Want to learn how to do a brand ambassador search? This guide walks through what to look for, where to look, and how to do it.
Brand ambassadors are a great way to level up your influencer marketing. They help you build trust among their audiences due to repeated exposure and a genuine connection. But finding them isn’t always easy.
When doing a brand ambassador search, you want to find someone who can spread your brand’s message and do so in a way that aligns with your brand’s values and mission. You also want someone whose audience is engaged enough to listen to them in the first place.
This article runs through what you need to know to do a brand ambassador search. We’ll cover why you should work with brand ambassadors, how to prep your search, where to look, and what to look for.
What are brand ambassadors?
Brand ambassadors are influencers who work with brands on long-term collaborations. They regularly post content featuring products or services from the partner brand. They might also have special discount codes to share with their audience for shopping at that brand.
Much like the ambassadors of a country are that nation’s connection to other countries, brand ambassadors are a brand’s connection to different segments of consumers.
A brand ambassador for athleisure brand Fabletics.
Some people might think that brand ambassador is an exact influencer synonym. And while they are quite similar, they’re not exactly the same. Think of a brand ambassador as the next step in the relationship you have with an influencer—after you’ve validated their performance and know you want to nurture a long-term relationship.
Why use brand ambassadors?
There’s a reason why so many brands recruit influencers to promote them on social media. Consumers trust influencers’ recommendations since they feel more like friends or family. On the other hand, consumers don’t really trust the content that comes straight from brands, and rightfully so, given that anything your company creates will have a natural bias.
Building on that, brands recruit ambassadors because long-term collaborations usually bring in better results than seasonal or one-time campaigns. Regular content about your brand consistently builds awareness and trust in the minds of the audience.
This leads to greater recognition of the brand. And that makes people more likely to trust the brand when they see it publicized elsewhere.
Preparing for your brand ambassador search
Now, before you do a brand ambassador search, you need to have a few things clear. And taking a bit of time to prep now will help you down the road.
What values are important to your brand?
Getting your brand ambassador search right depends on choosing someone who is a natural fit for your brand ethos. So make sure you understand your brand values and mission before beginning your search.
For example, if you’re an eco-conscious brand, you should look for ambassadors who share those ideas. This helps them promote your brand more naturally.
Imagine an influencer who posts lots of hauls at fast fashion and chain cosmetic companies. If they suddenly start promoting your eco-conscious brand, it might come across as forced, as if they’re very obviously getting paid. Authenticity (or the appearance of authenticity) is everything in influencer marketing, so you want to avoid situations like these.
How will you pay ambassadors?
For long-term collaborations, you’ll need to pay influencers somehow. If you’re recruiting nano influencers as ambassadors, you might be able to get away with just lots of free products. But in most cases, you’ll have to flash a bit of cash to seal your deals.
You’ll probably also want a contract since you’re going to be working together for a while. You can download our free influencer contract template to get started.
Who are your target influencers?
Values aside, you need to know a bit about what type of influencers you’re looking for in your brand ambassador search. Consider category, location, engagement rate, follower count, language, and content aesthetic.
Having an ideal influencer in mind will help you when searching for brand ambassadors. Because if you know what you’re looking for, it’s easier to find it. If you want to learn more about this check out our guide to finding your target influencers.
Where to look for brand ambassadors
There are lots of different ways to find your brand ambassadors. Let’s look at a few of them.
Browse social media and blogs
Get on social media and blogs related to your brand’s industry and look for people who could be partners for your brand. If you find a profile that looks like a good match, scan their network or use Instagram’s “show similar profiles” feature to find even more candidates.
You can do the same with blogs. A simple Google search of blogs in your vertical can help you uncover some leading bloggers on topics that relate to your brand.
Also, check into your mentions and the use of your branded hashtags on social media. Are there any influencers who have interacted with your brand before? This process can be a bit tedious, but it’s worth it because it’s easier to convert someone who’s already a fan.
People who already show love for your products would be good candidates for ambassadors as they’re essentially doing what you’re looking for ambassadors to do, but without getting paid.
Try out social listening
If you want to try to convert brand fans into brand ambassadors but don’t want to waste a lot of time sifting through social media, try out a social listening tool to analyze your community data.
This will show you exactly who’s interacting with your brand and how, plus their core stats in an easy-to-compare format. Then you can choose which people to reach out to without swapping between different profiles or setting up spreadsheets to compare.
Heepsy shows influencers who have liked and hashtagged the brand’s content.
This method employs the same ideas as the one listed just before, but you can harness automation and AI to speed up the process.
Leverage your loyal customers
Long-term loyal customers can also be good brand ambassadors. If they shop with you recurrently, chances are they’d be happy to get those products for free in exchange for some content.
They already love your products and can easily share them with their family and friends. This is word-of-mouth marketing in the digital age, and very few forms of marketing are more effective than word of mouth.
If you go this route keep in mind you don’t have to choose people with millions of followers on social media. Just a few hundred followers and a deep love of your products are enough to be a good ambassador. Of course, keep follower count in mind when negotiating incentive.
Recruit your employees
Staffing employees as brand ambassadors is another way to promote your company and products. Consider setting up an employee brand ambassador program so you can recruit interested employees and guide them in their role as ambassadors.
This method can lend a VIP or “insiders only” approach to your social media marketing. Employees can share their love of your products and invite their audiences behind the scenes at your company.
But, since this is a unique situation where your ambassadors might have access to sensitive information, it’s a good idea to have a policy in place with respect to what can—and what can’t—be shared.
Use influencer search engines
An influencer search engine can help you find profiles that meet the specific criteria you’re looking for. Filter your search according to the content category, location of the influencer, minimum followers and engagement, and more to find the right profiles for your brand.
Then reach out. Cold-contacting influencers might not be the best way to jump into a brand ambassador relationship, since you don’t know each other and haven’t built up any trust yet.
In this case, consider doing a one-off campaign with the influencer to see how it goes. If all goes well, you can discuss taking the relationship to the next level. This takes more time to get the ambassadorship going, but it ensures that you end up working with influencers who get your brand and who you know can bring in results.
Set up an ambassador application page
Another way to find brand ambassadors is by setting up an application form. This way, influencers who actively want to work with you can get in touch and you can review their profiles.
Think about what information you want to gather in the application. Some must-have data points are their social handles, reach, engagement rates, and content samples. Getting their audience demographics would also be great, so you can check if their audience matches up with your target audience.
Also, consider how you’ll promote your program. Since most of the people who’d apply will be active on social media, that’s a good place to start. You could also use tools like Heepsy, where you post your campaign in an influencer marketplace and then receive proposals from influencers.
What to look for during a brand ambassador search
So you’ve prepped your search and have some ideas of where to do it. Now let’s get into what you should look for in influencers during your brand ambassador search.
They’re fans of your brand
Your brand ambassadors need to have a passion for your brand and a willingness to share that passion with others. In one-time campaigns, while not ideal, you can skate by even if the influencer isn’t a genuine die-hard fan of your brand.
But with long-term ambassadors that won’t work. If your ambassadors aren’t truly excited about your brand and products, their audience will catch on sooner or later.
They share your target audience
The point of brand ambassadors—and influencer marketing in general—is to connect with people who could be your next customers. So if an influencer’s audience doesn’t sync up at all with your target audience, what’s the point?
Get some information on influencers’ audiences before finalizing brand ambassador deals. You can ask influencers for these stats, or use influencer discovery tools to analyze them.
They’re an authentic and engaging storyteller
Look for someone who authentically connects with their audience. The best influencers come across as relatable to their followers, which is why they’re able to establish that trust in the relationship. This is even more important for brand ambassadors, who will promote your brand recurrently.
In addition to being relatable, influencers need to be able to communicate effectively to engage their audience. Check an influencer’s engagement rate to see if they’re achieving this.
Engagement rate looks at the number of interactions on an influencer’s content compared to their followers to give us an idea of if people are joining the conversations they start.
They share your brand’s values
I mentioned this above but want to restate how important it is that your brand ambassadors share your brand values. Your ambassadors represent you in a stronger way than an influencer that does a one-off campaign. So make sure they represent what you stand for, too.
They’re brand safe
In addition to sharing your brand’s values, brand ambassadors need to be brand safe in general. This means they don’t post controversial or inappropriate content that could damage your brand’s reputation. It also means they don’t engage in fraudulent tactics of any kind.
The last thing you want is for a brand ambassador you’re connected with to do something that reflects badly on them, and by extension, on your brand.
They create great content
Finally, your brand ambassadors need to create great content! In addition to being engaging and authentic, their content should have a style and quality level that matches your brand’s expectations.
How to do a brand ambassador search
Let’s now put all this together and recap how to do an effective brand ambassador search in 5 steps.
1. Create a brand ambassador application
First thing first: create an application. This way, you can simply link to it whenever you find a candidate that you want to invite to your ambassador program.
The application should clearly state what’s expected of the ambassadors and what you’re offering them as compensation. This will help weed out people who aren’t interested in the responsibilities required (or what you’re paying).
Require some basic information like:
- Social handles
- Birthday (helps if you’re targeting a specific age group)
- Location (helps you target certain areas and also make sure you’re complying with any legal requirements of the location)
- Links to any website or blogs they might run
You should also ask a few questions in your application form. This helps you get a first impression of the influencer based on how they answer. Consider:
- What do they love about your brand?
- Why do they want to work with you?
- How do they live your brand’s values?
- How would they promote your brand on social media?
- Do they have any previous ambassador experience?
2. Start with loyal customers and influencers who are fans of your brand
First search among your loyal customers and brand fans. That content creator that tags your brand in Instagram posts? She might be a good option for a brand ambassador.
You can do this manually by tracking your mentions on social media. But a social listening tool will speed up the process greatly.
When it comes to customers, if you want to start soft, try out a customer referral program first. Give customers a unique referral code to share with friends and family. This way, you can track which customers bring in the most referrals and try to convert them into official brand ambassadors.
3. Find more candidates using influencer discovery tools
If you want to open up your brand ambassador search even more, use an influencer discovery tool to source even more candidates. Filter your search according to the factors listed above, like engagement rate, location, etc.
Remember you might want to try out a single collaboration before launching into a full-blown ambassador deal with the influencers you find this way. You want to make sure they understand what you’re all about and can effectively market your brand.
4. Choose your ambassadors and set up guidelines
Once you have candidates, review all the information and choose the ones that look like the best options. When entering into these relationships, make sure you review your guidelines with the influencers. This helps them understand exactly what you expect.
It’s fine to have guidelines in place for content timings, pace, style, etc. But don’t micromanage their creation process. Content creators best know their audiences and how to communicate authentically with them, so let them do that!
5. Nurture the relationship
Finally, for brand ambassadors to be effective, you have to nurture the relationship you have with them! We tend to think about all that ambassadors do to promote brands on social media. But there’s work on the brand’s side, too.
Schedule regular check-ups to make sure that everything is going well. Or consider sending your ambassadors a special gift during the holidays. You want to gently show that you appreciate the relationship you have with them.
Brand ambassadors are powerful assets in building awareness and trust among your potential customers. But a brand ambassador search requires some thoughtful planning and strategic execution. When in doubt, always come back to these three points:
- Brand ambassadors should be fans of your brand.
- They should share your brand’s values.
- They should have authentic and engaged audiences.
With those three ideas in mind, you’re on your way to doing a successful brand ambassador search and setting up a fabulous ambassador program!