2020 has proven that ambassador marketing is the key to a successful digital marketing strategy. Ambassador marketing (or Influencer Marketing, if you still live in the 2010s) is a positive twist on traditional social media marketing. It involves using your loyal customers and top fans and turning them into ambassadors for your brand.
The pandemic has forced many brick-and-mortar businesses into the online space quicker than anticipated, whilst this may have been uncomfortable initially, business owners are starting to see limitless possibilities including expanding their reach on social media through the use of ambassador marketing.
Influencers are being seen through, as they are often thought to be inauthentic and as their lack of authenticity has become exposed, so their influence no longer holds value for eCommerce brands.
Businesses who have been using influencer marketing are finding they are spending vast amounts of time and money and seeing little to nothing in return in comparison to those using ambassador marketing.
1. Brands Will Need to Get Creative on TikTok in 2021
The use of video marketing is set to continue growing in 2021 and will be a crucial slice of all digital marketing strategies. The use of video isn’t anything new, but as we’ve seen through the success of Instagram’s Reel function and TikTok’s popularity in 2020, video content is dominating on all platforms.
Adopting TikTok into a marketing strategy should be top of the agenda, especially for companies whose audience is made up of gen Z. We asked Cindy Tran, Creator Marketing Lead at Inkbox what she thought were the benefits and challenges of TikTok collaborations. Here’s what she had to say,
“TikTok collaborations are really fun to get into as you get to see the more creative side of ambassadors. Although we have concept guidelines and general requirements for the content, each ambassador kind of interprets and shoots their content in their own specific style. You truly get to see content creators at their core and how each are uniquely themselves!
A challenge would be properly communicating the overall concept or theme of the content you’re expecting or looking for - it’s good to link out to existing TikToks using your product that are very similar to the concept you’re pitching to provide inspiration and a clearer picture."
With the help of Brandbassador they have been able to leverage their existing community and discover and interact with a larger range of ambassadors than they would have been able to manually. This has enabled them to further grow their community whilst sourcing a varied range of creative content for repurposing on their TikTok channels.
Hubspot Marketing recently reported that more than 50% of consumers want to see video content from brands, which is more than any other type of content. Video is a powerful tool which we respond to differently than other forms of media, when video is used both engagement and sales increase. 83% of businesses claim that video provides a good return on investment.
2. Social Commerce Will Continue to Grow
The Covid-19 pandemic changed the way we shop, with the options of browsing the high street shops for some weekend entertainment being eliminated, stay at home users have utilised the ability to shop online via social commerce. We are seeing major highstreet retailers going into administration which can be attributed partially to the pandemic but has certainly been accelerated by the rise of Shopify.
Social commerce might be the primary alternative to Amazon’s utility driven shopping behaviour ie. You need something, you search it on Amazon and you buy it. Whereas social commerce is driven by users being inspired to shop while scrolling through their social feeds. It capitalises on impulse buying and impulsive shopping needs to be easy!
Facebook has been actively making improvements to enhance user experience, by showcasing feature collections of products, giving recommendations and offering a directory of merchants. It's a strong indication of how powerful social commerce is going to become.
Facebook Shop is bridging the communication gap between consumers and sellers by offering the ability of live chat through messenger and Whatsapp, potentially making Facebook an interactive shopping destination. The Drum predicts that the ability to connect loyalty programs to Facebook could be one of the next roll outs.
3. The Sharing Economy Will Enter eCommerce
Co-founder of Brandbassador, Thomas Adams believes that “we will see the "sharing economy" enter the e-com retail space in a big way in 2021. It's a more fair way of sharing the profits from a sale with the ones who are actually driving it organically." He adds that this will be especially prevalent through ambassador marketing.
The growth in social commerce has encouraged more offline shops to go online. By harnessing the power of social commerce and the reach ambassador marketing enables, smaller to medium sized brands will be able to grow sales, share profits and scale.
4. Ambassador Marketing Will Be Favoured Over Influencer Marketing
Ambassador marketing involves partnering with ambassadors who genuinely like and value products. This will have a significant impact on how ambassadors are perceived by an online audience. Unlike influencers, ambassadors are usually already customers and want to work with companies they are passionate about. They only promote products which fit their niche and are relevant in relation to their content.
According to The Drum, 96% of people in the UK do not trust what influencers say. A brand ambassador's aim is to serve the business and organisations they partner with, they only want to share what they know their audience will love.
This also builds trust between the ambassador and their followers and forming trust with followers on social media is going to be harder than ever in 2021 due to the rising fears around fake news. By ensuring key brand messages are backed up by authentic voices that customers value, consumer trust can be re-built.
5. Brands Will Favour Smaller Numbers of Followers
Nano Influencers are social media users with a small following, despite not having a wide reach on social media they do have the trust of others which is far more valuable to brands. They have an engaged audience, which they organically nurture to create a personable community.
Nano influencers have a smaller following which enables them to respond to messages and comments, thus gaining further trust. Nano Influencers have the power to sell products. Remember that old marketing method - word of mouth? Well ... the power of Nano Ambassador Marketing is 2021’s version!
6. Community Will Continue To Be Key
Through experiencing the effects of the pandemic the concept of community has grown, from something that was location-based to simply a group with shared interests globally. The world has been forced to employ technology to enable life to take place virtually, this has opened doors and shunned the need for a location-specific life.
This has been demonstrated through the volume of businesses who are going to remain using the remote working model. 2020 forced us to see the power of a virtual community, businesses have pivoted and onboarded customers from around the globe in ways they never would have imagined a year ago! Ambassadors have already nurtured a trusting audience who they can share products with, which enables your business to scale and reach customers across the world with ease.
The common assumption by many businesses is that the role of social media is to solely advertise. This may have been the case several years ago, but with 71% of people more likely to purchase based on referrals, utilising ambassador marketing is going to be key to getting sales through social media.
7. Automation in Ambassador Marketing Will Become Crucial
eCommerce brands who want to take their ambassador marketing strategy seriously will crumble under the pressure of trying to do it all manually and will need to look for automated solutions that allow them to save time and achieve the targeted results they’ve set out in their social media strategy.
Brandbassador can help clarify objectives and identify an effective strategy depending on the size of your organisation to ensure your brand’s desired outcome is achieved.
If you want to stand out from the crowd and beat the “noise” in the online world, setting up a successful ambassador marketing program is going to be crucial. If you are looking to learn more about improving engagement, increasing sales and turning your existing customers and raving fans into brand ambassadors then with us today!