Alicia Lawrence

Brand Ambassadors: How to Find and Engage Them

By: Alicia Lawrence | February 24, 2014 | 

How to Find and Work with Brand AmbassadorsBy Alicia Lawrence

Most companies already invest in marketing, public relations, and SEO.

But many times they leave their most valuable resource untapped -—loyal consumers.

The rise of social media in our digitally connected world has made everyone influential to someone.

It could be as simple as a product pinned to Pinterest or a more invested form of word-of-mouth (WOM), such as a product review on their blog.

Either way, influencers have the power to be your biggest asset – or your greatest downfall.

Brand Ambassadors: The Benefits

Harnessing the power of WOM and user-generated content can bring numerous benefits for a company:

  • Increased visibility and awareness;
  • Higher rankings in search results;
  • Trustworthiness of the brand; and
  • Larger consumer base and increased sales.

While employees are a little easier to monitor, the potency of loyal consumers’ WOM comes from their free will, which means you have little control over what they write about you.

This shouldn’t scare you away from using brand ambassadors, but it should dictate how to work with them.

Brand Ambassadors: How to Find Them

Before digging into best practices, let’s look at where to find brand ambassadors that would be best for your company. Keep in mind they don’t have to already be a loyal consumer.

Have you found a perfect potential influencer? Then send them a few products for review or consideration.

This is a great way to turn influencers into loyal consumers.

There are four features to look for in a good brand ambassador:

Are They Relevant?

First and foremost, narrow down your search by only looking for people whose reach touches your target audience.

For example, when finding ambassadors for our client Hydroworx, I looked in three areas that were most likely to reach those who would use their services: The elderly, physical therapists, and athletes in training.

Are They Well-Connected?

While everyone is an influencer, you want to go after those who have lots of followers, and loyal readers.

Are They Credible?

Further narrow your list by looking for influencers who are credible and respected. You want to find influencers that embody similar values as your company.

Are They Affordable?

The best brand ambassadors talk about your product for free just because they love it. However, many times you’ll find they need a little incentive to keep them enthusiastic.

This could be giving them a free car to drive for the weekend, or surprising them with a box of their favorite products.

You don’t always have to search for brand ambassadors. People like to talk about awesome brands. Your company can fuel their organic buzz by creating easy opportunities for them to share and promote your brand.

And don’t forget one of the main areas that has the most impact on creating loyal consumers — excellent customer service.

How to Fuel Contagious Passion

First, identify and build relationships with your brand ambassadors. Then focus on working with them to maximize their influence as it relates to your brand. Companies should empower — not coerce — their brand ambassadors to talk about their products.

The power of influencers rests with free will, which gives them an authentic, contagious passion for your products.

The best way to encourage ambassadors to create buzz for your company is through incentives.

Giving them something to talk about. And make it a point to keep them in the loop, and engaged with your brand.

For long-term brand ambassadors, have well defined expectations of the relationship. It should be clear what they will receive for their help, and what you expect of them in return. And if they’ve left your brand ambassador program? Always maintain a positive relationship with them.

Brand ambassadors are powerful tools for companies. They give what no advertising campaign can produce, and that’s authenticity.

Consumers are constantly being bombarded by ads. A well placed product review, or an influential social media shout, can often be the deciding factor for potential customers.

Image courtesy of happykatie on Flickr.

About Alicia Lawrence

Alicia Lawrence works for WebpageFX - the best SEO company (in her humble opinion). WebpageFX is a full-service Internet marketing company offering innovative web marketing solutions to mid to large size companies across the globe. Alicia also blogs at MarCom Land in her free time.

  • Alicia_Lw

    housepartyinc Thanks for tweeting!

  • Alicia_Lw

    AmandaICleary Thanks for sharing, Amanda!

  • Alicia_Lw

    NancyCawleyJean Thanks for tweeting, Nancy! Glad you enjoyed my post on SpinSucks ginidietrich

  • Alicia_Lw

    JeffSheehan Thanks for sharing my article!

  • AmandaICleary

    Alicia_Lw You’re welcome. The article was helpful and well-timed. I’m one of Gini’s brand ambassadors for the new book. 🙂

  • What recommendations would you give to companies as far as making sure brand ambassadors don’t ‘run amok’. I’ve know orgs that the customers are so passionate they sometimes overstep their bounds and create a bit more chaos than hoped for. Do you think companies should set guidelines? Rules of engagement?

  • I read this a lot earlier today and think you make some great points. I suppose I am reading this through the lens of someone who applies to be an ambassador (formally and informally – if I love something I give it plenty of social media love) and thinks ambassadors have an important role. It’s nice to get the “free stuff” and goodies sometimes but honestly the thing that makes me most loyal is feeling a part of a community of like-minded loyal fans. I wonder if one of the things about credibility — well I don’t wonder — I know for me as a consumer this is true — about the individual’s history/social media “tone” — some people I know are true complainers…whine about small slights without a compensating “positive” deposit into the brand loyalty bank.  Long way of saying — good points all!

  • LauraPetrolino I’ll be interested in hearing what @Alicia_Lw has to say about that. I have to think guidelines would be good …. guidelines AND ongoing support …. seems like there would be a lot of tie ins with the principles of volunteer management — since there’s no paycheck you don’t exactly have a disincentive (not getting paid) to use in cases where the individual has done something detrimental … but you still need them and the assets they bring to the process.

  • NancyCawleyJean

    Alicia_Lw It was fab! Great to connect with you too.

  • Alicia_Lw

    biggreenpen  Thanks for the kind words! You have a good point about being a part of like-minded loyal community. Especially if you have a large number of ambassadors, having a Facebook group or other way to connect them all is important to foster positive WOM and having them feel part of something bigger.

  • Alicia_Lw

    LauraPetrolino  If the ambassador is receiving some kind of incentive (free products etc) you can tag along guidelines or friendly best practices. Don’t put too many restraints on them or else they might lose their passion for the product. biggreenpen is correct in saying ongoing support or guidance is a great way to make sure things don’t get out of hand. If they begin acting in a way that could hurt the company’s reputation, a polite email reminding them of the guidelines should be your first step.

  • Alicia_Lw

    AmandaICleary Haha yes, it was great timing with Gini’s brand ambassador announcement (coincidentally). I’m one as well 🙂

  • MuseCOM

    Alicia_Lw SpinSucks Thank you for your Great Stuff! 🙂

  • bdorman264

    Ha howiegoldfarb: I found BJ Upton’s BA! RT Brand Ambassadors: How to Find and Engage Them via ginidietrich”

  • The four features to lookout for in a brand ambassador should serve as guidance. Credibility, connection, relevancy and affordability should be exploited!
    This entire content is remarkable and it is more so because it highlighted the essence of utilizing a brand ambassador! 
    This comment was left in – the content syndication and content aggregation website where this post was bookmarked.
    Sunday – contributor

  • Alicia_Lw

    sueyoungmedia Thanks for the shout out, Susan! How you been? I’ve been meaning to email you a post idea (I gotta get done with taxes first)

  • Alicia_Lw

    MDCudahy Thanks for tweeting my article!

  • Alicia_Lw

    UAMAir_009 Thanks for sharing!

  • Pingback: The Magic of User-Generated Content by @lkpetrolino Spin Sucks()

  • Pingback: How to Get Creative with Influencer Marketing by @theLaurenJung Spin Sucks()