Brand ambassadors work just as well for small brands as they do for larger ones with deep marketing pockets. The smaller brands just have to be smarter about putting their brand ambassador dollars to work because they have fewer of them…dollars. And while an ambassador may enjoy the notoriety and business benefits of being associated with a well-known big brand, many others who may be on their way up in the field recognize the potential business benefits of working with a hot emerging brand that’s small today but large tomorrow.
Content generation and social media fees vary widely among brand ambassadors in any given category or industry, which is why it’s critical that any small brand embarking on a brand ambassador, or influencer marketing program, establish a budget at the outset. Working with an influencer who charges a premium for their services because they have the online and offline following to support the higher fees can quickly gobble up the lion’s share of a modest budget.
In a number of cases it may make business sense to work with that higher priced ambassador, but if it’s at the expense of key target audiences not served by this particular blogger, then one might want to reconsider.
A good rule of thumb for establishing your brand’s ambassador “All Star” team is to experiment. After researching influential bloggers in your industry by reading their blog, reading comments to their posts, seeing what brands they are already representing and which ones may be advertising on their site, looking at what they are sharing on social media and the number of followers they have across the networks they are on, send an email asking for their media kit. If the blogger doesn’t have a media kit, that’s a red flag. An ambassador’s media kit reveals almost everything you need to know about their work, including case histories and their fees for various types of content projects.
Here’s where the experimenting comes in: once you’ve accumulated several media kits from various ambassadors, assign a one-off sponsored post to a few before contracting with any for a longer term campaign. Assuming you’ve taken the time to thoroughly brief the blogger on your brand, products, target consumer and any call to action you have in mind, that one-off post is typically a good indicator of whether that ambassador is a good fit for you and your marketing campaign. With that first post, the ambassador wants to shine!
Now that you’ve seen a few posts from a number of ambassadors and how they engage on social media, it’s time to decide which — depending on your budget — you want to work with over the longer term. Did the ambassadors’ excitement about your brand come to life in their posts? How creative were they with photography? Were the posts overly promotional or did they integrate the right level of education and critical information about your brand and products? How did the bloggers’ followers respond to the posts? Lots of comments, likes, shares and retweets? And perhaps, finally, do you have a strong sense that the bloggers in your “experiment” are truly passionate about and believe in your brand.
If the answer to all of these questions is YES, you’ve assembled a great list of All Star brand ambassadors and you’ll soon be realizing the benefits of influencer marketing.