image credit: death to the stock photo
If you think your company's products and services are too boring to be featured in sponsored content, you may be wrong.
Fashion, beauty, health and lifestyle brands have long been aware of brand ambassadorship. By building relationships with subject matter experts to create sponsored content around their product and service offerings, companies can grow their audience and sales.
Millennials are more likely to trust "anonymous consumers," than experts like Physicians or Attorneys. That's why many health product companies are turning towards fitness Instagram stars and health bloggers to showcase their products. While B2C products can be a more natural fit for being showcased in YouTube tutorials or on Instagram, that doesn't mean this smart inbound marketing strategy is off-limits for B2B brands. It may be more challenging, but it has the potential to be every bit as effective.
What Does the Perfect Boring Brand Ambassador Look Like?
The best brand ambassador is someone who's already won the trust of your ideal customers. They may be an independent blogger, recognized subject matter expert, or social media superstar. Your future clients rely on these brand ambassadors for unbiased recommendations. Convince and Convert writes that the perfect brand ambassadors may fit one or more of the following criteria:
- They're engaged in your industry
- They are satisfied customers
- They are active bloggers or social media users
- They have a sphere of influence
Boring brand ambassador candidates may not have 80,000 followers on Instagram, but they should have some audience and respect. Join us as we review s// even ways you can engage in ambassadorship.
1. Offer Incentive
Most brand ambassadorship relationships are built around financial compensation. Brands agree upon an amount with potential ambassadorships, and receive exposure and unbiased reviews in exchange. The amount of money required to engage a brand ambassador can vary drastically, but primarily depends on the size of an ambassador's reach.
However, as Mack Collier writes, not all incentives need to be financial. Depending on the value of your products of services, a discount could even be sufficient incentive. Regardless of how you decide to compensate prospective ambassadors, you should consider offering non-financial incentives such as:
- Access to unreleased products or services
- Educational events, such as ambassador's lunches
- Acknowledgement and promotion of ambassadors
2. Create an Inner Circle
Your ambassadors should be welcomed into the inner circle of your company, including being provided with direct access to your leadership team. By engaging your ambassadors in your product development and strategy, you can gain critical feedback on your plans.
3. Look Inside Your Company
Your best brand ambassadors may already be working for you. By using your employees as ambassadors, you can authentically expand your exposure. Major B2B brands like HubSpot and IBM already have well-established guidelines and open social media use policies to allow their employees to promote the company's products and reputation. Forbes recommends the following three steps for turning your staff into ambassadors:
- Promote opportunities for employee personal brand development
- Make employee brand awareness a top priority
- Help staff connect their personal and corporate brands
4. Provide Tools for Success
The best ambassadorship programs provide the right tools. Ideally, your marketing team should make it as easy as possible for your ambassadors to promote your company on their blogs, social media accounts, and other channels. Success tool kits could include:
- Product overviews and descriptions
- Press kits
- Product or service samples
- Access to executives for interviews
5. Facilitate Thought-Leadership
Regardless of whether you are using independent industry experts or your own staff, opportunities for your ambassadors to build thought leadership are invaluable to their personal brand. By collaborating with your ambassadors on thought leadership opportunities, both your marketing team and representatives can gain exposure. Examples of thought leadership-building activities could include:
- Speaking at conferences or other events
- Publishing guest content in industry publications
- Facilitating round-table discussions with industry experts
6. Draw From Customers
Your customers are already your best advocates. Clients who consistently rank a 9 or a 10 on satisfaction surveying are known as promoters. Use your most satisfied clients to earn the trust of your potential customers. By creating high-quality video testimonials or case studies, you can benefit from your client's ambassadorship while promoting their businesses.
7. Take a Step Back
While marketers should provide their ambassadors with all the tools necessary for success, they should avoid "hovering," or taking too intensive of a role in shaping their ambassador's communications. Be available for help and questions, but don't try to dictate how your ambassadors discuss your company online.
If your ambassador's endorsements feel overly corporate, their messaging will sound "sponsored." It won't feel authentic to your prospective customers. By providing your ambassadors with the creative freedom to promote your brand in authentic ways, you could significantly improve outcomes.
Do you think your boring brand could benefit from brand ambassadors? Why or why not?