If you are in business, you should never underestimate the power of word of mouth. People are more likely to act on a product or service when recommended by people they know, than traditional ads. That is because they resonate very well with them.
So, it should be your priority to keep sustaining these great recommendations in the long term. That is where brand ambassadors come in.
Who is a brand ambassador?
First of all, who is a brand ambassador, and what is a brand ambassador program? Not just that, you should be asking, how can I make my ambassador program work? A brand ambassador is simply an individual hired by an individual or company in other to represent their business in a positive light.
By doing so, brand awareness and sales are increased. One of the vital skills of an ambassador is his ability to use promotional strategies that will increase brand awareness and sales. Typically, a brand ambassador is a positive spokesperson, a community influencer, an opinion leader.
A brand ambassador can be your employee, partners, or customers. Irrespective of your relationship with brand ambassadors, they are experts when it comes to product/service promotion. Unlike a social influencer, they work with you in the long term.
Brand ambassador aims at bringing in new customers to the organization.
What is the brand ambassador program?
It is a program that familiarizes your business or brand to your target market, thereby getting them involved in the promotion of your products using word of mouth. Through a brand ambassador program, you recruit your powerful advocates who will always represent and promote the business whenever the opportunity surfaces. They will focus on increasing sales, conversion, etc.
As part of the program, you will have to give your ambassadors insider information about your brand, products, brand messages, and campaign messages. That is to help you accomplish your business goals efficiently.
However, you don’t just recruit them. You also train and give them guidelines to following when representing your brand.
Sometimes, your ambassadors may not need guidance; they share about your brand without any script. It can be through social media, websites, public events, trade centers, face to face interaction. Creating a successful brand ambassador program
When choosing your ambassadors, you don’t just recruit because they love your brand.
That will be a colossal mistake. You hire base on the capacity of the individual and his ability to actively promote your brand and products. Here are things you need to look for when looking for brand ambassadors.
Know your brand ambassadors
You will need to spend a lot of time to discover who your brand ambassadors are. You might think you know them already, but that is a lie. You don’t!
You will need to know the customers that try to connect more to the brand. You need to know their conversation, both online and offline. You don’t need to find the right ambassador; they will find you.
They do that through letters, reviews, and opinions about your brand. They will email you with feedback, and also respond to you through social media. In other to get the right brand ambassadors, you will need to catalog customers who are proactively connecting to your brand.
The best ambassador will fit into these attributes;
- Enthusiastic – Customers who are very excited about your brand or product will always make the right ambassador. In other to find them, look for the most glowing post on social media or websites, and recruit.
- Niche authorities – Authorities in your niche are always great when it comes to looking for the right brand ambassador. Potential customers are more likely to act on their recommendations than native adverts. For example, a toothbrush company can recruit a great dentist as an ambassador due to his authority on the field.
- Those who blend – These are customers who flawlessly blend with your brand target market. If you are targeting college students, you might also have to recruit campus ambassadors for proper presentation.
Reach out to the ambassador
There are many ways to find an ambassador. But the three most common methods are usually social media searches, through software, or application processes.
- Social media searches – Before you recruit your ambassadors, you must have found a few positive things they wrote about your business or brand. These posts are definitely about how much they love your brand. They will make an excellent ambassador. One easy way to find them is through your hashtags or perhaps, tag you in their post.
- Software programs - There are lots of software that helps you find people who have talked a lot about your product or brand. With this software, you can find anyone on the internet easily, for as long they were talking about your brand. One of the edges this method has is because; Once you have found people who seem to like your brand, the software can also help you reach out to them. Most of this software is cost-effective and also time-saving. Not just that, this software helps to also manage and track them in whatever they do online.
- Application process - Another way to recruit a brand ambassador is through an application process. You can send a brand ambassador application to some of your best-known customers. Another way around this is to open up an application form on your website and let these potential ambassadors come to you — irrespective of each of the methods mentioned above.
- In the form, ask them if they will be able to share your products and services to their audience or network. Try as much as possible to weed out the nos.
- It is also necessary to ask why they choose tour brands or products.
- Lastly, you need to find out how passionate and sincerely they feel about your business. It would be a guide to getting the right brand ambassador.
Monitor ambassador activity
After recruiting your brand ambassador, you need to enter an agreement with them and their functions in the brand. Give them all the information they need to be brand ambassadors.
- Make expectations known – You need to make your ambassadors know the formats of their brand post, how often they post on social media. Also, the platform they to and the number of reaches expected.
- Clear communication – Effective communication should be an essential aspect you shouldn’t overlook. It will ensure that the long term and short term goals of the brand are reached.
- Use a contract – Before they are fully recruited, have them sign a written agreement or perhaps, through a valid software. This agreement can also be verbal.
- Form a relationship – Get to know your ambassadors personally. If possible, form a relationship get to know their goals and ambition.
- Apply rules – in other for your brand ambassadors to present you well; you need to give them a set of rules. It will ensure proper brand representation. Also, encourage ambassadors to share their authentic stories through your brand. In other words, give then guidelines but not, lines.
Appreciate your ambassadors
When thinking of having brand ambassadors, also draft out ways to reward your ambassadors. Although some ambassadors are excellent working for free, others will require a little motivation. A reward is a great way to appreciate your ambassadors
- If you choose to reward your ambassadors, state how you want to compensate them, and what they must do to get the compensation.
- You can compensate ambassadors with money, free products, gift cards, etc.
- By giving your brand ambassadors free products, it gives them more reason to share your brand with their network.
- In other to track their activity, you will need to provide them with a unique referral link. They use this link to promote your business or brand. There are lots of referral software that can help you
- Try as much as you can to appreciate your brand ambassadors. It will go a long way to fuel their passion. Another cost-effective way to do this is by running ambassador of the week or month. You can carry this out on your blog.
- When running this important event, ensure to highlight what made them the ambassador for the month. It would serve as a guide to prospective brand ambassadors.
Good relationships and updates
In the brand ambassador program, you don’t just recruit a person, and that ends it. You need to build a good and working relationship with them continually. It would go a long way toward building a stable relationship.
Never stop communication, whether calls or emails. Here are a few tips that would foster effective communication
- Ensure that the ambassador can easily reach you without hurdles. In a case whereby they have questions or suggestions.
- Always keep them update with the latest brand updates or news. If there is a new product, they should be among the first to know even if it is a new campaign or updates on the company’s progress. Doing this builds trust and rapport between you and your ambassadors.
- Allow brand ambassadors to give feedback. They want to see your brand succeed, and thus, feedback from them is very vital. When it comes to promoting your brand, they might have a different and better perceptive.
- If their idea is perfect, praise and appreciate the ambassador in any way, you can. Also, don’t be afraid to schedule check-in calls or personalized messages.
Start small and grow big
At a start, you don’t expect to have millions of ambassadors on your program. It is much better to have ten dedicated ambassadors than 3000 members that are mere ‘meh’ to the brand. Start small and start with people who are passionate about your brand.
Additionally, it is a great business model to start small and grow to a giant. Start small so that you will be able to expand with confidence.
- If you are starting small, start with at last ten ambassadors, with the highest number in places with a bigger target market.
- Once you have perfected the program in a specific business locale, move over to other branches to launch the program.
Direct access to the brand
You will have to give your brand ambassadors direct access if they must perform effectively. They should be given contact with multiple vital executives in the brand. You can also make your top ambassador a member of the program, charged with reporting.
The report could be about the growth of the program or tracking of sales in the company.
In other to get it right, you might not necessarily handle your brand ambassador program yourself. You can hire an expert who will ensure that you get the desired result. However, one major factor which must not be overlooked is planning.
Before you kick off this program, ensure you have planned all the nitty-gritty. If you don’t expect, you plan to fail. In your plan, the objective of the brand must be stated.
It would guide for effective planning. Take the goals of an ambassador into consideration and ensure that it tallies with your brand goals. One of the most famous frameworks when it comes to building a brand ambassador program is the commitment curve.
Once you have all the processes mapped out, executing your plan becomes very easy and stress-free. Through planning, you have more time to plan the method of communication, compensation, objectives, etc.
Brand ambassadors are unique individuals who are passionate and enthusiastic about your brand. They can go the extra mile to ensure that your brand is adequately represented. When choosing an ambassador, choose one that can promote your brand.
The ambassador with more reach and authority. Set expectations, map out the goals, and let your ambassadors have creative control. Though they need to represent your brand correctly, you shouldn’t restrict their genuine and authentic voice.
Lastly, keep the line of communication open. Without communication, your brand ambassador program is doomed to fail already. Are you yet to start planning your brand ambassador program? Now is the time to start using the previously mentioned tips.