The days of traditional, in-your-face advertising are being eclipsed by more creative ways of spreading the word about a brand. Companies are realizing that their users are becoming more and more skilled at tuning out information they don’t want to see, and thus business promotional strategies must change.
92% of consumers trust a recommendation from another consumer over promotional content directly from a brand, according to a 2012 Nielsen study. This is why brand ambassador programs have become so popular in recent years, and can be an especially effective form of advertising to be utilized in the field of e-commerce.
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What is a brand ambassador program?
On the surface, your company may only sell a product or service. But to you and to your customers alike, your brand is more than that — it has deep meaning and can be a form of self expression for your users. Brand loyalty is the result of consumers assigning significance to a brand that helps to form their identities.
Launching a brand ambassador program, therefore, is a way of developing this meaning and using it to your company’s advantage. An ambassador program takes advantage of the loyalty of your existing customers and creates a sense of community between your business and its biggest fans.
Brand ambassadors can take on many different responsibilities, however many e-commerce brands choose to focus most of their ambassador program on social media promotion. This means finding active social media users who already engage with and endorse your brand, offering them some sort of compensation for promoting your products, and creating a community of passionate customers to be the face of your brand.
Ideal brand ambassador candidates are either current or potential users of your brand with a medium to large sized social media network and an embodiment of your brand’s buyer persona. Their values and hobbies should line up with the meaning of your brand.
Some companies have the ability to employ celebrity ambassadors to support their brand, however this is not necessary for a program that is just starting out.
It is easiest to recruit people who already purchase and post about your product, but if you are unable to track any of them down, there is no need to worry. Look at other user posts about brands with a similar mission or meaning to yours, and reach out to those people with information about your program.
How can Brand Ambassadors work for E-Commerce?
Brand ambassador programs are a useful tactic throughout the business community, but can be especially convenient for e-commerce businesses. This is because when most of your business being conducted online, having a strong online presence increases your influence and brand awareness amongst your target population.
As was previously stated, people tend to trust recommendations coming from their peers more than they trust self-promotional material by companies. Brand ambassadors, while they do have some ties to your business, act as independent entities and represent themselves as such on their social media accounts. This makes any endorsements of your brand seem like less of an advertisement and more of an honest recommendation coming from a friend.
Additionally, e-commerce businesses can experience a significant uptick in sales from the launch of a brand ambassador program. Providing click through links to your online store, a discount code personalized for each ambassador, or a special referral program will increase your online traffic instantaneously.
The more motivated you are able to make your ambassadors, the more they will post about your website, and ultimately the more potential customers will end up clicking through to your page.
With a few tweaks to a traditional brand ambassador program, e-commerce businesses can employ this tactic and watch their business reap the benefits. While it can seem difficult to set up a successful brand ambassador program, the potential return on investment for these programs is unparalleled in the e-commerce world.
What’s been your experience with brand ambassador programs? Tell us below or tweet us!