Social commerce is on the rise. Brands of all sizes work hard to keep up with the developments in the sphere. As the major social media companies compete for users, they are making considerable investments in social commerce.
Influencer marketing and brand ambassadorship, as its highest level, are two core instruments of this ongoing commerce revolution. According to the Digital Marketing Institute, 49% of consumers depend on influencer recommendations.
Today’s customers want to learn about your company from real people, see the items in use, and hear honest feedback. Brand ambassadors may be a perfect bridge between your business and audience. Read on to find out why.
Who Is a Brand Ambassador?
In essence, brand ambassadors are the influencers promoting a business. However, they are formally involved with your brand or product over a more extended period than common influencers, which is the primary contrast between the two.
Although social media influencers frequently charge per post, which might be excellent for generating quick spikes in traffic, they’re typically neither the most reasonable nor practical choice for a lengthy promotional campaign.
Typically, brand ambassadors have the following characteristics:
- They are often experts in a particular product category;
- They already use your brand in their everyday lives. It indicates these people belong to the brand’s value community and enjoy much greater credibility within your target market;
- They might be interested in non-cash rewards like attending the brand’s special events, receiving gifts, or other forms of compensation.
Benefits of Having a Brand Ambassador
As we’ve already mentioned, in many cases, brand ambassadorship is a much more efficient strategy than simple collaboration with influencers. Let’s dive deeper into the benefits it provides.
Differentiating Yourself from the Competitors
Many companies produce very similar products and services. That is why branding plays a key role in differentiating them. If two items are alike in many respects, the customer’s choice will mostly depend on whose brand they believe best represents their values.
Let’s take two brands of hair products: Amika and Kérastase. The first one reflects the cheerful way of life and its product line as a way to create a bright personal style, while Kerastase adheres to the values of keeping hair healthy and elegant.
Since people tend to associate the brand with the influencers promoting it, brand ambassadors assist you in creating a positive image and help your brand stand out in a crowd. They can reflect the brand’s story and explain the product’s benefits.
Brand ambassadors draw more targeted customers. Let’s say the company launches a line of new goods intended for an audience it has never targeted before.
This is the case where brand ambassadors can be really helpful. You only need to choose an influencer with the corresponding audience to promote this new collection.
They seamlessly incorporate labels into their lives, thereby raising brand awareness and generating discussion about its goods. All of this fosters a positive public perception and aids in sustaining audience interest for an extended period of time.
The influencers may, for instance, conduct giveaways or provide feedback on your goods or services via their social media profiles. Among other efficient instruments are live streams and reels.
They can increase inbound traffic and connect you with new customers who don’t yet follow the company on social media. For example, fitness and health influencer Victoria Gibbs creates reels for the yoga products brand Alo Yoga.
Improving Socials’ KPIs
It’s no secret that social media has developed into a powerful instrument for generating sales. And social media influencers can significantly assist you in it thanks to their large and devoted followings.
Similar to how talking about your brand and tagging the account increases traffic, it also motivates a brand ambassador’s audience to subscribe to the brand’s social media profiles.
One of the most efficient tricks of this kind for small brands is joint competition. The scenario is the following: the brand ambassador announces the competition on their page; the post should contain all the terms of the competition, such as time frame, prize, and actions that should be taken.
Usually, these actions are a subscription for the ambassador’s and brand’s accounts and leaving a comment under the post.
You can expect a substantial number of new followers. However, be ready that some of them will unsubscribe after the competition ends.
Not every prospective customer follows your brand ambassador, so the information shared on the page may not have the same impact on other users. To extend the reach of the content beyond the influencer’s account, repost it to the feed of your online store.
Spreading Your Values
As today people place greater significance on social causes, they are more attentive when looking for items and brands that align with their values.
For instance, according to a 2019 study by the Harvard Business Review, sustainable products are five times more successful in average sales growth than products without the sustainability label.
To a certain extent, it’s due to the fact that celebrities have widely discussed the topic of sustainability. And your brand should take advantage of every opportunity to become a part of this narrative.
For instance, actress and director Olivia Wilde has been promoting a sustainable way of life for many years. Some time ago, she became an ambassador of a biocompatible skincare brand, True Botanicals.
It means that Olivia’s Instagram audience of 4.3M, which is well-aware and supportive of her views, learns more about the brand and its values.
Apart from that, being the brand ambassador, the actress discusses sustainability on her social media more often. And visitors of the True Botanicals’ page have more trust in the brand when they see a well-known face.
Raising Cost Effectiveness
You need to understand that brand ambassadors can be both celebrities and niche bloggers. The benefit of the second ones is that they are significantly less expensive than traditional advertising. After all, ambassadors are highly motivated regardless of the incentives.
Although the company may pay ambassadors free goods, gift cards, or cash, their primary motivation is to see you succeed and advance the brand they believe in. Therefore, many brand ambassadors accept work for no compensation. Even if rewards are involved, they are never a priority.
Additional spending may be caused by the necessity to use ambassador management software. It assists in managing the awards earned by ambassadors if you decide to do so and track the effectiveness of their online campaigns. And even if you need to use this kind of software, it’ll cost less than sponsored advertisements.
But it doesn’t mean you can entirely replace other promotional activities with brand ambassadorship. It’s usually a combination of the solutions that lead companies to the desired result.
How to Gain an Ambassador?
Since brand ambassadors are supposed to collaborate with your brand for an extended period and be a real brand advocate at the same time, you need to be very thorough when choosing one. Let’s figure out how to find the best one.
Monitor Mentions of the Brand
Investigate and keep an eye on anything that is said about you first. Do it yourself, or use social listening tools like Sprout Social, Hootsuite, or Buffer. Observe directories and portals, like Yelp, and see who is praising you, especially if they are actively involved in the community.
Search blogs and forums. This is an excellent strategy since they are often dedicated to a certain topic. You just need to find the most interesting profiles there.
Of course, you should also examine social media mentions. It is the primary place for social interaction. Find people who speak well of your company. Analyze their audience, reach, and engagement rate to find the perfect brand advocates.
Use Influencer Seeding
Influencer seeding is a process of sending free goods to influencers. This way, you can introduce your company, products, and values to potential brand ambassadors.
Gifts presented at the start of a possible relationship can foster goodwill, which is a terrific approach for the first acquaintance. Even the price of creating these connections is minimum.
Analyze the Competitors
You’ll need to conduct the same kind of analysis we described in the first section. Determine the strengths and weaknesses of the competitors and what sets you apart from them. In addition, consider monitoring whether your brand advocates post about the competitor companies.
Motivate the Influencers
The best part of brand ambassadorship is having people who genuinely care about and identify with the company. Give them access to the brand, and make them feel valued and heard.
You can come up with different activities, such as inviting them to learn more about the business from the inside, organize special events, introduce new products and ask an influencer to test them.
Another option is to offer the influencer to create a product in collaboration with them like Urban Decay did with Gwen Stefani. The ultimate goal is to make the influencer’s bond with the brand even stronger.
What is essential to keep in mind regarding brand ambassadors? Choose them depending on who they are and who follows them. You might, for instance, target people of a certain age, gender, or geographic location.
If the company is not popular enough or lacks resources to work with prominent bloggers or celebrities, pay attention to the influencers with fewer followers. They tend to have a more interested audience and a much higher engagement rate.
Some companies choose not to work with well-known influencers but rather launch student ambassador programs to reach student audiences or employee ambassador programs to have better-versed and professional individuals marketing the brand.
The most crucial thing is to find a real fan of your brand which will be enthusiastic and creative in promoting it.
About the Author!
Kate Parish is the CMO at Onilab Magento development agency. Being a top executive in a company specializing in eCommerce, she spends much time researching new approaches in UX/UI design, Magento PWA development, and headless commerce on the whole. At the same time, Kate strives to keep up with the latest developments in digital marketing to modify the company’s promotional strategy accordingly. Her primary areas of interest are SEO, branding, and SMM.