in groups on Facebook or through different directories of influencers.
Millennials are potentially the best brand ambassadors. They are digitally savvy and very in tune with creating the best influence and relationships online. If you want millennials as key members of your brand ambassador program, you will need to tailor your efforts to incorporate the qualities that define age. Leverage their drive to communicate and express themselves and their passion by showing how an ambassadorship role for your brand can give them the platform to share who they are to the rest of the world.
When searching for your perfect brand ambassadors, don’t forget to hire from within. Internal brand ambassadors can be any employee showing dedication and going the extra mile on behalf of the company. They willingly share their ideas on how to improve the business brand while also doing their part in promoting your company online. They are effective brand ambassadors in the sense that your audience will rely on your employees’ credibility as people who know the business from within. It’s important that you are able to quickly identify and recognize these employees for their efforts.
A well planned and well outlined brand ambassador program is the key to a successful campaign. You should be able to answer important questions that will determine your program’s structure. Who will lead the program? What kind of content is and isn’t acceptable? What is the procedure for application? Start simple. Determine your initial goals and a basic structure that you can build on as your program grows.
Once you’ve set goals for your ambassadors, you also need to acknowledge milestones that they achieve. This will ensure they are continuously motivated and genuinely support your brand. You can start by identifying top performers and featuring them on your website. By reciprocating their endorsement, you not only build loyalty, but also improve upon the reputation of your brand.
Part of a sound brand ambassador program is developing a system of rewards for your team. Identify what motivates them (which should already be reflected in the application form) and structure your incentives around their answers. Some brand ambassadors might be looking for monetary compensation, while others would be more inclined to perform their best in exchange for recognition. There are also those who endorse your brand because your values are aligned to a charity that they support. Whatever the case may be, make an effort to be creative to keep your brand ambassadors interested and highly engaged.
Every brand ambassador program needs a highly customized application form to help identify the best match for your campaign. It also shows who is willing to make an effort and would care enough to complete a set of questions on behalf of the brand. Aside from the basic personal details, your application form should also ask specific questions that will help you identify key personality traits. The questions will also give prospective brand ambassadors an idea of what to expect when they join the program.
Your program’s performance should be tracked by documenting key metrics in each stage of the campaign. Make sure you have tools in place to measure factors like impressions and engagements to know what’s working and what’s not. The more figures you have on your side, the better. This will help you make important adjustments in your campaign to ensure the success of your brand ambassador program.
Your followers on social media and pool of loyal employees are a great source for recruiting brand ambassadors. But there are also other sources you can look into to add variety to your team. Consumer review sites like Yelp and Consumer Affairs can also provide you with an even more diverse set of personalities, which also means better chances of reaching more leads and potential clients.
It’s important that you continuously engage and communicate with your brand ambassadors. This helps to keep your team motivated and genuinely devoted to your brand. Provide them with challenging tasks that are paired with rewards that appeal to them. Invite them to collaborate with you on thought leadership opportunities and empower them to make sound decisions that relate to their role.
There are over 20 million online stores worldwide, each competing for market attention. This makes it important for small businesses to look for the best brand ambassador examples to inspire their own program. Get started with our list of brand ambassador ideas from the pros and reach more of your target audience in no time.
Did you have your own brand ambassador program tips to share? Let us know in the comments.