In a recent article by AdWeek’s “Brands Are Shaking Up Their Creator Recruiting Strategies”, brands are now focusing on building long-term relationships with creators who align with their values, rather than relying on one-off campaigns with creators that have high follower counts. Due to the overcrowding of influencers on social media platforms and past issues of transparency in influencer marketing, brands have realized it is imperative to combat these issues by changing how they recruit and work with influencers. As a result, brands are now looking to work with micro-influencers and build long-term partnerships with creators who align with their overall mission. This has given rise to ambassador marketing, a different approach to how brands work with creators on a long-term basis.
How brands can shift their approach to influencers through ambassador marketing:
What is ambassador marketing:
In contrast to traditional influencer marketing, which often involves one-off collaborations with influencers for specific campaigns, ambassador marketing focuses on building long-term relationships with creators who feel genuinely connected to the brand. This approach allows brands to create a more authentic and organic relationship with their target audience, as ambassadors are seen as trusted and relatable sources of information. This is because a brand ambassador can be anyone who is a fan that can advocate for the brand they love on social media and/or in real life. Not only does this style of marketing come across as more authentic, but it also has many other benefits such as reduced ad spending and a stronger brand community.
How brands are working with brand ambassadors
Brand Ambassadors Vs Influencers
What makes brand ambassadors so unique is that they can do various tasks to promote the brand they partner with over a long period. The different tasks an ambassador does range from traditional content creation to referral links, blog posts, quizzes, and field marketing. The way a brand ambassador promotes is dependent on the goals a brand has and the target demographics they want to reach. Here’s how three SocialLadder partners, Kendra Scott, Mad Rabbit, and DripDrop work with their ambassadors.
Kendra Scott Bama Rush
Kendra Scott works primarily with college brand ambassadors in their “Gems” program. The Gems program was built with a focus on inclusivity and authenticity and has a diverse range of ambassadors from different backgrounds with different styles. In this program, brand ambassadors participate in a wide variety of marketing initiatives such as creating Day in the Life TikToks and promoting new product launches on their Instagram feed.
One of the biggest marketing initiatives, Kendra Scott ambassadors participated in the viral TikTok campaign #BamaRushTok2022. This campaign was launched in partnership with the brand’s college ambassadors and was completely organic with no paid spending behind any of the rush-themed TikToks.
Brand ambassadors created the ultimate content factory on TikTok by creating content that allowed them to act as stylists and referral drivers to their friends and niche communities. Not only did this campaign help the brand better understand how to market to college students, but it also increased DTC sales by 18% YoY between August 8-14. Foot traffic rose at least 20% YoY in the week before, during, and after recruitment week.
Mad Rabbit Case Study
Mad Rabbit, a tattoo skincare brand with a core audience of 25-44-year-olds, built their ambassador program in 2021 to build community with their fans and drive organic referrals. As they continued to grow nationwide, they worked with their ambassadors to meet their aggressive growth goals. As they launched in 1200 GNC locations across the USA, ambassadors were vital in creating UGC and boosting social media engagement across all platforms to support the retail launch. Now that they have scaled to 4500 ambassadors in their community they have been able to increase their monthly revenue by 3x.
DripDrop, a trusted resource for rehydration, has several key audiences such as doctors, firefighters, elite athletes, and the US military. With so many highly dedicated fans amongst a wide range of audience segmentations, DripDrop wanted to take the opportunity to build a brand ambassador community to bridge the gap between their different audiences and drive UGC.
Through their ambassador program, they can get direct feedback from their fan and harness authentic UGC that shows how their product fits a variety of different lifestyles.
How to Identify and Reach Out to the Right Creators
Why Ambassador Recruitment is Important
A key pillar to creating a successful brand ambassador strategy is understanding how to recruit brand ambassadors for your brand. The wrong influencer can harm your brand’s reputation, whereas the right one can help your brand to connect with your target audience and drive sales. Therefore, it is crucial to find influencers who align with your brand values and can create authentic and engaging content.
SocialLadder Recruitment Techniques
A key pillar of a successful ambassador program is finding individuals who truly embody your brand’s values and are passionate about your products. To that end, there are several strategies you can employ to identify and recruit the right ambassadors.
One effective approach is to leverage social listening tools to identify potential ambassadors on TikTok and Instagram. These platforms are particularly well-suited for influencer marketing, as they provide a wealth of user-generated content and insights into the preferences and behaviors of your target audience. Look for creators who align with your brand’s values and aesthetics, and who have a track record of engaging their followers. Once you’ve identified potential ambassadors, reach out to them with personalized messages and offers that appeal to their interests and goals.
Another key factor in recruiting the right ambassadors is developing a clear value proposition for your program. By developing a compelling value proposition, you can attract top-quality ambassadors who are motivated to represent your brand. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What sets your program apart from other brands’ programs?
- What benefits and opportunities will ambassadors receive by joining your program?
Effective Recruitment Tools
Since ambassador recruitment is typically the biggest challenge for brands that are just starting their ambassador program, many brands seek out recruitment tools to help them. SocialLadder has created two different tools to help with this- a creator database and a discovery module
SocialLadder’s Creator Database
The Creator Database is a comprehensive database of over 30M+ creators, brand ambassadors, and influencers internationally. This tool allows brands to search for creators based on specific criteria such as location, interests, follower count, engagement rate, and more to cut down on recruitment time. A tool like this is also helpful for brands looking to scale to different or specific markets.
SocialLadder’s Discovery Module
On the other hand, the Discovery Module is an AI-powered tool that helps brands discover new creators who may not be in the Creator Database yet. The Discovery Module hooks into a brand’s e-commerce platform to identify customers who naturally align with the brand. A tool like this is so powerful because it helps brands identify brand ambassadors that can tap into all of a brand’s key demographics and niches.
How to Effectively Engage with Ambassadors
Brand ambassadors are so invaluable because they’re able to vouch for your brand in an authentic way that strengthens trust. Keeping them engaged and motivated can help drive brand awareness, generate authentic content, and increase sales. There are several strategies you can use to effectively engage with your ambassadors, as outlined in the following articles.
One key approach is to provide regular communication and feedback to your ambassadors. Keep them up-to-date on new products, promotions, and events, and provide them with personalized support and guidance. Encourage them to share their feedback and insights with you, and use this feedback to refine and improve your program. By providing regular communication and feedback, you can build a sense of trust and loyalty with your ambassadors and ensure they feel valued and appreciated.
Another effective strategy is to create a sense of community and foster collaboration among your ambassadors. Encourage them to share their experiences, insights, and ideas, and facilitate opportunities for them to connect and network. By creating a supportive and collaborative environment, you can build a strong sense of camaraderie among your ambassadors and keep them motivated and engaged over the long term.
In conclusion one of the best ways a brand can transition into building long-term relationships with creators who naturally align with their brand is to adopt an ambassador marketing approach. By creating a brand ambassador program with creators who naturally love a brand and align with a brand’s values, brands can create a community of advocates who can promote their products in a way that feels authentic and genuine. This approach allows brands to connect with their target audience in a more meaningful way, foster a sense of community, and effectively drive sales and brand awareness.