Creating Ambassador Program for Your Brand – Level Up Your Advocate Movement

Sometimes, you need more than just very loyal customers. Your advocates—your consumers—will get you a long way, but they cannot always do the heavy lifting you might need. Word-of-mouth can only get you so far. Sometimes, what you need is a bit of organized influence.
You also need people who can vouch for your brand and what you do, and often. This is where brand ambassadors come in. Not sure what a brand ambassador is, what they do, or how to launch your own brand ambassador program? Not to worry. We will cover that here:

The Basics of Brand Ambassador Programs

Some people confuse brand advocates with brand ambassadors. While the two are similar in concept, they vary in subtle ways. In general, brand ambassadors are sometimes paid or reimbursed for their spreading the good word about a service, whereas advocates simply talk up a service without compensation.
Depending on the platform you choose and where your business is based, ambassadors might even be required to disclose that they have been paid. Instagram, for instance, requires that paid advertisement posts disclose that they are ads. Still, enlisting ambassadors is a worthwhile investment, especially if you can snag some names with clout in your industry.
It is also worth noting that just because brand ambassadors are sometimes paid does not mean that they cannot be viewed as trustworthy. As long as you seek out ambassadors with solid reputations and a love for what you do, your audience will likely engage with them. Not to mention, building a meaningful professional relationship with brand ambassadors can go a long way.
In some cases, you may even be able to identify a particularly passionate customer to convert from an advocate to an ambassador!

Influencers as Ambassadors

Influencers will generally be paid. They are high-profile and should be chosen based upon how well they could represent your company while also resonating deeply with your audience. Do their goals, messages, images, audience, and personality fit how you want your company to be portrayed? Think what age group, style, and other demographics and psychographics you want to attract your audience as that is the type of brand ambassador you should connect with.

From an influencer, you should expect:

● A specific image. Ambassadors are chosen to fit how you want to be seen. They often make it their job to maintain a professional image and demeanor.

● Focused, reliable marketing. Someone who is being reimbursed (through goods, services, or payments) for their positive portrayal of your company.

● Polished content. You are paying for their services. They, therefore, will hopefully be providing you with more refined content than a casual fan.

Fans as Ambassadors

Fans, meanwhile, tend to be unpaid. They are advocates to the extreme; they provide vocal support for your product without the need for financial or personal gain.
The perks of fans as ambassadors include:

● Free marketing. Fans do not expect to be reimbursed. Think of how many passionate fans there are for books!

● High influence within a smaller group. Though fans may not always have as wide-ranging social circles as influencers, their personal standing means that their recommendations will hold greater weight to some.

● Authentic, trustworthy content. Unpaid ambassadors tend to offer more genuine reviews and support than ambassadors, especially on platforms where paid advertisements need to be disclosed.

Different Types of Ambassadors

Furthermore, all ambassador programs are not made the same. Here are some common types of brand ambassadors and whom they usually represent:

Savvy Affiliates

Affiliates tend to be the first word most people associate with brand ambassadors. They are often bloggers or social media influencers, and their services commonly get repaid through gifts, goods, or money. Some affiliates will post codes and get a cut of the profit.

Knowledgeable College Ambassador

As the name implies, college ambassadors are best used for products that are marketed to younger crowds, especially students. For example, it would make sense to choose a college student at a prestigious university to represent a graduate school admission consulting service. Successful users of this model include Coca-Cola and Red Bull. Often, this model includes putting up posters and handing out samples.

Achiever

This type is based upon a set list of goals to be accomplished within a given time. This model is often low cost and (if done correctly) high reward, as it requires only stipends or free samples.

Spreader of Good News

Referral marketing is less structured than some other models and has a lot in common in advocacy marketing. Paid or not, these ambassadors are required to do little more than recommend the product and spread popularity through word-of-mouth.

Getting the Most Out of Your Ambassadors

It is not enough to simply hire a few ambassadors and let them run free-range on Twitter, though. You need to keep yourself on top of the latest trends! Some of these include:

● Video Marketing! Video content is big. In fact, more than 60% report being convinced to make a purchase after watching a video. It is an easily accessible medium, and you should be taking advantage of that. It does not all have to be formal business demonstrations, either. Get creative! For example, if you are a nutrition expert with lots of great products, your brand ambassadors might make TikTok videos or Instagram reels of themselves trying your latest smoothie flavor for breakfast.

● Try someone more niche, less influencer-y. More and more people are growing wary of traditional influencers. Try contacting some of your most vocal, passionate organic fans to be your ambassadors.

● Create a community. Online communities have boomed since the pandemic. Take advantage of this. Form a small community around (or find one relevant to) your product.

What Should You Do Next?

In conclusion, while your brand advocates are certainly valuable and can help you grow your business in many ways simply by talking up your services, brand ambassadors take promotion to a whole new level.
When launching your brand ambassador program, you will want to rely on a careful mix of strategies. You do not want to seem too robotic, nor do you want to be too informal. There is a fine point of balance between genuine and unmoderated brand images, and it is up to you to find that happy medium.
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