There’s a misconception that free product equals free promotion. That used to work when being an influencer was a part-time job. Times have changed and it’s no longer a perk to receive swag. Sure, to you and I it would be nice to receive free products, but for an influencer, this is their career. These products are required to meet their contractual obligations and they expect a paycheck for their promotional efforts. Being an influencer is a 24/7/365 career. No one is paying their rent with skincare testers.
Everyone talks about the do’s to grow an ambassador program, but what about the don’ts? Today we’re going to talk about what doesn’t work.
If you’re on the brand side you are being forced to think strategically. It’s your job to determine how to foster loyal relationships aside from product seeding. Rather than focus on how to grow a program, let’s focus on what to avoid when building out a long-term program.
1. Your brand isn’t a public park so don’t let just anyone roam around. Every brand has a targeted audience so your ambassador program should be no different. Which ambassadors have the right audience and which ambassadors align with your goals? Vet your ambassadors by creating a registration page with thoughtful questions. The goal is to grow your network with quality ambassadors. “What are your goals as an ambassador?”, “How do you intend to promote us?”, “Are you currently an ambassador for other programs? If so, can you share those brands?”
Learn about your ambassadors to build a stronger relationship with them. Focus on the people that naturally want to share your products.
2. Don’t assume that a “standard” commission percentage will keep your ambassadors motivated. Today, any brand that values social commerce has created an ambassador program. 10% is no longer incentivizing. Influencers need more. Look at your product margins and perhaps there are certain products that you’re able to provide a higher commission on. Offering a higher commission on your most expensive product will not only motivate influencers to sell that product but will also put more money in their pockets (and yours if done right).
3. Avoid overly complicated commission offers. There’s a balance between being too simple and being too complicated with your program rules. Make sure everyone can understand the structure, benefits of joining the program in the first place. Less is more. Find the balance between creating an incentivizing offer, while making your program terms & conditions easy to follow.
4. Avoid setting high expectations for fast results. Relationship building takes time. It’s important to understand that building out authentic ambassadors doesn’t happen overnight. Try to set aside time to schedule phone calls with your ambassadors. Educate them on the product benefits and why you love the brand.
Trust and authenticity also take time to build. Make sure to maintain trust with your ambassadors as they continue to maintain trust with their followers. Just because you have an influencer promoting your brand because they know, like and trust it doesn’t mean that their audience immediately feels the same.
Most influencers work hard for their paychecks, but some companies have been burned. While influencers no longer want to work in exchange for swag most companies are hesitant to give away paychecks for zero results. Ambassador programs have allowed creators and brands to meet in the middle. We are now entering an age where social commerce is driven by trusted
influencers. It’s up to brands to shift their focus and acknowledge that it’s just as important to build strong relationships with influencers as it is with customers.