When looking to increase sales, a full-blown marketing campaign needn’t be your first resort. You can generate noise simply by partnering with the right people. Recruiting brand ambassadors works effectively to highlight your services to a wider audience.
According to Aspire.io, over half of brands are running brand ambassador programs to establish deeper and more meaningful connections with leads and customers. The key is finding relevant content creators inside and outside of your organization to share their authentic experiences.
What are brand ambassadors?
Brand ambassadors are individuals that advocate for a business, helping to boost awareness, strengthen its brand image, and attract more leads and customers.
Part of a brand ambassador’s duties is to talk about a product or service offered by the business. Ambassadors typically share a positive experience with their friends, social media followers, and online and offline networks. By providing noteworthy information and helpful reviews, brand ambassadors help to convert more leads and increase revenue over time.
Looking for brand ambassadors is a rewarding marketing strategy for businesses of any size. The three main types of brand ambassadors that’ll be discussed in this guide are:
- Customer ambassadors
- Employee ambassadors
- Influencer ambassadors
Why are brand ambassadors important?
Recruiting brand ambassadors is a low-cost investment that can yield high returns for your business. Below are some of the top benefits of using brand ambassadors to build your brand.
They raise awareness
The primary role of brand ambassadors in marketing is to discuss your business with their network. When an ambassador posts on social media, a review site or a forum, their content generates interest from potential customers. With every mention of their experiences, your brand presence grows.
They build trust
Brand ambassadors aren’t always paid monetary compensation. When they endorse your brand, it comes across as natural and heartfelt, making their testimonials more credible than those of paid influencers. Businesses don’t direct ambassador content to the degree of sponsored influencer content. With less curation involved, ambassador messaging can be seen as more authentic.
They provide free or low-cost marketing
Unlike affiliates, ambassadors aren’t entitled to a commission when their content results in a sale. They typically promote a business because they believe in its values or have had a memorable experience that they want to share.
To better understand the role of brand ambassadors in marketing a brand, here's a comparison of duties.
- Brand ambassador vs. affiliate: Brand ambassadors don’t always have financial motivation to promote a business. They support the brand’s mission and believe in its high-quality services. In contrast, an affiliate receives a certain percentage of the sales that result from their content.
- Brand ambassador vs. sales representative: There are different types of brand ambassadors and only some are formally hired by a business. An ambassador’s main goal is to develop a remarkable image for the business. Sales representatives, on the other hand, are part of a business’ in-house team, brought on board to sell products to target customers.
- Brand ambassador vs. social media influencer: Similar to affiliates, social media influencers are typically compensated when they promote a brand to their following. However, instead of commissions, they are paid a fixed rate depending on the number and types of mentions. Brand ambassadors are not contracted to discuss your business.
- Influencer ambassadorship vs. influencer marketing: Influencer ambassadors form long-term relationships with brands. They have personal experience with the different products offered and can be seen as a source of knowledge. Meanwhile, traditional social media influencers may only work with brands on a short-term or one-off basis and may not have personally used the brand’s products.
Standard brand ambassador qualifications.
Technically, anyone can become an ambassador for a brand as long as they have genuine support for the business and have tried its offering. However, an ideal ambassador has:
- Excellent communication skills
- Strong interpersonal skills
- A friendly and engaging personality
- Solid promotional skills
- A growing and loyal network
- Knowledge of social media platforms and content creation
Three types of brand ambassadors.
Recognized as the most genuine type of brand ambassadors, customer ambassadors often advocate for your brand without expectations of a reward. Loyal customers can become ambassadors without prompt, purely by sharing positive words with their network because they support your business.
Some examples of content produced by customer ambassadors are product or service reviews, video testimonials, store tours, store selfies, and writing about a positive experience, among others.
Employee brand ambassadors
Appointing your employees as brand ambassadors is a practical way to enhance your marketing strategy. Employees know your values and have great insight into the company. Moreover, they are a part of your brand identity, and therefore, bring credibility to promotional content.
Having an engaging social media presence is important to employee ambassadorship. Both business profiles and team member profiles need to be maintained. As employees promote your brand on their social media profiles, your brand’s visibility increases among their friends, followers and extended network.
Some examples of content produced by employee ambassadors include how-to videos and demos, behind the scenes of product or service development, coverage of company events, a day in the life of a team member, and testimonials for the brand.
Influencers with a significant, relevant following make impactful brand ambassadors. They can spread the word about a business quickly, helping to widen reach, acquire more leads and maximize sales.
Influencer ambassadors utilize social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and YouTube to promote products and services. By creating captivating and persuasive content, an influencer can motivate their audience to follow and purchase from a business.
Some examples of content produced by influencer ambassadors include filming their experience of a service, sharing reviews and posting behind the scenes stories of the partnership.
A business’ size, goals and target audience inform the type of influencers to partner with. For example, micro influencers with a local-specific following are ideal to drum up customers for a small business. Read more in our guide to social media branding.
Looking for brand ambassadors? Try these 5 easy ideas.
Whether you’re wondering how to start a brand ambassador program for your local business, or where to find one great ambassador to monitor the results, these tips will help.
1. Start your brand ambassador search on social media
With the volume of social media influencers continuing to rise, be sure to find the best people for the job. It’s important to shortlist influencers and individuals who align with your brand values and have a significant social media following. Review their follower count and level of engagement on platforms that resonate with your target audience.
A hashtag search displays content related to your industry or niche. Explore these posts and the profiles associated with them; you’ll discover individuals and groups that could make ideal brand ambassadors. Ensure they post regularly and have a point of view that creates discussion.
To reach out to them, simply send a direct message or an email. Your message should be polite, professional, personalized and lay out the perks of teaming up. Note that some influencers do not accept business-related messages personally.
Need a specific example? Here’s how to get brand ambassadors on Instagram:
- Utilize ‘Explore’ and suggested profiles in your Instagram app. These features suggest content based on your account’s interests and behaviors. Once you find some prospects, follow their page, engage with their posts by liking and commenting, and then send a DM once you’re ready to invest.
- Try influencer discovery tools that help you to find brand ambassadors on Instagram. HypeAuditor, NinjaOutreach, and Scrunch allow you to search for influencers based on location, engagement rate and follower count.
- Instagram Stories and IGTV feature short videos based on the topics your account is most engaged with. You can get to know individual personalities better, including how well people discuss brands and share knowledge.
- Collaborate with micro influencers who typically have a small but more engaged audience. They are ideal for local lead generation, as some of them have profiles connected to a particular location. To reach out to micro influencers, here’s a template message you can use from Upfluence.com.
2. Ask loyal customers to become your ambassadors
Identify customers who frequently purchase from, or engage with, your business. You could approach them to join your brand ambassador program and take a role in community-building. Alternatives to payment include offering incentives such as discounts for your services, free products or a gift certificate.
Loyal customers who appreciate your services and level of care are ideal ambassadors. Their story goes beyond a transaction to showing how much your business values their long-term patronage.
- Be able to identify customers who regularly purchase from you or visit your place of business. If your CRM software includes their social media details, it’s easier to find customers that have a significant following. You can offer an incentive to those who post a positive testimonial on their pages or in a relevant group.
- Read online reviews about your business on Google, Facebook and Yelp. You can thank individuals for posting and start a conversation. Develop a strong back-and-forth into an opportunity to ask for ambassador content.
- Have you created a branded hashtag for your business or a campaign? Explore who’s using it in their content to find potential ambassadors.
- Track brand mentions and tags on social media. You’ll be notified when a user tags your brand; respond and build a rapport with customers who’s online voice aligns with your brand.
- Facebook identifies the top fans of your business page. These are the people who are most engaged with your content and reply to you often. Find top fans who purchase regularly and consider them for an ambassador role.
- Browse YouTube and TikTok for positive user-generated content and videos related to your products or services. The users who publish these videos are more likely to promote your brand further if given an incentive.
3. Launch an employee referral program
Team members are effective brand ambassadors as they have unique product knowledge and can speak positively about working with the business. Utilize your team to promote your business to their individual networks, helping to raise awareness while also humanizing your brand.
One way of doing this is to launch an employee referral program. For every successful referral that results from a team member’s social media content, they receive a reward. Some ideas for content include:
- Creating a day in the life video where the CEO or another employee narrates a typical day in the workplace.
- A social media takeover where employees control the company's profiles for a day or a week. This empowers your team to share experiences and get creative to engage a wider audience.
- Publish behind-the-scenes stories of a particular campaign, company event or production shoot.
- Encourage employees to create video testimonials about working with the company. This highlights unique reasons for why team members are loyal to a business.
- Launch an internal contest where employees will post about a common theme, e.g. “What do you like best about working here?” or “Which product or service do you like the most and why?”
If you run a service-based business, ensure team members add relevant booking links to their content. That way, their audience is able to make a reservation easily and conveniently while engagement is high.
4. Cast a wide net with a brand ambassador program
By setting up a brand ambassador program, you do not have to assess individual interest in promoting your business. People who want to partake will apply to become an ambassador, confirming their engagement from the get-go, and you follow up with the top candidates.
Candidates can include new and regular customers, employees of your company, relatives of employees, or anyone who knows about your brand and has the relevant qualifications. To start your brand ambassador program, follow these steps:
- Create a brand ambassador application and send it to your customers and employees. Having an up-to-date and segmented email subscriber list is useful here. If you operate a service-based business, your booking system can automatically update your subscriber list with new customer details.
- Make it an open invite and allow recipients to share the application with their family members, friends, colleagues, neighbors, and anyone who could be interested and qualified.
- To expand the audience for your program, create social media posts and online ads about it. Drop a link to the application and track where most traffic comes from. This will help you focus on the most valuable routes to finding quality candidates.
- Regularly review completed applications against your criteria for the ideal ambassador.
- Create a Booking Page pop-up that directs people to your application. Loyal customers can confirm their next appointment and move on to completing your form.
- Add a QR code to print materials and displays at your locations. With one scan, engaged foot traffic can open your application on their smartphones and submit their details.
Contact candidates that make the cut and explain what they’ll get in return for participating. Quantity isn’t the indicator for success here. It’s often better to have a small group of ambassadors who create standout content with reach, rather than a high quantity of subpar content that doesn’t quite suit your brand.
Knowing how to reward brand ambassadors is key to keeping them motivated. If an ambassador stays engaged with your program and produces great content over time, people notice their loyalty.
A commission isn’t always necessary; the best reward makes an ambassador feel valued and part of your community. You may find it helpful to research the types of incentives your customer base favors beforehand. Additionally, you may want separate reward systems based on the type of ambassador or level of engagement achieved by a post, or to change rewards as time goes on. We recommend that you be transparent, however, and ensure that all ambassadors are clear on what’s available to them.
5. Collaborate with other businesses for ambassadorship
Aside from your own customers and employees, you can also reach out to other businesses with your brand ambassador program. Be sure to capitalize on connections with businesses in your area, particularly those with related service offerings.
- Send a direct message on their most utilized social media platform, introducing your business and the purpose of your outreach.
- Send a proposal email to the marketing, business development, and/or advertising department of your target company
- Set up a meeting with the appropriate team. During the meeting, discuss your brand ambassador program in further detail and the benefits to both businesses if they choose to promote your brand.
Ensure any business or organization you contact aligns with your brand or the direction you’d like it to take. You should prioritize local businesses if your overall goal is to convert more leads in your neighborhood. Be strategic about who you reach out to; smaller companies are typically easier to start conversations with. Larger companies may have more substantial audiences across a number of channels, but it may take longer to get collaborations confirmed.
It addition to potential ambassador’s marketing content, review the quality of their own ambassadors’ content. This could indicate the quality you should expect.
How many brand ambassadors should a company have?
… There’s no one and only answer to this question. The number of brand ambassadors a company should have depends on its size, its target audience, resources available to manage ambassadors and the goals of its brand ambassador program.
Some companies may choose to work with a small group of highly influential brand ambassadors, while others may opt for a larger network of micro influencers. The key is to strike a balance between quality and quantity, and focus on building lasting relationships with people who align with your brand values and create engaging messaging.
To identify the number of brand ambassadors for your local business, here are some tips:
- Identify your program’s specific goals and target audience – these will be used to measure success of ambassador content.
- Consider the resources you have available to manage and engage with brand ambassadors effectively.
- Regularly monitor the performance and impact of your brand ambassadors to ensure they are delivering the desired results.
If you find that a small number of ambassadors are driving the most awareness, you may want to reassess their rewards and invest further in their content. Or, if you see more customer content is being shared, as opposed to influencer content, you may want to redistribute your budget and resources.
Monitoring the effectiveness of brand ambassadors.
How to find ambassadors for your brand is part one of creating a program. Subsequently, you need to track the value of their content to learn if your objectives are being met. Over time, your program may change depending on the type of ambassadorship that gets the best results.
Track quantitative key performance indicators (KPIs) of ambassador content such as:
- Local and global reach
- Impressions and views
- Engagement metrics
- No. of inquiries as a result
- No. of successful sales as a result
By analyzing the engagement levels of your brand ambassadors' content, including likes, comments, shares and saves, you can gauge the level of interest and interaction generated by their posts. Additionally, tracking reach metrics like the number of impressions created provides insight into the awareness they raise.
Furthermore, monitoring conversion rates, such as the number of clicks, website visits or purchases allows you to evaluate individual ability to deliver results, and measure the ROI of your brand ambassador program as a whole.
Gather qualitative feedback on ambassador content through surveys or direct communication with your audience. Leads and customers who have engaged with your brand ambassadors can share insights about perception, credibility and impact on purchase decisions.
Qualitative feedback helps you to understand the emotional connection and trust established by brand ambassadors. This allows you to fine-tune your program and optimize future collaborations.
By combining quantitative data with qualitative insights, you gain a comprehensive understanding of the effectiveness of your brand ambassadors and can continuously refine your strategy to maximize their impact.
Read more about online tools to help build your brand, from a bespoke logo to a booking website.
Promote your business with the right people.
Brand ambassadors play a vital role in helping businesses boost brand awareness and shaping brand image. By strategically sourcing the right ambassadors who align with your brand values, you can convert more leads and grow your business.