Becoming an Instagram influencer isn’t all ice cream and fashion features…
More and more brands are seeing big returns from influencer and brand ambassador marketing. But starting a brand ambassador program is often easier than it seems. On the flip side of the coin, social media up-and-comers are defining an entirely new way of marketing, and creating new income streams. Since we work with brand ambassadors every day, we’ve taken a moment to document the key characteristics that make great brand ambassadors.
1. Reach out to brands, agencies, and managers
It’s a big world out there! Brands of all sizes and shapes want to work with Brand Ambassadors, and working with them sometimes means making the first move. Compile a list of influencer marketing agencies and brands that use influencer marketing, and research influencer listing services to make sure you are seen in the right places. Join private networks that promise participation in brand programs. For example, if you have at least 1,000 followers you can join NOTICE’s worldwide network of influencers.
2. Look to your favorite hobbies as starting points
Doing something well usually means doing something you love. And what better place to start than hobbies? You usually take up a hobby because you enjoy spending time doing something that invigorates your mind. Thinking about starting in the fashion world? Hopefully you already live and breath fashion. By way of example, you can also read our niche-specific content on how to become a fashion brand ambassador. That energy will come through when you start creating content about your hobby. It’s an intangible, but very easy to identify trait of the best brand ambassadors.
3. Know your audience niche (and stick to it)
Even within a very niche topic area, there are often certain types of people who gravitate to it in larger numbers. Being a successful brand ambassador can mean finding the largest audience group within your area of specialty and targeting them with content, outreach, or in-person meetings. It’s a great way to broaden your network, and become known for something within a small web of people.
4. Learn to make amazing content that solves problems
Be it videos, written blogs, or beautiful Instagram posts, making great content is all part of the brand ambassador’s job. Its even better when you can solve a problem your niche audience may be having in an elegant, exciting, or totally new way. Think about what your audience really wants (and do some research by asking) and then give it to them!
5. Demonstrate passion and conviction beyond the basics
Everything up until this point has been simple. Pick a niche, start making content that speaks to a specific audience. What comes after is where most fledgling brand ambassadors fall flat. Only a truly passionate, unstoppable attitude will get you from a hobby to a job. That’s why the first tip in this article is so important. You must be willing to keep making great content and spending time building your presence for months, and perhaps years. It’s the only way to really dominate a category and raise your profile to the top of the heap.
6. Don’t take shortcuts
There are many tools brands and agencies use to spot cheaters. You can’t fake being a great brand ambassador. While buying followers, faking engagement, and generally appearing to be super popular can get you inquiries, it won’t close deals. As brand expertise continues to advance around influencer and brand ambassador marketing, it’s becoming impossible to cheat the system.
7. Start small with collaboration in mind
Don’t try to jump straight into the world of Instagram millionaires. Being a great brand ambassador means practicing. You’ll learn a lot in the early days by working with brands, and it won’t always be for cold, hard cash. Offer to partner on a marketing effort and bring more ideas to the table. Make sure you give yourself a chance to let that passion shine through, showing brands what you’re all about.
8. Learn how to speak, act, and think like a marketer
If you want a career, you need to get educated on how professionals in the field do business. Unfortunately, there isn’t an Instagram University to teach you the ropes. We’ve put together a short Amazon list of required reading that will guarantee you are on the fast track to success before you even start:
- Instagram: How I make $10,000 a month through Influencer Marketing – It’s just a hobby unless you’re getting paid… This new tell all released in June 2017 is making waves in the influencer community, both for sharing great tips on how to turn a profit quickly and for exposing the seedy side of the business.
- The Influencer Economy: How to Launch Your Idea, Share It with the World, and Thrive in the Digital Age – Ryan Williams shares his knowledge and experience as a successful entrepreneur and influencer in his own right. The book is packed with how-to’s, and being passed around brand marketing circles.
- Influencer Marketing For Dummies – While it may seem trite, Wiley’s latest For Dummies book covers the ins and outs of influencer marketing from a brand perspective in detail and with real case studies.
- Get Scrappy: Smarter Digital Marketing for Businesses Big and Small – Most brand marketers find themselves with smaller teams and smaller budgets than in past years. Understanding how they think about influencer and agency partners is key to winning them over.
- Marketing 4.0: Moving from Traditional to Digital – The de facto guide for understanding the marketing landscape in 2017, reading Marketing 4.0 will teach you how to speak about digital and traditional media, using the same language your clients will be used to hearing in their circles.
9. Know when to turn down offers
Money can be an enticing proposition, and brand ambassadors can be very well compensated. But how much do influencers actually get paid? The answer isn’t always cut and dry, and the marketplace is fairly opaque. If you have brand ambassador or influencer friends, ask them how they structure their payment terms.
Remember, it’s better to make relationships through shared experiences before raising your prices or creating rate sheets. Learn about the benefits of influencer marketing that you can delivery upon before asking for large fees. You are in this for the long haul, right?
Being a successful brand ambassador often brings perks, cash, and the satisfaction of running your own business while doing something you love. With a little luck and a lot of determination, you too can leverage social media platforms to become an online celebrity.