HR Mavericks

Eddy’s HR Mavericks Encyclopedia

Ambassador Program
Discover the secret weapon to boost your brand and increase sales: ambassador programs. Learn how to recruit the right ambassadors, design an effective program, and measure its success.

What Is an Ambassador Program?

An ambassador program is a way for a company or organization to recruit people outside the organization to represent them and spread the word about their products or services. Those recruited into the program are called ambassadors and are typically selected for their influence and enthusiasm about the company and its offerings. These programs offer ambassadors exclusive access to new products or promotions in return for promotion through their personal networks, social media, or events. They might also answer questions or provide feedback about the company's products or services. In short, ambassador programs are a way for companies to humanize their engagement with customers. Programs such as these allow companies to interact with their target audience in a personal way and contribute to building a community around their brand.

How Can an Ambassador Program Benefit a Company?

An ambassador program provides many benefits. By enlisting a group of enthusiastic supporters to represent the company and its products, the company can expand its reach and build stronger relationships with its customers. Here are some ways an ambassador program can benefit a company.
  • Increases brand awareness. An ambassador program can help a company reach new audiences and expand its customer base. Ambassadors do that by sharing information about the company's products and services with their personal networks, reaching people who might not otherwise have heard of the brand.
  • Markets in an authentic way. People are often more receptive to recommendations from friends and family than they are to traditional advertising. By enlisting brand ambassadors to promote its products, a company can create more authentic marketing that resonates with customers. Ambassadors can reach untapped markets through sharing personal experiences with the company's products or highlighting their favorite features and how they've benefited from them. For example, an ambassador for a fitness supplement company might share a personal story about how the product helped them achieve their fitness goals.
  • Is cost-effective. Compared to traditional advertising, an ambassador program is a cost-effective way for a company to promote its products, as ambassadors are often volunteers who are passionate about the brand and its offerings. They might receive perks, such as early access to new products or exclusive promotions, but they typically aren't paid for their services.
  • Contributes to a company’s personality. An ambassador program contributes to a company's personality by showcasing its values and mission through their actions. When ambassadors share their passion for a company's products or services, they help bring the company's brand personality to life. This can create a deeper emotional connection with customers as they see the company's values and mission in action.
  • Provides valuable feedback. As people who are passionate about the brand, ambassadors are often willing to share their thoughts on what the company is doing well and what could be improved. This feedback can help the company make informed decisions about product development, marketing, and other aspects of its business. For example, an ambassador for a food delivery service might provide feedback on the packaging and delivery process, helping the company streamline its operations.
  • Strengthens the brand’s community and loyalty. Connecting ambassadors with one another and with the target market creates a space for like-minded individuals to share their passion on the company’s goals, services, values, and products. A great example of this would be Chacos, a sandal brand that has its own community of self-proclaimed Chaconians. Their community has successfully been built on the brand’s strong ambassador program, which promotes its values of sustainability, love of adventure, and charitable enterprise.

Tips for a Successful Ambassador Program

You can create a more authentic and human connection with your audience by recruiting passionate advocates to represent your brand. However, running a successful ambassador program takes more than just recruiting a group of enthusiastic supporters. To ensure that your program delivers the results you want, here are three tips to keep in mind.

Tip 1: Have Clearly Defined Goals and Policies

Clearly define the intention of creating an ambassador program, and build the program around those goals. Do you want to increase brand awareness, generate sales, or improve customer loyalty? All of the above? What is most important to you? Additionally, make sure to have clearly communicated policies for your ambassadors, so they know what is acceptable and unacceptable to post on social media. If you have an existing social media usage policy for your employees, use that as a start. Be sure to communicate what message your goals and the message you want to communicate, so they understand what's expected of them and can help you achieve your objectives.

Tip 2: Be Highly Selective and Build Strong Relationships with Ambassadors

A successful ambassador program is highly exclusive. When deciding who to invite, keep in mind that this person will be representing your company. This includes your organization’s values, goals, personality, quality, and so forth. Once an ambassador has joined the program, continue to build upon the relationship through desirable incentives and transparent two-way communication. Ensure expectations are clearly communicated so your ambassadors know what to expect and will be most efficient in reaching company goals.

Tip 3: Have an Active Social Media Presence

A solid ambassador program works hand-in-hand with a strong company social media presence. Both work well on their own and also bolster one another. For your ambassador program to reach full effectiveness, make sure your company’s social media presence is responsive, and showcase the features of your organization that your ambassadors are highlighting.

How to Develop an Ambassador Program

Building a successful ambassador program takes time. Make sure you know what you’re aiming for, decide your target demographics, build the framework, find and recruit the right people, and keep track of progress in order to adjust the program as needed for maximum effect. Let’s take a closer look.

Step 1: Define Your Goals

Set SMART goals for your program (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely), such as a target number of social media shares or a certain percentage increase in sales. Then identify key performance indicators (KPIs) that allow you to track your progress towards your goals, such as engagement rates or referral traffic. Communicate your goals clearly to your ambassadors so they understand what's expected of them.

Step 2: Define Ideal Ambassador Candidates

Consider the demographics and interests of your existing customers to determine the type of people who might make good ambassadors for your brand. Then look for individuals who are active on social media, have a strong online presence, or are involved in relevant communities or organizations. You could also do an open recruitment, as some of the best ambassadors are those who would be passionate about representing your brand. Consider the qualities you're looking for in an ambassador, such as enthusiasm for your brand, communication skills, or creativity, and then design a recruitment campaign or applicant process around these traits.

Step 3: Develop a Program Design

Determine what incentives you'll offer your ambassadors, such as discounts, exclusive access to products, or a commission on sales. Once that is in place, create a training program that provides your ambassadors with the skills and knowledge they need to represent your brand effectively. Develop guidelines for your ambassadors on how to create content and engage with their audiences, including brand messaging and tone of voice. Be sure to include what inappropriate representation would require correction or termination from the program and ensure it is clearly communicated.

Step 4: Recruit and Onboard Ambassadors

Reach out to potential ambassadors via social media, email, or in-person events. Provide your ambassadors with a welcome packet that includes information on your brand, program guidelines, and any training materials. Assign each ambassador a point of contact within your company who can provide support and answer any questions.

Step 5: Measure and Adapt

Track your data. To measure the effectiveness of an ambassador program and make data-driven decisions, it is crucial to track metrics that align with the program’s goals. Some examples of metrics to track would be:
  1. Engagement rates. Measure activity on company-focused social media posts made by your ambassadors such as shares, number of posts, comments, ect.
  2. Referral traffic. This can be closely tracked by providing personalized links or promo codes unique to each ambassador.
  3. Conversion rates. Utilizing the aforementioned links and codes, track how many leads or sales are being generated through your ambassador program to determine its impact on your bottom line.
  4. Customer feedback. To do this effectively requires the extra step of requesting feedback from customers who were referred by ambassadors to understand their experience with your brand and whether it contributed to their decision to make a purchase.
  5. Brand awareness. Monitor your brand's visibility and reach across social media platforms to understand the impact of your ambassador program on your overall brand awareness.
In addition, periodically collect feedback from your ambassadors on what's working and what could be improved. Use this information to make adjustments to your program, such as refining your incentive structure, providing additional training, or changing your guidelines for content creation.
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Kayla Farber

Kayla Farber

Kayla is the Chief Innovation Officer at Hero Culture, where the passion is to create company cultures of retention using the power of personality.
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