Guest Post by Keyvan Haghighat
In today’s marketing landscape, authenticity is key. This is no secret – and the very reason why many brands now work with influencers as authentic brand ambassadors. But how can you find your personal brand ambassadors and make sure they will be up for a long-term collaboration?
Read on for 8 things you absolutely should and definitely should not do! First things first, though – who counts as “brand ambassador”?
Brand Ambassador = Influencer?
Both brand ambassadors and influencers put your product or service in a positive light by promoting it on social media. The main difference lies in the business relationship:
- Brand ambassadors may post unpaid brand-related content, simply because they are so enthusiastic about the brand (even happy employees can be great brand ambassadors!). They may also receive benefits such as payment, discount codes etc.
- Influencers tend to actively seek business collaborations. They often have a larger community of followers, who view this person as a niche expert.
Overall, the terminology is fluid: brand ambassadors may just as well be called influencers and vice versa. Please note that throughout the rest of this article, we’ll be using both terms synonymously to avoid confusion.
No matter which term you use: This kind of publicity is great for any brand, considering that consumers strongly trust in recommendations if those are voiced by the right people. In a Goldmedia survey (2017), 29 per-cent named influencers and bloggers as very credible sources for recommendations.
Once you have set up your influencer campaign, it makes sense to keep on working together. After all, this only makes the collaboration more authentic.
Please Do: 5 Things That Should Be On Your Agenda
1. Think Big, Stay Realistic.
In your search for potential influencers, keep an eye on Nano- and Micro-influencers. They may have just a few hundred followers, but those are likely to interact with the influencer’s profile. And ultimately, engagement is much more valuable than a high follower count. So keep in mind the Like-Follower-Ratio while you choose your new brand ambassador(s)!
You want your influencer to raise brand awareness – that’s where you should Think Big. But you also want this person to be someone with a strong connection to their followers, and that’s where you have to stay realistic. Go for people where you can be sure that they have this connection. For example, why not pick a select few long-term customers as authentic brand ambassadors?
2. Get To Know Them First.
Before you reach out to someone you’d like to work with, make sure they really are the right fit. It may seem obvious, but at this point, you should know what this person does and what their values are. The best way to find out? Following and interacting! One quick scroll through someone’s Instagram profile isn’t enough.
If your potential brand ambassadors do not exactly match your brand’s core values, save everyone’s time and keep looking.
The core question is: What is the most important purpose, mission or vision that you want to convey? You need to find people who share the exact same attitude. It’s as simple as that.
3. Just A Little Respect!
Every good relationship is based on respect. So whenever you work on your influencer relations, be respectful:
- Don’t waste their time. Say everything that is important in your first message. Nobody likes sending a hundred follow-up emails, so phrase your proposal concisely and provide all necessary information straight away.
- Listen to what they have to say! That applies especially if you are contacting loyal customers.
- Keep track of your contacts and update them regularly. This list can contain anything from usernames/handles to communication status. The main purpose is: you don’t want to mix up people or send the same message twice.
4. Make It Worth It!
Both sides invest time and effort in an influencer project. Show that you are aware of that and let your potential brand ambassador know what’s in it for them. Think about what your brand may gain from the cooperation, and provide compensation accordingly.
If the budget is tight, try and find other ways to make it worth their time. Event invitations, giveaways, discount codes – there is bound to be some kind of benefit you can offer.
5. Be In It Together.
Do not forget the “co” in collaboration. Meaning: Work on that project together with your influencer. Again, this is fairly obvious and yet it does a lot to keep up the good work. After all, who doesn’t like to be heard and be able to put a word in?
Please Don’t: 3 Things To Avoid
1. A Condescending Attitude
“You should be glad we’re contacting you!” Messages like this won’t work. And even if they do at first, an attitude like this will set off the business relationship on the wrong foot. Avoid acting like your brand is more important than the rest, and also do not override decisions you may already have made together!
There should always be someone your influencer can contact. Brand ambassadors are in it for the long run, and you should be, too. So: Stay in touch, even if it’s just a short message here and there. Always finish conversations – it’s a matter of good manners! Plus: Once you simply disappear from your business partner’s radar without explanation, that is most likely going to backfire and result in bad word-of-mouth propaganda.
3. Letting Them Do The Dirty Work
Yes, your brand ambassador will probably create their own content. It makes sense; after all, they know their own audience best. However: Do not leave too much work on their hands. You should agree on a game plan together – which means that both parties fulfill the jobs they signed up for.
For you as the employer, that means (among other things): providing information about brand Voice, replying to questions, giving feedback, etc. Always remember: A cooperation is not about finding someone to do the dirty work while everyone else sits back and relaxes.
And with that, you’re ready to try it for yourself – good luck and let us know if we missed anything!
Keyvan Haghighat is the Co-Founder & COO of media by nature GmbH – a German-based social media agency from Hamburg. Media by nature is helping clients in taking their social media strategy to the next level and ensures they get a voice on the (social) web. As a social media specialist, they combine native content with a maximum analytical approach. They do not only know the needs from a user perspective but also pass their insights on to their clients.