Imagine if you could add a small but mighty group of marketing partners to your team.
These marketing partners are all experts in their niches, and have followers on social media that closely match your own target demographic. These potential partners would
happily endorse and promote your offers. They get to bring additional value to their audiences, the audience members get exposure to your products or services, and you get more sales. Everybody wins.
This is the essence of a brand ambassador program. Creating such a program for your small business can make a dramatic difference to your marketing results. The good news is it does not have to take much time or effort to launch, yet can yield tremendous growth and profits for your business.
Forward-thinking businesses understand that consumers want honesty and transparency. Working with brand ambassadors can be extremely effective and affordable as there is pre-existing trust and affinity between the influencer and their followers.
People definitely trust recommendations from peers more than they trust brand ads. In fact, studies show that 84 percent of consumers trust word-of-mouth recommendations the most.
Brand ambassador program formats
Brand ambassador programs can have a variety of formats; you get to choose what might work best for your business model.
For example, your program could be similar to an affiliate program or referral program, where anyone can sign up on your website to get a unique tracking link. Ambassadors then use their tracking link to promote your offer to their audience. And, you only pay ambassadors a commission on sales they make.
Many SaaS (software as a service) companies offer more open type of ambassador programs like this. Examples include marketing automation company HubSpot, social media management platform AgoraPulse, and online video creation tool Wave.video.
You could make your ambassador program by application only to make it more selective and ensure you get quality matches. For example, Podium is a customer feedback software company for local businesses and they have a compelling invitation to explore becoming a Podium partner on their website. I particularly appreciate the verbiage on their inquiry form, “Podium partners with some of the most respected marketing consultants, business service providers, and marketing agencies across the globe.”
Alternatively, what may be most effective for you is to identify and proactively reach out to potential ambassadors. They may be known as micro- or macro- influencers in their industry.
The popularity of influencer marketing has quickly given rise to what are referred to as “micro-influencers.” These are Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest users, for example, with small but very loyal audiences. Conversely, “macro-influencers” are power users and widely recognized trendsetters, many of which have followings in the hundreds of thousands or millions.
Now, we even have “nano-influencers” on the rise. These folks are normal everyday social media users with follower counts between 1,000 to 5,000.
How to compensate brand ambassadors
Brand ambassador terms could range from a one-time project where you pay a flat fee and/or a performance based bonus. Or, it could be you work with select ambassadors with an ongoing monthly retainer for services provided. Nano-influencers are most likely to be happy with some free product or modest compensation.
Ambassador packages could include a mix of the following:
- Monthly retainer for specific brand awareness campaigns and lead generation deliverables
- Flat fee for a specific marketing project
- Performance based compensation with commissions payable for leads and/or sales
- Free supplies of your product
- Free access to your software, app, or other services
- Any other creative ways you come up with that are win-win for your business and the ambassador
How to find prospective brand ambassadors
Search social networks such as Instagram, Twitter and Facebook for specific keywords and hashtags to see if you can identify good matches.
Nano-influencers may be the easiest to reach and team up with, versus a major celebrity or certain macro-influencers.
Instead of doing your own organic searches, you might enlist the help of a service that specializes in finding you ideal influencers/brand ambassadors with which to work. For example, take a look at Influencer Marketing Hub.
Plus, your top customers could even become some of your first brand ambassadors! Review your list of best customers and reach out to them with an invitation.
What deliverables do brand ambassadors create?
Tap into what comes naturally to the ambassador and also what their audience most resonates with. For example, I love to do educational webinars and Facebook Live video broadcasts with educational content, and my audiences love this, too. The list of companies I’ve done this for include Hootsuite, BeLive.tv, Podium, Telestream Wirecast, IMPACT Branding & Design and more. For Adobe, I hosted a Facebook live from their annual MAX Creativity Conference, with live demos of new products.
Deliverables endorsing your product or service can include any of the following on the ambassador’s channels:
- Publishing content on any of the major social networks – in link, image or video format
- Hosting live video broadcasts on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, etc.
- Using your product or service and doing how-to videos
- Leading educational webinars
- Writing and publishing a blog post
- Sending out a dedicated email broadcast to subscribers, or a mention in an email newsletter
- Showcasing a case study of yours in a keynote speech if the ambassador is a speaker, for example
- Hosting a live event
There’s no limit to what creative arrangements you might come up with for your brand ambassadors. For instance, I recently hosted a 30-day video-a-day challenge for Wave.video. I ran the challenge inside a special pop-up Facebook group where I gathered over 1,700 participants, 90 percent of which were new leads for Wave.video.
How to track your brand ambassadors’ results
There are myriad ways to structure agreements when it comes to results. It all depends on your business objectives.
Perhaps you’re simply looking for brand awareness and more visits to your website and/or foot traffic to your store.
Or, your focus may be on qualified leads that sign up on your website with their email address and phone number.
Ultimately, you do want to tie all brand ambassador results to the bottom line and quantify with actual sales so you can measure a solid ROI.
Finding brand ambassadors that match your brand promise and that have an audience of your ideal demographic are the keys to success.
Are you interested in hosting a Facebook Live event like I do?
Learn from Carol Roth
About Mari Smith
Often referred to as “the Queen of Facebook,” Mari Smith is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on Facebook marketing and social media. She is a Forbes’ Top Social Media Power Influencer, author of The New Relationship Marketing and coauthor of Facebook Marketing: An Hour A Day. Forbes recently described Mari as, “… the preeminent Facebook expert. Even Facebook asks for her help.” She is a recognized Facebook Partner; Facebook headhunted and hired Mari to lead the Boost Your Business series of live events across the US. Mari is an in-demand speaker, and travels the world to keynote and train at major events.
Her digital marketing agency provides professional speaking, training and consulting services on Facebook and Instagram marketing best practices for Fortune 500 companies, brands, SMBs and direct sales organizations. Mari is also an expert webinar and live video broadcast host, and she serves as Brand Ambassador for numerous leading global companies.
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