Brand ambassador programs are great, you already know this. They are great for many things like increasing awareness and sales while gaining the trust of the consumer and building a community.

But just as with any marketing strategy, it must follow the best practices in order to take advantage of its strengths for the best results.

With all the planning, recruiting, onboarding, managing, and tracking, a brand could lose sight of some things that differentiate a good program from an amazing program.

In this post, we will talk about those things that you should be doing if you want to launch a successful brand ambassador program.

We also include some successful brand ambassador program examples at the end.

1. Be authentic

Let’s start with arguably the most important aspect of a successful brand ambassador program, authenticity.

In this context, with authenticity, we mean that a message is believable and honest.

Brands with successful programs focus on building authentic relationships with their community because they know customers care about the brands they support. They choose to support the brands that represent them the best and the ones they have a deeper connection with.

Brand ambassador programs help build this connection.

Nowadays, you won’t be able to build authentic connections with people by being disingenuous. People appreciate honesty with your intentions, so try to make it a priority.

To achieve authenticity, make sure you recruit people who really love your brand and who want to spread your message.

Otherwise, the content your ambassadors create won’t feel authentic and it will drive people away.

2. Communicate constantly

Just as with your customers, you should nurture the relationship with your ambassador community.

The best content is created by people who actually feel a connection with your brand, those are your best ambassadors most of the time. So check in with them regularly, be available in case they have any questions, and try to let them know that they are important to the organization.

In addition, communication between ambassadors is very important as well. Remember that it’s an ambassador community. It should feel like it. People like to be part of an exclusive group and talk about it. For some, being part of a social circle like this one is the main reason for joining.

With this in mind, give them a place they can communicate with each other.

3. Consider all types of brand ambassador programs

Different brand ambassador programs can be used for different goals. There are different ways you can manage them and you can create more than one program at a time.

These are the types of brand ambassador programs that you should consider and a high-level description:

  • Gamified ambassador program: A brand ambassador program that incorporates competition aspects like leaderboards to make it feel like a game. This is the type of program that has the highest participation rates among ambassadors.
  • Requirement-driven brand ambassador program: Here, brand ambassadors are required to do a certain amount of tasks per month, similar to a job. Expectations are set beforehand and generally involve a contract.
  • Affiliate brand ambassador program: Ambassadors are provided with links to products on a website and they can promote them in their own content whenever they want. When people make a purchase using their link, they get a commission.
  • Informal brand ambassador program: Referral program where anyone can join. Informal ambassadors get a unique code they can share with their network and get a reward every time someone else uses it to make a purchase.
  • Campus ambassador program: Basically, your brand ambassador program consists only of students in target colleges.
  • Employee ambassador program: In this type of program, your employees are the brand ambassadors and they receive compensation the same way customer-ambassadors.

As you can see, it’s possible to do more than one at the same time, and brands commonly do this. You can manage a team of campus reps, another group of employee ambassadors, and at the same time offer rewards for referrals to any user.

It’s just a matter of staying organized.

4. Track your brand ambassador program performance and ROI

This tip might seem like an obvious one for some, but it’s not uncommon for people to not be tracking the ROI of influencer marketing campaigns correctly.

Determining the correct metrics to track and how to do it creates confusion for many marketers. But if you don’t track the right metrics, you won’t know how successful your campaign is or what to do next.

These are some metrics you should be tracking:

  • Engagement
  • Impressions
  • Referrals
  • Sales
  • Shares
  • Traffic to website
  • Return on Investment (ROI)
  • Cost of Acquisition (CAC)
  • Email subscriptions

It all depends on your goals though.

Check out our guide on measuring influencer marketing ROI to learn exactly what you need to do according to your strategy.

5. Incentivize offline activities too

For many brands, ambassadors only live online. While online content is great, only doing that limits the potential of the program.

You should think of creative in-person activities that your ambassadors can do to build your brand community. These activities can be all sorts of events. For example, if you sell cooking products, then host cooking classes.

That example is pretty obvious, but you get the idea.

6. Use smart ambassador management tools

If you already have an ambassador program, you probably know by now that a lot of the work is manual. Finding candidates, reviewing applications, recruiting, onboarding, and managing brand ambassadors can take a lot of time and resources, so it can be difficult to manage and scale your program efficiently.

If you’re planning on launching a brand ambassador program, you should have this in mind.

However, there are tools and software that will help you.

7. Ask for feedback

Ambassadors know their communities and audience the best. That’s why you need to ask for feedback on ways to improve your strategy.

They might know what type of content works best for a certain demographic, what trends are popular at the moment, among other things.

Also, since your brand ambassadors are also customers, they can tell you what things they love about your brand, and what things can improve. They are an exclusive community for your brand, so they will appreciate the transparency as well.

8. Encourage creativity

Ambassadors are content creators for the most part. And the best content is always fueled by creativity.

While content and style guidelines are important to be on-brand and reach your marketing goals, leave some creative freedom so the content is also authentic to the ambassador. As we mentioned before, authenticity is important to consumers.

After all, you definitely don’t want thousands of user-generated content pieces that look and feel exactly the same. It would actually affect your trustworthiness.

9. Know what to expect from your brand ambassador program

Many marketers don’t know what to expect from brand ambassadors. And not setting your expectations right can have a negative impact on your program.

For starters, depending on your ambassadors, it will depend if they are willing to perform offline activities as well as online. Usually, student ambassadors are the most willing. The best way to not have low participation rates on in-person activities and a happy community is to use a gamified management method.

You also need to understand the ambassador’s goals when joining your program. Are they looking to build their resume? Earn money? Join an interesting group of people? Or do they only want to spread the word about the brand they love while getting cool stuff?

By understanding their goals and expectations, you can improve your program and have a community of deeply connected and motivated brand ambassadors.

In the end, however, there will always be a churn rate. Meaning, people will leave your program. That is normal and something you should have in mind. Ultimately, you want to increase your community’s commitment and lower the churn rate as much as possible.

So build a healthy community and be ready to recruit new ambassadors when the time is right.

This post was originally published here.

Read more: