Posted on

Three Ways to Turn Influencers into Brand Ambassadors

Influencer marketing is highly effective for generating brand awareness. However, a truly successful campaign goes further by transforming that awareness into consumer trust and purchase confidence. To achieve this, savvy marketers can encourage influencers to become brand ambassadors by strengthening their collaboration through personalised interactions and mutual respect.

Two people take pictures of each other
Two people take pictures of each other

Key Takeaways:

  • The power of brand ambassadors: Collaborating with influencers and transforming them into brand ambassadors can significantly boost brand awareness and trust among potential customers.
  • The qualities for a strong collaboration: Successful brand ambassadors should uphold brand values, demonstrate reliability and professionalism, be genuinely invested in the brand, and exhibit creativity and cultural awareness.
  • How to find brand ambassadors: Use social media, job boards, and agencies or platforms to source candidates. These tools help you assess their alignment with your brand’s values, communication skills, and audience engagement.

Marketers are well aware of the importance of brand awareness. However, creating a unique brand is about more than having a recognisable logo and a catchy slogan. To succeed, your brand must differentiate itself from its competitors.

In this digital age, users are swamped with marketing messages, ad placements, and paid content on digital media. Advertising is everywhere: on bus stops, pop-up mobile ads, text messages, in their social media feeds, and on TV.

The overabundance of both newer and more traditional advertising has rendered people immune to their messaging. As a result, marketers today need much more than a good message to win attention.

So, how can you increase brand awareness and, ultimately, your ROI? One solution is to work with influencers and grow them into brand ambassadors.

Brand ambassador meaning: How do you define a brand ambassador?

Brand advocates, brand representatives, brand associates, brand ambassadors, influencers — the terms are often interchangeable.

Essentially, all these terms refer to individuals who work with companies on a paid or unpaid basis, with the aim of increasing brand awareness and trust among potential customers.

These bloggers genuinely appreciate your brand and are happy to spontaneously and deliberately recommend it.

Brand ambassador vs influencer

While brands might work with influencers on an ad-hoc basis, brand ambassadors are more deeply connected to the brands they promote. They are true brand fans and act as customer advocates.

A few other key differences between influencers and brand ambassadors include:

  • Invested: While influencers may know your brand well, they are usually less invested in the details of your products, services, and values. On the flip side, an ideal brand ambassador will have a deep understanding of your brand.
  • Long-term: Influencers typically work with brands on a short-term or one-off basis for special events or seasonal promotions. However, brands develop long-term relationships with ambassadors and activate them repeatedly throughout the year.
  • Follower count: A brand ambassador may not have more than 1,000 followers because the job is based on their dedication and passion for your brand. That's why micro and nano-influencers can be highly effective ambassadors. Small profiles can draw attention to and build trust in your brand because they are authentic and have a profile similar to your consumers. In contrast, influencers' value is in their audience and sway, and, therefore, they usually have a minimum of 1,000 followers.

In fact, a brand ambassador may not be an influencer prior to the collaboration. Often, ambassadors are brand employees, business partners, or clients.

This is particularly common in B2B marketing, where corporate ambassadors are often employees who share content about their roles. Companies encourage these creators to develop educational and informative content that humanises the brand and builds a community.

How to transform an influencer collaboration into a brand ambassador position

A one-time collab isn’t enough to turn an influencer into a brand ambassador. After all, the goal is to develop long-term relationships.

Here's how to develop your bond with an influencer to turn them into your brand advocate.

1. Communication is key

First and foremost, it is essential to build a strong, personal relationship with the creator. Start by personalising your emails; content creators, like most people, don’t like receiving generic messages.

Instead, address your future brand ambassadors directly and include positive personal notes and comments on their work in your message. Make it clear why you want to work with them specifically or remind them of successful past projects.

In addition, regular communication with your ambassadors will help you build a durable and mutually beneficial relationship. Make them feel special with an appreciative comment on social media or a genuine “thank you” after a project.

2. Stay in touch, even outside campaigns

Frequent collaborations generate interest in your brand and enable you to convert influencers into brand ambassadors. That's why it is important to renew your collaborations with your favourite influencers during key periods of the year and inform them of what’s new at the company.

Send them products frequently so they can get to know and appreciate your company. To further grow your bond, invite them to product launches and company events so they feel invested in the company’s success. If they are true fans, they’ll enjoy trying out new products and mention them spontaneously in their posts, organically increasing your brand’s visibility.

While sending gifts can be useful, remember to value your brand ambassador's time. Creating a clear payment schedule will strengthen their loyalty to your brand.

3. Create unique experiences and innovate with co-branding

Attract influencers to your brand by offering them premium consumer experiences. This means more than new products presented attractively; it means personalising gifts and products to suit their needs.

For example, match beauty products to their skin type and take note of their dietary preferences, personal interests, and hobbies. Personalisation is essential for helping them understand and appreciate your products, and it's more likely to encourage them to talk about your brand on their social media channels.

One case study is the beauty brand T.LeClerc's brand ambassador program. It activated its ambassadors with a ‘digital wheel’ which delivered personalised recommendations for foundation colors based on the user’s preferences. The bloggers posted about the wheel and its recommendations, encouraging their communities to do the same.

Offering these unique experiences is a powerful means of differentiation. It's important to be innovative and work with your brand ambassadors on co-creation or co-marketing opportunities.

After all, shared values and combined audiences will help both the brand and influencer grow their follower count and awareness. Fashion retailer NA-KD often uses this strategy to launch collections co-created with brand ambassadors.

Finally, be sure to involve your brand ambassadors in your campaign planning and strategy. They have valuable insights and understand their audience better than anyone.

How to find the right brand ambassadors

Pinpointing candidates who can do the job well is a complex process. The ideal brand ambassador will align closely with your brand's style, have the reach to bring in new customers, and create genuinely engaging content.

Brand ambassadors: The key skills

It's important to properly vet potential bloggers before hiring them for the job. Check that the person can:

  • Uphold brand values: An ambassador acts as the face of your brand. It's essential that this individual behaves appropriately so as not to tarnish your reputation. When working with influencers, check their past posts to analyse the tone and uncover any incompatible perspectives.
  • Reliability and professionalism: The ideal brand ambassador will collaborate with you long into the future. To maintain this relationship, find an influencer who responds quickly, has good communication skills, and has a flexible enough schedule to get work done when asked.
  • Authenticity and sway: Most importantly, the creator should be genuinely invested and excited about your brand. Whether they are employees or celebrities, creators must combine authenticity with a strong personality and public voice that connects with your target audience.
  • Creativity and cultural awareness: A brand ambassador must align with your brand's image and mission. You must be able to trust them to create content that compliments your company's style. After all, these individuals are, basically, part of your marketing team, and the best candidates will enhance your brand personality. In addition, choose a creator who can stay on the pulse of trends.

Brand ambassador list through an agency or platform

Finding the right brand ambassador means identifying someone capable of being a public figure and opinion leader across online platforms. It's a challenging task, and many companies seek help, usually from agencies or platforms.

  • Brand ambassador platform: Platforms allow you to shortcut the search through thousands of creators with AI-driven search engines and filters. Once you have your shortlist, immediately gain insights into how credible their audience is and their demographics. When your campaign is running, you can understand the progress of your campaign easily with graphs and insights and manage all of your ambassador relationships on the same platform. If that sounds interesting, book in for a free Kolsquare demo now. Working with a platform can save time and resources, allowing you to focus on other aspects of your marketing strategy.
  • Brand ambassador agency: Brand ambassador agencies specialise in recruiting and managing ambassadors for various brands. These agencies have a team of professionals who scout, vet, and onboard suitable candidates, ensuring they align with the brand's values and marketing goals. Agencies handle the logistics of ambassador programs, including contract negotiations, campaign planning, and performance monitoring. By leveraging their industry expertise and extensive networks, these agencies can match brands with high-quality ambassadors who can effectively promote their products or services.

Brand ambassador salary: Do brand ambassadors get paid?

Like most promotional strategies, working with a brand representative will usually cost money. Although the form and amount of payment can vary widely based on several factors.

Many brand ambassadors are paid a salary or hourly wage, especially those who are hired for the long term. These roles may have heavy monthly requirements and ongoing engagements, transforming them into part-time employees.

In addition to a base salary, ambassadors might receive performance-based incentives, bonuses for meeting certain goals, or additional perks such as free products, travel opportunities, and exclusive access to events. Ambassadors may also receive payment in the form of a flat fee for specific campaigns or posts.

Alternatively, a company may choose to collaborate with its brand ambassador by sending free gifts and invitations. This, however, is less rewarding for the creator and won't develop the strongest partnership.

The amount of compensation might depend on the ambassador's experience, the industry, the brand's size and budget, or the specific responsibilities of the role. Typically, how large the audience of the influencer is the biggest consideration. Organisations will generally pay more to work with influencers with substantial reach.

Ultimately, whether a brand ambassador gets paid and how much they earn is influenced by the brand’s budget, the ambassador’s negotiating power, and the mutual benefits derived from the partnership.

To get the best price on your collaboration, learn more about negotiating here.

Brand ambassador hiring process

The hiring process will depend on whether the creator is already an employee or a creator. Here's a guide to the process:

  1. Define your goals:  Identify the objectives of your brand ambassador program. Are you hoping to improve awareness, sales, or sentiment? From there, you can begin to create a profile for the ideal ambassador. In addition, consider how your brand works.
  2. Source candidates: Use social media, job boards, and your own networks to find potential candidates. Consider reaching out to influencers or individuals who already engage with your brand through comments, hashtags, or even your employees. To ensure you pick the right people and don't waste time and money, consider a platform. Platforms will help you evaluate candidates' social media activity, follower engagement, and content quality in minutes.
  3. Conduct interviews: Arrange initial interviews to assess candidates' suitability. Use a mix of behavioural and situational questions to gauge their communication skills, authenticity, and enthusiasm for your brand.
  4. Run a trial: Rather than jumping in with a salaried role, sponsor a single post and assess the creator's performance, creativity, and impact on your brand’s engagement metrics.
  5. Onboarding: Provide comprehensive training on your brand’s values, products, and marketing strategies. Make sure you have a clear brief for the role that still encourages creativity. Set clear expectations and goals for the ambassador’s role.
  6. Monitoring and feedback: Regularly review the ambassador’s performance and provide ongoing support. Providing creators with feedback and resources to help them improve and succeed in their roles. Make necessary adjustments to optimise performance and achieve your marketing goals.

What is a brand representative?

Similar to an advocate, a brand representative actively promotes a company’s products and services to boost visibility and build positive customer relationships. They may engage with customers in person or online, demonstrating products, answering questions, and addressing concerns. By participating in events, trade shows, and social media campaigns, they increase brand awareness and drive sales.

About Kolsquare

Kolsquare is Europe’s leading Influencer Marketing platform, a data-driven solution that allows brands to scale their KOL Marketing strategies and implement authentic partnerships with KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders). Kolsquare’s technology enables marketing professionals to easily identify the best Content Creators profiles by filtering their content and audience, and to build and manage their campaigns from A to Z, including measuring results and benchmarking performance against competitors. Kolsquare has built the largest community of influencer marketing experts in the world, and offers hundreds of customers (Coca-Cola, Netflix, Sony Music, Publicis, Sézane, Sephora, El Corte Inglés, Lacoste, …) the latest Big Data, AI and Machine Learning technologies to drive inspiring partnerships, tapping into an exhaustive network covering 100% of  KOLs with more than 5,000 followers in 180 countries on Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. As a Benefit Company, Kolsquare has been pioneering Responsible Influence by championing transparency, ethical practices, and meaningful collaborations to inspire change.

Influencer Marketing Newsletter

Don't miss a thing!