The prevalence of social media usage among consumers is changing the way companies set out to market their brand. This shift can deliver new ideas, along with new terminology and techniques, and may have you wondering how to best market your own brand.
Two terms that are used more frequently today than ever – and often with some degree of confusion – are “brand ambassadors” and “social influencers.” Here is what you need to know about both to decide which is right for your brand.
Brand ambassadors are certainly not new to the marketing world. An ambassador is someone with whom you have a contract to market your brand.
They are typically people who have a large social following, such as industry experts or celebrities. They should also be well-known to the demographic you wish to connect with, allowing them to spread your message quickly and to a significant number of consumers interested in your business type or industry.
A Social influencer is someone who actually uses your brand and advocates for it out of loyalty or a desire to help friends or family members. These are the everyday consumers who talk about your brand on social media sites, by word of mouth, or by leaving positive reviews for your products.
Given that 92 percent of consumers trust the recommendations given by family members and friends, social influencers are highly effective at persuading others to buy your product.
Paid vs. Unpaid
When delving into the world of influencer marketing, it’s important to make considerations about monetary compensation for your ambassadors or influencers. The reason influencer marketing works is because the messaging feels more authentic than traditional advertising tactics. In order for your influencer marketing strategy to achieve the desired outcome of increasing exposure and sales for your brand, it must be authentic.
Although there are plenty of influencers and ambassadors who are paid to create content for brands, the inherent value of this content is significantly diminished by including a required disclaimer that the influencer was paid to create the material.
Leveraging unpaid social influencers or brand ambassadors as part of your influencer strategy will provide content that is perceived to be much more authentic and trustworthy—a crucial aspect to the success of any strategy. Brands who choose to focus on unpaid influencers or ambassadors will likely see better engagement, awareness, and sales than brands solely focusing on paid influencers. And, brands can choose to reward their most successful influencers or ambassadors in a number of other ways including products, contests, and early access to new products among other ways.
Relationship sustainability will stem from the perceived value of the relationship from both sides. If an ambassador or influencer doesn’t feel as though the arrangement is both fair and beneficial to them, it is likely the relationship will be short. If a brand doesn’t feel as though they are getting the returns expected from the relationship, they are not likely to continue the arrangement. In order to create a sustainable relationship, both parties must clearly outline their expectations and value to paint a clear picture for the other party. A clear understanding of expectations makes it easy to evaluate whether the relationship is both successful and sustainable.
Evaluating the long-term value for ambassadors and influencers can be difficult. As your relationship grows, however, this will become much easier. Your brand will need to set up a system for monitoring, analyzing, and reporting the level of engagement achieved for every piece of content produced by an ambassador or influencer. By creating a system, and understanding expectations, value will become more apparent.
Both brand ambassadors and social influencers have the ability to significantly increase the level of engagement and awareness for your brand. When considering the value of ambassadors and influencers, it’s important to remember why you decided to implement an influencer marketing strategy, and how you consumers interact with other more traditional forms of advertising.
Brand ambassadors and social influencers both have the ability to expose your brand to massive new audiences. Understanding which is right for your brand takes consideration into things like monetary compensation, overall expectations, and perceived value. One thing is consistent for both, however. In order to get the desired value from an ambassador or social influencer, the relationship must be mutually beneficial.
Determining your brand’s marketing goals and understanding the inherent differences between brand ambassadors and social influencers can help you better determine which type of relationship to cultivate for your social influencer marketing efforts.