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Influencer vs Ambassador Marketing: What's the Difference?

Marike Watson
By Marike Watson | 5 minute read

eCommerce brands have taken the world of business by storm, proving that brick-and-mortar shops are no longer the only way to get traffic through the door. In fact, we’d argue that online stores (especially during the pandemic) have become a healthier and safer alternative to everyday shopping. 

Go deeper with our free, in-depth guide: Under The Influence - Influencer vs Ambassador Marketing

We know brands have actively looked for influencer search tools to boost their influencer programs at this time. But what if we told you that there’s a healthier, safer alternative to the use of influencers? It’s called ambassador marketing.

Influencers VS Ambassadors

What is Influencer Marketing? And How Does it Compare to Brand Ambassadors?

Influencer marketing is a transactional-based relationship between a brand and an online personality with many followers where money is given in exchange for promotional content. The relationship is normally short-term with only a handful of social posts, and can become quite costly depending on the popularity of the influencer and their follower count.

Ambassador marketing, on the other hand, entails forming long-term relationships between a brand and an online personality that is much less transactional-based. Instead, it’s more personal and qualitative based.

Brands often approach influencers who’ve never even heard of their company before. But with ambassador marketing, the individual who’s interested in becoming your brand ambassador knows who you are and already supports your company's products or services and values. They’ll therefore approach you to apply to represent your brand on social media. This person then becomes a brand ambassador that presents your brand to their following from a place of genuine interest and authenticity. 

What are its Key Attributes? 

Hiring influencers is all about finding people with large followings, so you reach a larger number of consumers. But this doesn’t always convert leads into sales as consumers have started to recognise the facade of these kinds of paid promotions and begun responding less and less towards them in terms of sale conversions.      

Brand ambassadors promote products and brands that they’re already huge fans of, so their followers don’t see that same facade as a paid promotion with an influencer. Brand ambassadors also don’t necessarily have tens of thousands of followers, but what they do have is a very personal relationship with their followers. Their followers look to them as a friend, which means that when they promote something it feels like it’s a product recommendation coming from a friend that they trust. 

This element of trust is precisely what makes ambassador marketing more effective than influencer marketing efforts. Even major apparel brands like Gymshark, Daniel Wellington, and Onepiece have recognised the difference in brand awareness and revenue scalability between influencer and ambassador marketing

Each of these brands started out using social media influencer marketing to create brand momentum but eventually moved over to ambassador marketing as they found it elevated their brand awareness and marketing ROI at a much greater scale. 

By using brand ambassadors instead of influencers, these brands were able to build a community of brand representatives that promoted their products through online content that feels like an ordinary word-of-mouth referral from a friend — not an invasive sponsored post.   

We Aren't an Influencer Marketing Search Tool. We're Better. 

We believe that WoM is the most powerful form of influence. Classic influencer marketing has become so saturated and commercialised that consumers are well aware that influencers are now professionals and that their collaborations are nothing more than paid sponsorships for quick financial gain. In a way, influencers have become the modern day “billboard” and are considered just as invasive when it comes to curated social media feeds. 

Contrary to this, brand ambassadors share a genuine passion for your brand and feel proud to represent you. They want to see your brand succeed and be a part of your community and the journey to your success. This is why their content promoting your brand won’t feel like a modern day billboard. Instead, it will appear as someone sharing their genuine admiration for your company and your products or services, as well as your brand mission.  

The secret is that brands already have amazing ambassadors sitting right under their nose in their consumer and social media channels. Your potential brand ambassadors are already your fans, so all you need to do is activate them.

We help brands convert that untapped resource by activating their true brand advocates and mobilising them via our app.

Our ambassador marketing management tool will enable you to completely digitise your word-of-mouth marketing. It’s especially effective for medium to large eCommerce brands that have already accumulated a host of loyal customers, since we develop marketing strategies that utilise this initial awareness to build even greater momentum.



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