By: Kaleigh Glaza
Celebrity endorsements are a dime a dozen in the advertising and social media worlds. From cars to beauty products to credit cards, every famous face seems to be a fan. But do you really need a celebrity when you have your own loyal community right at your fingertips?
Compared to models or actors, everyday brand ambassadors can actually have a weightier and more influential effect for the company they are promoting, and to the audience of their peers that they are endorsing the company’s products and services to.
Who are they?
A brand ambassador can be anyone who has taken a vested interest in your company or cause. They don’t have to be famous, directly connected with your industry, or even live in the same country as you. There are no fixed qualifications for them, either. They could be students, housewives, hourly workers or CEOs. If they are interested or interact in the same industry as you, they can be brand ambassadors.
Maybe they are just a fan of your brand or have been helped by it in the past. Maybe they like your ads or your brand gives them a warm feeling of nostalgia. Maybe they even saw one of those celebrity endorsements, tried your product, and became a fan.
From there, they come to represent your company to their peers and followers by endorsing your products and services, as well as acting as an embodiment of the corporate identity of your company or brand.
This means that the brand ambassador can be… well, anyone.
Photo via Igor Ovsyannykov
Where do you find them?
This is the easy part, because you can find them almost anywhere! Some ideas include:
- Your existing online community
- Events you have hosted
- People who have responded to your ads or coupons
- Friends of your social media fans or even employees
- People who have searched similar brands or products online
- Volunteers or others who have been involved with causes like yours
No matter where you find them, make sure they appear unbiased, but still invested in your cause. They should ideally have good social media reach, and have already mentioned or worked with your brand/product/cause in the past.
Photo via Adrian Sava
How do you make the best use of them?
Brand ambassadors can be used to increase brand visibility, organically boost market awareness, and thus, even increase sales, event participation and public opinion of the brand.
Brand ambassadors can tell your story or promote your brand on various channels, such as blogs and personal websites, as well as social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, and LinkedIn, to name a few. Social media has risen to be one of the most effective marketing tools, thanks to instantaneous posting platforms, live feeds and location-based services.
Social media also allows your brand ambassadors to become customer service representatives of sorts. People have come to expect immediate responses on social platforms, and often brand ambassadors can offer informative and swift responses to followers, or blast out a message/response that a brand might have to wait for approval to post.
Lastly, you can use them to promote coupons or other rewards and promotions for you. Offering extra incentives for these promotions only increases their success and reach, as your ambassadors are more motivated to spread the word or recruit friends.
Photo via Steinar Engeland
Why them versus paid influencers?
There are, again, many reasons to use brand ambassadors over paid endorsers. The most obvious is, of course, a more limited budget, but the reasoning doesn’t stop there.
- They provide a perceived personal touch that an obviously sponsored message doesn’t have
- They are the online and in-person version of “word of mouth advertising,” which is often deemed more trustworthy by the public because they are not being paid
- They provide open lines of communication to current and future brand loyalists
- They can even be used to recruit potential new employees
Photo via Rawpixel
What does this mean for your brand?
Having a brand ambassador program is now one of the best marketing and promotional strategies for a business, more so even than some advertising campaigns.
They help you position your company as the expert or go-to in your industry, because the appearance is that not only do you claim to be the expert, but other people already support and rely on that claim.
As previously mentioned, they can function as an extension of your customer service arm, which relieves some of the pressure on that sector of the company, especially as it relates to social media.
They can even help push out fun news from the company or less “sexy” topics like financial information, scientific studies or corporate responsibility reports.
All in all, brand ambassadors are easy to find, necessary to cultivate, and bring great value to your brand.
Kaleigh joined Event 360 in 2016, and can’t wait for her first event season as a part of the 3-Day team. She looks forward to meeting all the participants, and providing an amazing 60 miles for all the walkers. In her free time, you can find Kaleigh at Wrigley Field cheering on her Cubs or planning her next trip.