How to Find and Keep Brand Ambassadors for Your Business
Many say there’s no better form of marketing than word of mouth, and while most business owners spend a lot of time worrying about the words, it’s also critical to consider who the mouth is. While negative word of mouth can easily hurt the reputation of your company, positive word of mouth can present opportunities that are critical to capitalize upon. A brand ambassador can help you realize those opportunities.
In simple terms, brand ambassadors are promoters of your company, product, or services – the kind of people whose words carry a lot of weight and have ample reach. While historically the term brand ambassador has referred to paid spokespeople, recently it has also come to encompass non-professional advocates who are so enamored with your company that they’re willing to spread the word on your behalf without compensation.
What Does a Brand Ambassador Do?
The role of a brand ambassador isn’t set in stone and varies considerably by company and or market. Since there’s no formal job description or (typically) compensation involved, you probably won’t be directing a brand ambassador, but rather, gently encouraging them. Ambassadors are generally managed by the marketing department, and can be sourced by monitoring direct customer feedback or through social media or community forums.
In a typical organization, brand ambassadors may post about your company on social media (either on their own accounts, on your corporate accounts, or both), serve as an informal liaison with customers about what’s working and what isn’t in your product line, and generally be a public, if unofficial, face of your company.. Ambassadors are often tasked with bringing in new customers, particularly when payment is involved.
Work with your ambassador completely informally or through a formal contract – specifying how often they’ll write online about your business, for example, and what compensation they’ll receive in exchange. If you do formalize an agreement, have a lawyer review it first, even if actual money is not changing hands.
Where to Find Brand Ambassadors
Brand ambassadors can be recruited from any number of places, including:
- Your employees – This is often a first stop for new companies looking for brand ambassadors, as employees already have a vested interest in the company’s success and can be easily compensated through bonuses and other perks.
- Your customers – The ideal brand ambassador often comes from your customer base, someone who is so passionate about your business that they’re willing to use their personal free time to promote it to others. This could be a regular at your café, a person who frequently answers community posts, or a person drawn from an analysis of who buys the most frequently from your online store. Groom these ambassadors carefully and reward them well.
- Social media followers – Some ambassadors may be developed not necessarily from their business interactions with you, but rather from conversations you have with them on Twitter, Facebook, or other social media networks. Encourage these fans particularly to leverage their social media presence.
Discover individuals who are personally invested in or involved with your product, and utilize them to help spread the word. Positive mentions of your product that come from a voice other than the brand itself can often carry much more weight.