A brand ambassador can help promote a brand in many ways, including uploading content on social media or through grassroot approaches. Many companies are utilizing these ambassadors, also known as campus reps, to promote their products or services in a more authentic way, as members of the younger generations are distrustful of traditional marketing techniques.
In the age of smartphones, social media marketing is a highly effective way for a company to increase revenue. Brands can utilize this marketing technique to grow engagement and loyalty among Millennial and Gen Z customers. While some companies utilize digital influencers, like YouTube stars or Instagram models, to advertise their products, a much cheaper solution is to higher brand ambassadors. Not only is this type of partnership more sustainable, it is also more effective in terms of building trust. A 2019 media agency UM report revealed only 4% of the people surveyed stated that they believe the testimonies of internet influencers, due to fraudulent behavior like purchasing followers or not disclosing paid advertisements.
However, user-generated content created by brand ambassadors who have a smaller, but dedicated following on social media platforms have a very good chance of still being read as credible. As the ideal rep is not only a customer, but also passionate about your brand, their promotion on social media will be entirely authentic and their followers will be able to see that. In turn, there is a good likelihood that social media users that follow your campus rep will be swayed by their recommendation and may become a loyal customer down the road.
Now, the social media content created on behalf of a brand can differ from company to company. For example, Rent the Runway, an online clothing rental company, chooses ambassadors who have experience in social media marketing to curate content on the company’s Instagram page, which has over 7,000 followers. The posts usually consist of brand ambassadors modeling clothing items that are available to rent on the company’s website.
Similarly, a large part of Pura Vita’s brand ambassador program is to have students make sales through uploading pictures of their products on Instagram. The clothing, accessories, and lifestyle brand has stated that through this method of social media advertising they have been able to increase sales by 400%.
“I post [on Instagram] about their products or any promotions that they have,” explained Ariana Afonso, sophomore at Illinois LAS and current Pura Vita brand ambassador, to the The Daily Illini. “And then I get a [10%] commission based on the sales that I get.”
Companies Do, However, Need To Hire The Right Brand Ambassador To Promote Their Brand
Regardless of the exact marketing strategy a company chooses, however, it’s important that the brand ambassador are personable in their posts to essentially humanize the brand. In addition, it is wise to ensure that they utilize the appropriate hashtags in their post’s caption to increase engagement and reach even more potential customers.
As previously mentioned, some companies also have their ambassadors post or pass out flyers around campus and the community to bring awareness to the brand. That being said some college-age individuals do not prefer this form of brand promotion.
“I don’t like people handing out flyers. I’m busy and I don’t want to talk to people,” explained Josh Ziegler, physics PhD student at the University of Oregon.
Possibly for this reason, some companies, like Bumble, have allowed their brand ambassadors, known as Honeys, to get creative with how they want to hand out promotional leaflets. For example, many Honeys have chosen to humorously dress up in bumble bee costumes with their flyers in hand. It should be noted that brands should hire outgoing, sociable individuals as ambassadors to ensure that their interactions with fellow students are not awkward. Otherwise, this can have an adverse effect and cause said students to have a negative association with your company.
In addition, some companies, like PINK, task their brand ambassadors to organize and host community events for further brand promotion.
“A [PINK] campus rep is basically someone who spreads awareness and tries to increase brand loyalty. For example, we just did a panty party, but besides that we also give [out] coupons you can’t get in the store,” stated Meghan Shahroozi, Ohio University 2017-2018 PINK Campus Rep, to Backdrop Magazine.
Through these forms of advertisement, a brand ambassador can successfully promote your brand through, essentially, word-of-mouth.