Did you know that social media users are 16x more likely to read a post from a friend about a brand than a post from the brand itself? (Source: Sprout Social)
Or, that 72% of the general public trusts social media content shared by friends and family, over content shared by influencers, CEOs, and celebrities? (Source: Hootsuite)
These statistics show that consumers are most likely to trust your employees (aka friends and family) even more than your company page or CEO. Your employees have their own network of tight-knit relationships that you can leverage to grow your business through what is known as brand ambassadorship.
Brand ambassadorship is one of the smartest ways you can market your brand and overcome barriers between you and your target audience. Long gone are the days where businesses could simply place an ad on TV or radio and watch business pour in consistently. Consumers are less trusting of brands at face value and seek out close relationships to determine whether to invest in certain products or services.
In this article, you will learn:
- How brand ambassadorship can strengthen and grow your brand
- The differences between brand ambassadors, influencers, and advocates
- Why internal brand ambassadors are valuable for your business
What are Brand Ambassadors?
Brand ambassadors are individuals that utilize, participate in, or promote your brand through activities that support your organization’s growth. These brand-promoting activities include word-of-mouth advertising, sharing your brand via social media, writing blog posts about your brand, or advocating for your brand on Linkedin and other professional networks.
Brand ambassadors add context to your brand story—and tell it better than your company page ever could. These advocates have an authentic, organic love for your brand, and are well acquainted with your products and services.
Every business needs brand ambassadors, and the best place to start is with your internal employees. Internal employees are some of the most common and most important brand ambassadors you can use to help grow your brand.
Before we dive further into how you can use brand ambassadors to grow and strengthen your brand, let’s review what differentiates brand ambassadors from influencers.
What is the Difference Between a Brand Ambassador and an Influencer?
The term brand ambassador is often confused with “influencer.” Influencers are in a position of authority or leadership on social media and have a certain number of followers ranging from several thousand, all the way into the millions. Brand ambassadors do not typically have a follower count requirement, nor do they need a certain level of fame to promote brands.
The partnerships that influencers and brand ambassadors enter into differ in duration and terms. Influencer partnerships are more likely to involve one-time promotions, while brand ambassador partnerships are usually long-term agreements with a greater sense of loyalty.
Ambassadors are usually fans or followers of the brand before becoming brand ambassadors, while influencers are notorious for promoting products or services that they may have only heard about days prior.
An influencer may have more audience and reach, but the quality of the promotion may be poor or short-lived. Brand ambassadors, on the other hand, have smaller, more loyal audiences — which translates into new, loyal customers for your business.
2 Types of Brand Ambassadors: Employee Advocates and Brand Advocates
Another important distinction you need to know relates to the two different types of brand ambassadors. You may hear “advocate” and “ambassador” used interchangeably, and that is because advocates fall under the umbrella term of ambassador.
There are two types of brand ambassadors: employee advocates, or internal brand advocates, and external brand advocates or “fans”. External brand advocates are usually consumers that operate on a purely voluntary basis.
Why are Brand Ambassadors Important?
Brand ambassadors act as the face of your company. They are the gateway between brand awareness and customer connection. Bridging this gap is crucial, especially when certain marketing techniques generate less ROI or are no longer effective.
When you embrace and utilize brand ambassadors, you can effectively reach your target audience directly and in a way that promotes authentic brand loyalty.
- Create & share content
- Serve as a positive voice for telling your brand story
- Add a human touch to your brand
- Increase brand awareness
- Improve brand image & reputation
- Share your product/services directly to your target audience
- Sell your brand without being “sales-y”
A strong brand ambassadorship program is especially important for B2B businesses. Service-based companies that do not have physical products on a shelf, for example, can leverage brand ambassadors to help make their brands more tangible, personal, and relatable.
Short-Term & Long-Term Benefits of Brand Ambassadorship
Your workforce is your company’s most valuable asset. You can leverage this asset, even more, when you turn great employees into equally passionate brand ambassadors.
Take a look at some of the short and long term benefits available to you when you invest in an internal brand ambassador program:
– Empower your employees
– Build passion from the inside out
– Establish better branding
– Solidify company mission, vision, and values
– Strengthen connections with consumers & supporters
– Bring in leads
– Generate sales
– Save $$ on paid advertising
Get Started with Brand Ambassadorship
The best way to empower your internal brand ambassadors is to create a solid brand ambassador program. An effective brand ambassador program requires a great deal of thought and planning. To get your program off the ground, you need to create a plan with specific goals for your ambassadors and establish a high-level purpose for the program as a whole.
Next, you will want to identify and select the right ambassadors. Once you choose the right employees and they agree to be your advocates, you will need to support them with the right training and ongoing education.
If this process sounds daunting, don’t worry! Your efforts are well worth it, and best of all, we’re here to help.
Conway Marketing Group is a full-service digital marketing agency specializing in website design and development, brand management, and content creation.
Our team helps clients improve marketing efforts, establish better branding, and create ambassadorship programs that have a positive impact on business.
Drop us a line today to learn more about partnering with our team and taking your brand to the next level!
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