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Are Brand Ambassadors the Secret to Social Media Marketing Success?

by Zia A., posted 2 months ago
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In the olden days (aka anything pre iOS 3.1), to get an additional marketing boost, companies used to leverage celebrity endorsements – think Audrey Hepburn and Givenchy, or Jessica Simpson and Proactiv. Today, celebrity endorsers are still au courant, but a new role has emerged: the brand ambassador.

brand ambassadors

 

WHAT IS A BRAND AMBASSADOR?

The difference between ambassadors and influencers is a little unclear. According to sites like Tech.co, brand ambassadors “are under contract and obligation to sell [the product],” whereas influencers are given freebies “which companies hope will result in a positive review of their products and the ability to influence their fan base to also develop an interest in the product.” But even in the short time since that article was published, those definitions have changed.

Today, influencers are often recruited under contract, sometimes receiving financial compensation in exchange for promoting the brand (case in point: almost 1.5 million #sponsored posts on Instagram and counting).

brand ambassadors

So, today, a better definition might be this one from Entrepreneur.com:

By definition, a brand ambassador, is someone who eats, lives and breathes your brand. This is someone your customers can connect and engage with, someone who has a solid, well-established online presence with a decent-size network.”

5 BENEFITS OF BRAND AMBASSADORS

An army of carefully curated brand ambassadors can be a huge asset for your brand (and help you manage your marketing goals like a boss). Some of the major benefits include:

  1. Increased visibility for your brand.
    Brand ambassadors will help spread your message far and wide, including in areas and submarkets where you may not already have a presence.
  2. Credible word of mouth.
    A National Harris Poll Survey showed that more than 80% of people seek recommendations when making a purchase and that, when someone shares or talks about a brand on social media, there’s a significant correlation to purchase behaviour.
  3. A greater social media reach.
    The more people you have talking about your brand with positivity and passion, the better. When brand ambassadors mention your product, you’re tapping into their network, giving you a greater reach.
  4. Increased web traffic.
    If your brand ambassadors have a blog, links back to your website can help boost views and your SEO ranking. Win-win.
  5. Ultimately, higher sales.
    Ambassador programs are about building long-term loyalty. In the end, those relationships will lead to a sustainable and tangible increase in sales.

brand ambassadors

HOW TO CREATE A SUCCESSFUL AMBASSADOR PROGRAM

Now that you’ve seen what ambassadors can do to boost your brand, how do you set up your own successful campaign?

Identify the right candidates.

Before you can build your army, you’ve got to find the right people for the job. Comb through your existing followers and see who’s most engaged. Skim the competition’s audience as well. Post about your ambassador program on your website and on your social media feeds. Create an outline of your ideal candidate – someone who embodies your values and your brand.

Define the relationship and your marketing goals.

As with any relationship, success depends on a clear understanding of roles. Objectives, milestones, expectations, and rewards should be well defined before bringing someone on board. Think about what activities you want your ambassadors to participate in, and how involved you expect them to be. Identify your marketing goals and consider their objectives as well – a mutually beneficial relationship will create a more stable and sustainable community long term. 

Spotlight them.

You’ve gone to the effort of finding and vetting them, now let them shine! Follow Lululemon’s stellar example (and pioneering ambassador program) and feature your ambassadors wherever you can. Feature them on your website or on your blog. Use them in marketing and advertising. Not only will it keep them motivated, but it will also lend authenticity to your brand.

Create an open and honest relationship.

Brand ambassadors aren’t just a vehicle to shout your brand from the rooftops, they’re also a great resource for feedback and support. Start a two-way dialogue between you and your ambassadors. Go beyond a generic email and create a personal connection that encourages the flow of feedback and ideas. You may be surprised at the insights that arise.

Measure and refine.

No marketing program is complete without a way to measure success, so decide what that looks like for your brand and then keep track of ROI. At the same time, remember that a brand ambassador program has an indirect link to sales. So be patient, and you’ll soon see the numbers grow.

 

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