One of the most asked questions we get from brands starting an ambassador program is -
How do I recruit brand ambassadors?
We take a deep dive into ambassador recruiting strategies with brands that come onto CrewFire during onboarding. However, even with these ideas in mind, it can still be difficult for brands to distinguish between who will be a great brand ambassador and who will dip out of the program.
Recruitment plays a considerable role in the success of an ambassador program. So today, we want to give you some inside info about how brands we know successfully recruit ambassadors and continue to scale their programs!
Let's hop into it.
What Makes a Strong Brand Ambassador?
Brand ambassadors are all different, and as you search for ambassadors to join your program, you will find that they are not all created equal.
Your program should be fun and dynamic, offering a variety of ways for the ambassador to engage with your brand and earn money, free product, or experiences while doing so.
But, the strongest ambassadors we have seen often share the same characteristics, including:
- A strong eye for content creation
- A love for your brand that goes beyond being a repeat buyer
- Passion for social media
- The same set of values as your brand
- Free time in their schedule to commit to the program
- Genuine, authentic, and that has an audience (big or small) that values their opinion
What Doesn't Make a Strong Brand Ambassador
We can't mention the good without mentioning the not-so-good. Not everyone is cut out to be an ambassador, which is okay.
We want to help you make a plan to vet the strong ambassadors from the ones who might not be ready to give all their efforts to your program.
When recruiting, keep an eye out for applicants that embody the following characteristics:
- Someone with no social media presence
- Someone who doesn't understand how affiliate marketing works with no interest in learning
- Someone not tech-savvy
- Someone who doesn't have the time to dedicate to the program
- Someone who doesn't love your brand
- Someone with the opposite ethos of your brand
- Someone with a fake following, bots in the comments, or a bought persona
Of course, use your best judgment! Just because someone isn't tech-savvy doesn't mean they will not be a good fit. Your job is to separate the passionate customers who want to be part of your community from those just looking to make a quick buck.
The bottom line, follow your instincts and examine each applicant to make sure they will be a good fit for your program.
Tips for Recruiting Strong Brand Ambassadors
Improve Your Application Flow and Vet Accordingly
One critical step in recruiting is defining your recruitment flow.
What do we mean by this?
This means creating an ambassador recruitment landing page and adding vetting questions to your signup form.
Common questions brands ask applicants include:
- How long have you been using our products?
- How many followers do you have on TikTok, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, etc?
- How much time do you have to dedicate to the program?
- Where do you live?
- What’s your experience with affiliate marketing or running promotions?
This can be open to interpretation, so ask whatever you would like! The best practice is to think of questions that will help you decide who the best ambassadors will be for your program.
Pay Attention to Social Metrics
When you are looking to work with ambassadors, some brands will ask for social metrics when deciding whom to recruit to their program.
Especially when working with people that have a more significant social presence, checking their social metrics will help you decide if they will yield a positive result from joining the program.
- Engagement rate
- Number of followers
- Number of active followers
- The average number of likes, shares, comments, and saves
Invite Your Customer Base
If you are new to starting an ambassador program, or you are looking to strengthen your strategy by bringing on quality ambassadors, then the first place you should check is your customer base.
There are no better ambassadors than those already consistently buying your products.
Many brands on CrewFire will go directly to the source (their customer base) when they begin recruiting. However, they get the most interest when they send a mass recruitment email out to their customers announcing their program.
So look at your Shopify, Woocommerce, or Magento customer list, find out who your repeat buyers are, and shoot them an email!
Hot Tip: If you have a CrewFire account you can invite your entire list with a few clicks. Just customize your email invite and we do the rest. 😁
Examine the Applicant’s Feed and Do Your Research
What kind of content do they create? Do they have a solid social presence?
More importantly, are they comfortable making branded content, or do you think that would be too intimidating for them?
A common mistake we see brands make when recruiting ambassadors is selecting passionate customers since they love their products.
But this customer isn't active on social media. They only post pictures of their cat and haven't been active on their feed in over six months.
There is a difference between a happy customer who will recommend your brand to friends and family and someone willing to get in front of the camera and recommend your product to the masses.
You want to partner with the latter!
So, when examining a prospect's feed, be sure to look out for:
- The kind of content they create? Do they mention brands they love? Do they work with other brands? DO they have a link in bio with their affiliate codes? This is who you want!
- What is their niche? They might not necessarily have one, but you want their content to align with your brand
- How active they are on social media? Do they take long breaks between posting or keep up a busy schedule?
- Are they genuine, creative, and able to make exciting content?
An ambassador is more than a happy customer. They are an extension of your marketing plan and a person you will partner with within the long run.
Establish Your Team (and Hire a Recruiter or Team of Recruiters)
If you are looking to scale your ambassador program quickly, you might want to think about hiring a recruiter. If your program manager thinks recruiting will take too much bandwidth, bringing on a dedicated recruiter will help alleviate that stress.
What will a recruiter do:
- Comb through your customer base and reach out
- Research social media channels for customers making content about the product
- Find relevant content creators to invite to the program
- Approve or reject applicants
We have seen brands on CrewFire that we can scale and see the most significant return (and most passionate community) have full-time recruiters dedicated to growing their program.
Outreach on Social Media
Your future ambassadors are on social media. So a smart way to find folks interested in joining your program is to turn to social media and start doing outreach.
But, before you start, you will need to plan your strategy. Content creators often receive a large volume of DMs from brands, so you need to find a way to make yourself stand out (and not look like a scam).
A few things you will want to iron out before starting outreach include:
- Your brand's outreach message - you might want to test a few to see which one
- Keep it short-ish and sweet - you can iron out the details later
- Always add a personal touch - remember, you want to work with these people, so show them that in your message
- Look for people that match your values - if you're reaching out to someone who has never worked with your brand before, make sure they align with your brand's values
- Offer free samples free merch, so that they can try the product before committing to the program - you don't want to recruit someone that won't end up liking your product
What to Avoid when Recruiting Brand Ambassadors
Now, let's look at a few things you should avoid when recruiting. Content creators get hit up by brands, so you want to make sure that your recruitment efforts are professional and help you stick out from the crowd.
A few best practices you should abide by (especially if you are doing cold outreach) include:
- Not reaching out in the comments of their post - this looks scammy
- Asking the ambassador to reach out to you - you're the recruiter, not them
- Avoid using spammy language
- Calling them by the wrong name or using a canned reply - canned replies are great but try to make it personal to show them you want them on your team
How to Create an Ambassador Program that Recruits Itself
Lastly, let's talk about some of the things you can do to make sure your program is a smash. These recommendations are based on the best practices we have seen from brands on CrewFire. These brands have scaled their programs from 0 to thousands of ambassadors.
Here are a few recommendations for creating an ambassador program that recruits itself:
- Define your offer - let ambassadors know that they will earn cash for referrals and points for creating content that they can put towards free products and exclusive experiences
- Focus on community - create a thriving community of like-minded and passionate people; the ambassador programs that focus on community essentially sell themselves
- Stay organized - utilize innovative tooling that requires minimal effort and a short learning curve for ambassadors
- Keep things fun and fresh - Think of unique and fun activities for ambassadors that let them get creative and find a deep sense of community
- Focus on your values as a brand - don't create an ambassador program to earn more cash, but rather to grow a group of people with similar interests, whether that be crypto, health, wellness, fashion, or beauty; find what brings your team together
Ready to turn your customers into your thriving crew of brand ambassadors? If so, watch the epic CrewFire demo video or get in touch with us to learn how you can drive more referrals, word-of-mouth, and user-generated content for your Shopify store.
Get in touch w/ Rony (CEO - CrewFire)