The principle of self-marketing is best known as a tool used by celebrities. But while almost all of us post regular photos and updates on social networks, only some are using these tools to create an image for themselves as a means of helping their career. This process is known as personal branding. But how do you set about building a brand for yourself? Our introduction to personal branding will...Personal branding: how to market yourself online
When it comes to how it appears to the public, every brand wants to show its best side. Not only do they want to demonstrate the quality of their product, they also want to show the company’s values, while also maintaining closeness to their target audience. In the world of modern marketing, this is the responsibility of the brand ambassador. Among other things, here you can read about how these marketing specialists work, what the average brand ambassador salary is, how to become one yourself, and why social media is the ideal environment for them.
What is a brand ambassador?
A brand ambassador embodies the corporate identity of a company and brings the public closer to its products, service, and even core values. Brand ambassadors operate at the point where marketing and the market intersect, giving a face to the brand. They should have friendly personalities which make positive impacts in the public sphere. Additionally, they should also remain in the memory of (potential) customers long term by leaving such a good impression.
Companies, that can afford it in their budget, will opt for a famous brand ambassador; someone who is already a well-known public figure or is at least well-known in the relevant sector. More recently, however, businesses have begun to recruit brand ambassadors who are not so well-known. They are usually found either amongst their own ranks of employees or else they are scouted from social media.
Brand ambassador job description - what do they do?
The role of brand ambassadors is to bring attention to a company or to specific products. This occurs via press spots, social media posts, or on location with promotional activities. This means that the focus is less on the selling of products and more to get/keep in touch with the envisaged consumer target audience.
This is why it is becoming more common to come across brand ambassadors in company blog posts, or you see them taking over a business‘ social media accounts, or present for them at fairs and conferences. Even at public events, where the business may already be present as a sponsor or organizer, the brand ambassador will be present with the aim of showing the best face of the company. On Facebook, Instagram, etc. the individual is strongly associated with the brand name and builds a solid relationship with their respective followers.
Often it is the case that ambassadors will bring about a positive discussion about companies, brands, and products. This occurs on social media via exciting content – great posts that feature pictures, videos, and stories. At fairs and events, they will lead panel discussions, give demonstrations, or distribute free testers. With both cases, on social media or at events, the brand ambassadors guarantee large amounts of visibility for a brand; assuming you have the right communication strategy for the various channels and execute them correctly. This can begin with branded clothing, followed by a positive impression, and then fostering an overall great image with the target group in question. Everything that can bring the customer base closer to the brand and leads to greater brand loyalty.
What are the important personality traits for a brand ambassador?
There are three primary characteristics that a brand ambassador should have in order to be considered as the potential face of a brand:
- They should bring a high level of identification with them: anybody who works as a brand ambassador has to come across as being genuine and combine their own values with those of the brand. When it comes to social media, businesses adopt a similar approach to how they would recruit micro influencers: they look for the profiles of individuals who have charisma, who share similarities with the company values and products and who are deemed to be specialists in their respective field. For example, a food specialist who frequently posts recipes and images of amazing meals on Instagram could be seen as being a very suitable brand ambassador candidate for a food company. However, it goes without saying that they may not necessarily be suitable for a company that only sells vegan products. There needs to be a strong overlap of characteristics between the brand and brand ambassador.
- The person should be communicative and well-connected. Anyone representing a brand at fairs and such should in no way be shy. In situations like this, being proactive is just as important as being charismatic, as well as having a talent for communication. Ideally, the person would already have established themselves in the field making them a recognizable figure. This means that the brand ambassador should have a solid reputation, which will then also rub off on the brand. Additionally, they should also be in the position to be able to quickly establish as well as foster new connections.
- They should be well informed as well as up to date. Anyone who is representing a product or brand at events or on social media needs to know as much as possible about what it is that they are representing. This includes being able to respond competently to inquiries and specialist questions. In theory, a brand ambassador is not a salesperson; they are a kind of specialist; an image of know-how and expertise. A person who does not know everything there is to know about a company or a product will not leave a positive impression on the target group and therefore will not be taken seriously. Negative impressions like that will subsequently rub off on the brand in question as well.
As a brand ambassador you should never be shy. You need to be able to sell yourself effectively and exude a lot of charisma. Furthermore, you need to be able to identify with a brand and communicate effectively the company values to current and potential customers.
Become a brand ambassador: what are my options?
Anyone who possesses these characteristics and soft skills is ideally placed to become a brand ambassador. There are a couple ways that this can come about: one is that you are found and contacted by social media. This sort of thing usually only happens if you have already established yourself as an influencer in this area by having amassed a certain number of followers and have made contacts within the industry. It is also possible to actively apply for positions such as these. Mostly these sort of job positions will be advertised under headings like event planning, promotion, hospitality, etc. Often some sort of business education or background (internships, etc.) is very advantageous.
Any companies may also look for brand ambassadors internally within the framework of an employer branding strategy. In cases like this, the employees that are sought after are those that have notable success stories to tell, which can then be communicated further via the business’ own social media accounts. The extent of responsibilities for these individuals ranges from blog and social media posts to other typical duties like meeting with customers, attending fairs, as well as other events where the company wishes to be represented. The purpose of internal recruitment tactics like this is to portray the business as an attractive employer and make them appear more authentic.
The salary of a brand ambassador varies depending on the industry sector, qualifications, as well as general work experience. Many companies will offer very good bonuses and perks, alongside a fixed salary. Specialized knowledge and expertise may also play a very important role. While brand ambassadors are often paid for individual posts on social media (sometimes paid very well depending on how many followers they have), there are also agencies through which businesses can book ambassadors for individual events – in such a case, it should be clear from the very start what the qualities and interests of the person involved are. In some countries, e.g., the US, such a system allows you have a regular job as well as being a brand ambassador at events on the weekend. According to industry expert Kenny Azama, who has written a lot of guides and blog posts on the career of a brand ambassador, the average salary of a brand ambassador who attends fairs, festivals, and conferences, etc. should be somewhere between $15 and $50 an hour.
Making it as a brand ambassador on Instagram
These days, in the world of online marketing, things like fairs and other such events have naturally taken somewhat of a backseat. Instead, it’s now social media that has become the focal point for both brand ambassadors (current and budding) as well as companies. And in recent times, it is primarily Instagram that has become the social media for all involved. This platform is ideal for uploading photos of a whole range of things: products, the company itself, day to day life in a company, or even the employees within a business. High engagement rates for each post will indicate the potential of having a presence on Instagram and mean that success is very much measurable. Factors like this mean that Instagram has become the most important social media for businesses online presence as well as any partnerships that they might have with external influencers. Anyone who sees themselves as an influencer has every opportunity to become a brand ambassador.
In our Digital Guide you can find an extensive series of articles on the topic of ‘Instagram for business’.
In order to become a brand ambassador on Instagram, you should possess a similar set of skills and competencies as was outlined above. This means that you need to be able to sell yourself well, have plenty of self-confidence, and be specialized in a specific branch of industry branch or product group. This is why you should try to be viewed as an expert in a field or as an important opinion-former/influencer. It is also ideal to have a following that, for multiple reasons, is of interest to businesses. For this to happen, your own interests and those of your followers should be quite similar, and correspond with whatever these businesses might be selling.
Anyone wishing to make it as a brand ambassador should treat their followers respectfully and never be in any way patronizing. Instead it is important to respond to any queries in a manner that is amicable and inspires confidence in yourself. You need to be able to come across as being full of know-how and an inherent ability to give tips. Reputation within a certain scene can be decisive: at the end of the day, no company is going to want to work with someone who is unloved or even despised in a branch or sector.
If you can do these things, while at the same time producing good quality content and being well connected, you greatly improve the chance of attracting a business’ attention to your profile. It may be that you are lucky and receive an initial query regarding a potential influencer campaign. And if a cooperation between an influencer and company appears to have the potential of being beneficial for both sides, a casual professional relationship has the opportunity to turn into that person becoming the official brand ambassador on Instagram.
Such a partnership would mean the influencer would post about the company’s products and in exchange would receive test products free of charge. Eventually they would also begin to get paid as well. In an ideal world, the relationship is one that is win-win for everyone involved. Followers of the profile in question receive exclusive deals, discount codes, as well as the opportunity to win prizes, vouchers, etc. – all of the above would have been posted by the brand ambassador on Instagram in collaboration with the company.
Asos Brand Ambassadors on Instagram – a case study
One company that has arguably perfected its brand ambassador strategy on Instagram is the British fashion company Asos. Their strategy is as simple as it is superb. What they have done is that they have established partnerships with fashion orientated accounts, for example, asos_ashley or sara_waiste. The trick here is that Asos’ brand ambassadors have the brand name as part of their profile handle, while at the same time exercise complete freedom when it comes to the fashion photography and overall content. This means that the brand ambassadors greatly strengthen the Asos brand simply by attracting attention to it. However, they never give their followers the impression that these are a company-specific accounts or profiles. This ensures that the Instagrammers in question remain authentic and their fashion tips remain believable.