An ambassador programme entails turning your customers and followers into powerful word-of-mouth brand advocates. This may seem easy enough to manage on your first try, but it’s actually a little more complicated than that. At Brandbassador, we find that companies that already have a minimum annual sales revenue of $500k or have a community of over 5k engaged online followers fare the best when it comes to launching an ambassador programme.
We know these two qualifying factors aren’t necessarily in your company’s backpocket just yet, so we thought of a few ways that you could gear up your marketing strategies to get you to a place where an ambassador programme is an attainable and feasible option for your brand. Sound good? Let’s take a look together!
1. Increase the Size of Your Community
There’s no denying how valuable numbers are online and, in ambassador marketing’s case, numbers could really make or break the success of your campaign. Our take on this is simple: increase your following by using giveaways, competitions, and discount codes.
If there’s one way to increase brand awareness on social media, it’s to give your existing followers a reason to tell their friends and family about you. One of the easiest ways to do this is to intermittently launch giveaways, comps, and sitewide discounts that will incentivise your followers to tag their friends and family in the comment section of your posts. This is the important part - remember to ask that they tag a friend (or three!) and follow your account for extra competition entries.
It’s like word-of-mouth - but better - and it creates a certain kind of engagement that brings new faces to your brand. Plus, once you’ve established yourself as a company that likes to reward its followers with discounts and giveaways, you’ll undoubtedly continue to draw new crowds and new sales.
Of course there are also paid ads that will help to increase your followers, but it can be hard to tell what the quality of those followers will actually be. We think that by using giveaways, competitions, and discount codes, you’ll build a more loyal following of people who actually love your product and will seamlessly become great brand advocates when you do launch your ambassador marketing programme.
Ultimately, you’ll want to work towards having at least 5k worth of authentic followers on Instagram or 10k newsletter subscribers to be ready for an ambassador marketing tool that helps you to turn your customers into brand ambassadors.
2. Make Your Community Feel Like They’re VIPs
Everybody likes to feel like they’re on a VIP list somewhere, and your followers are no different. That’s why we’d recommend you launch a type of rewards or loyalty programme that your followers can subscribe to for free.
Give it a name, so that by joining they will feel like they’re gaining access to some exclusive club. By signing up, they’ll have access to whatever exciting news or special discounts you’d like to share.
This will ultimately heighten your brand’s appeal, because those that aren’t part of your newly-established VIP section will want to get in on the action (ergo: you gain more followers).
In another way, you’ll also be creating a database of existing customers that you could reach out to when you eventually are ready to launch an ambassador campaign. Your customers and followers that sign up to your rewards or loyalty programme will be super fans - the perfect candidates for an ambassadorship!
3. Amplify Your Direct Engagement With Your Community
Maintaining an active online presence is an integral part of getting your follower count up. Social media consumers like to follow brands that interact with their fans, even if it’s just to like a comment they left on a post or spend 30 minutes a day engaging on their Instagram Stories.
Our tip is that you use the ease of communication on social media to ask what your customers like about your products or services. In this way, you’ll be able to modify your existing products or the launch of new products according to the feedback you receive, which will make your customers feel heard.
It could be something small like wanting a particular product of yours in a different colour or wanting your services available on particular days. Regardless of what it is, by creating the opportunities for your followers to engage with you, you’ll learn how to improve your offering.
Improving your products or services will have a snowball effect where your brand will become more desirable, thereby activating an increase in sales. It’s important to prepare yourself for something like this by enlisting a strong customer service team and sales force that manage orders and the delivery of your products or services as efficiently as possible.
You’ll want to ensure that your order, operations, and delivery reputation is of an impeccable standard, so that existing customers continue to support you and tell their friends about the excellent experience they had.
Marketing Response Manager at Brandbassador, Luis Steedman, suggests creating a Facebook group where your loyal fans and followers can start forming part of your community. According to Luis, "Brands like these with Facebook groups tend to have a strong community ethos and even have it easier when it comes to the activation of an ambassador programme."
High engagement and great service walk hand in hand, so if your brand is able to master these two qualities, you’ll see an increase in your sales and follower count in no time!
4. Recruit a Community Manager
At Brandbassador, we’ve learnt that having a dedicated community manager on your team really helps to keep the communication between you and your followers as consistent and seamless as possible. This person should ideally be someone who’s really passionate about your company and knows your brand inside out.
A community manager will keep their eye on trends or talks around your industry that will help you switch up your marketing in different ways at the right time. By engaging with your customers and followers, they’ll know what you could do to retain your target audience in tandem with bolstering it.
They’ll also be able to curate your social channels so that your brand looks really cool and cohesive online. This is an important factor as a social feed that isn’t well-styled can make your brand look unprofessional and untrustworthy. And if people don’t trust your brand, they certainly won’t want to buy your products, let alone sign up to be your brand ambassadors.
When your revenue and follower count indicate that you’re finally ready to launch an ambassador campaign, your community manager will be the perfect person to take on the task of managing the recruitment and activation of your newly-established brand ambassadors. And they won’t have to do it alone! There are software tools available to make the process seamless.
Brandbassador is an ambassador software platform that specialises in helping brands turn their greatest customers, followers, and fans into brilliant word-of-mouth brand advocates.
Our state-of-the-art app enables brands to build their brand ambassador community with tools that centralises the recruitment and management process of running an ambassador programme.
One of our brands emphasised this in their G2 review, "While Brandbassador's platform streamlines and simplifies the process of managing an ambassador program, it still requires dedication and time to prepare and manage (especially in the beginning). Therefore, if you're going into building an ambassador program, dedicate a team member to handle the platform and regularly check-in!"
UGC images, first: @marinasanmartin for Byrokko, second: @adelina.nastasa for Facetheory, cover: @lina_blondii for Fabletics
5. Use the Right eCommerce Software
Depending on what ambassador marketing software you subscribe to, you may need to have a specific eCommerce platform to be able to easily integrate with their tools. We’re not sure what it’s like for other ambassador tools, but at Brandbassador, we have plug and play integrations available for all major eCommerce providers, including: Big Commerce, Shopify, Magento 1 and 2, WooCommerce, Centra, Salesforce and Wix.
Our skilled development team also creates custom integrations for brands whose eCommerce platforms are not included in the list above. Understandably in cases where custom integration is required, launching an ambassador marketing campaign may take a little longer.
There are three major ways that plug and play integrations with eCommerce sites help brands to save time and easily track the revenue generated by their brand ambassadors: tracking links, discount codes, and gift-card rewards.