Long before the age of social media, people depended on their community to tell them where to get the freshest bread or the best shoe shine. As it turns out, our consumer behavior hasn’t changed much in hundreds of years.
Studies have shown that a friend or family member’s recommendation makes 80% of Americans more likely to buy a service or product.
Businesses can create brand ambassador programs to harness the power of word-of-mouth advertising. By finding superfans or hiring employees to promote their brand, companies can humanize their products, build trust, and target their key demographics.
Here you’ll learn:
- What a brand ambassador program is
- Why you should implement a brand ambassador program
- How to create a brand ambassador program
- How to find the right people, inside or outside of your organization
What exactly is a brand ambassador?
A brand ambassador is a person who promotes a brand and its products to their community to boost sales and awareness. Brand ambassador programs can be simple or complex in nature.
A company’s brand ambassador program can do one or all of the following:
- Encourage employees to share recommendations
- Recruit loyal fans to post on their social networks
- Enlist experts in the company’s niche
- Hire street teams
- Collaborate with influencers in target markets
Why should you implement a brand ambassador program?
According to Olapic’s global report, Consumer Trust: Keeping it Real, respondents were seven times more likely to trust other consumers on social media over advertisements. More than 75% of respondents also believed that content was more honest when other consumers posted it, instead of advertisers.
A brand ambassador gives you a chance to personalize your product or service. Your advertising might show your product’s practicality or high performance, but consumers know those are images created by your brand.
When customers see real people using your products, it lends authenticity to those items. Lululemon provides a strong example of how to create a brand ambassador program. The company boasts a global network of enthusiasts who love their product and promote the core pillars of their brand.
Lululemon’s customers see yogis, surfers, and football players using their products. When consumers see the product in action, they can connect with it more intimately.
A good ambassador will use targeted content to drive interest from your preferred audience toward specific products.
One of the best benefits of a brand ambassador program is its ability to build trust. Edelman’s Trust Barometer Special Report showed 67% of consumers would try a product if the company has a good reputation. Customers will also stop buying the product if they lose confidence in the company.
How to create a brand ambassador program
When developing a brand ambassador program for your company, there are several key factors to identify:
- What are your goals?
- How will you measure success?
- What are your program guidelines?
- What kind of compensation will you offer?
Think about your ultimate goal.
Do you want to raise brand awareness, increase your social media presence, or engage your audience base? Goals set a direction for your program.
Then, figure out how to measure the success of your brand ambassador program.
Do you want a certain number of referrals each month or more followers? By setting numeric objectives, you can see progress quickly and determine how to tweak your program.
While you want to let creativity flourish, it is crucial to have guidelines for content an ambassador will post and how they should conduct themselves at events. Think about what you expect from your brand representatives and establish baseline rules to avoid any missteps.
Importantly, you want to decide how you’ll compensate your brand ambassadors. Ideas include commission, discounts, free products, and exposure on your networks.
Choosing the right people
When you’re learning how to create your brand ambassador program, it’s crucial to develop a method for picking the right people to represent you.
- The benefits they bring
- Their network’s reach and your audience
- The kind of content they provide
- The way you want to hire them
A brand ambassador who is an expert in their field can bring more prestige to your company, while a loyal fan of your product can generate enthusiasm for your offerings.
You should also analyze a potential candidate’s social network reach. Pick someone who has influence in an area you want to grow or a substantial following of people in your target market.
For example, if you’re hoping to reach baby boomers, someone with a high Snapchat following won’t be advantageous as less than 20% of baby boomers use that platform.
Decide what content you want from your ambassadors. Some will be able to write reviews, and others can capture attractive photos. If you’re going to stay current, choose someone who can capitalize on trending topics. Again, your goals should help determine your choice.
Finding brand ambassadors can happen through a formal job application or direct messages to your biggest fans on social media. Decide which hiring practices appeal to you — whether it’s a simple application on your website or a full-fledged job interview.
Don’t forget your own employees
It can be easy to overlook your employees as potential recruits for your brand ambassador program. But that would be a missed opportunity.
Employees are intimately familiar with your company’s offerings, and their endorsement carries a powerful punch. An MSL Group study found that brand messaging goes 561% further when it’s from employees instead of official channels.
If you offer media training and a formal brand ambassador program, you can also improve company culture. Post Beyond found employee advocacy built shared purpose in the workplace, improved customer service, and increased creativity.
Increased trust, social network reach, and the power of word-of-mouth advertising are just a few of the reasons to implement a brand ambassador program.
Spend time thinking about your goals and criteria for your influencers. Use that information to figure out how to create a brand ambassador program that benefits your consumers, ambassadors, and company.
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