Ambassador/Influencer Program Thoughts

ArtPace exhibit in San Antonio Texas.

ArtPace exhibit in San Antonio Texas.

The Ambassador and Influencer marketing world has been growing steadily and swiftly over the past decade.

For those that are unfamiliar with influencer marketing I believe in a one sentence summary it is the marketing angle of having people who have “social clout” share their experiences with your product to their communities in some shape or form.

Ambassador marketing is along the same degree but often includes people doing more than just a video or photo shoot for a brand; it often involves almost being an “unpaid intern” at times and doing additional work like organizing events or doing other types of “community growth” for the brand.

This world has come under the microscope of my eye recently because as I continue to do marketing & advertising strategy for almost three dozen businesses across the country it’s an opportunity we always consider. Ambassador programs and influencers in the industry are always looked at by us as a possibility for a piece of the strategy.
In providing full disclosure we do utilize some small influencer strategies in Central Ohio with a few businesses that we work with; additionally I myself am part of two ambassador programs. One for my good friend and client Yoga Warrior Wear that has the Satya Warrior Program and then another for One80OutSupply who is a friend and I do this through my outdoor adventure community Hashtag 59.

Out in the public though there has been some interesting things happening with both the ambassadors and the influencers of late.
From the influencers side there is the story of the Fyre Music Festival/App fiasco that never happened and only almost happened because of the influencer marketing program that was initiated and created. The documentary on the story is a must watch for anybody in business and to understand the power of influencers and of course the importance of keeping your word.

From the ambassador side there is the interesting story of the Mtn Chicks; which I am only aware because of seeing comments on their IG page that have since been taken down. They are someone that I have often looked up to from a social marketing standpoint as I build Hashtag 59 with my partner and co founder Amy K. Recently the ambassador program was removed and there are a lot of upset folks who were in the program feeling that they were taken advantage of to build the Mtn Chicks community.
I am not taking sides here on this issue but rather bringing it to light of what can happen when you build a loyal and excited ambassador program. There were some VERY upset folks judging from the comments. I see both sides because as the founder Mtn Chicks had every right to change their mind about having an ambassador program…unless she led people to believe they would be a part of something bigger and she broke her world. I don’t know the truth but my example of it is to raise light of the possible conflicts.

Where does this leave me and my thoughts?
Where does the world of marketing go from here with scandals in the ambassador and influencer programs? Even possible lawsuits?

  • Communicate clearly. If everything is open, transparent, and honest then there shouldn’t be any fallout or hard feelings. If people are led astray by you then that’s on you. If people are led astray by the stories they create in their own head that’s not on you.

  • Trust and know your people. Jered and Wes (Yoga Warrior Wear and One80Out owners that I am an ambassador for) are friends of mine and I know and trust them. They also know and trust me and I firmly believe in what they are doing and representing. It’s hard for either of us to surprise each other because we know what we each stand for. We have met several times and hung out in person frequently.

  • Leadership top down and the way back up. If you lead people instead of managing or ordering them around things often work out for the better.

    It seems to me the big issue is we live in a fast paced world where we want to say YES quickly and we ask for things that will follow the “get rich quick” mindset. I’d advise to slow down and stick to your gut and your plan. Know you will get where you want to go by holding true to yourself and focusing on People and Purpose instead of Money and Followers.

    Ambassador and Influencer marketing is a great way to involve real individuals into the brand’s strategy and it’s honestly a really special and innovative way to create relationships. It can also be hard and dangerous depending on what you ask your influencers to do for you and how you present your ambassador perks to your community.

Over communicate, open your heart, lead/learn, and be kind.

What do you think? Put your comments below!

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3. What should you be doing with your marketing dollars and time?

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