How to set up an influencer / ambassador program
Most entrepreneurs think that turning to influencers can help with their business growth. That's true, but… Don’t jump the gun on this! There are countless Instagram influencer accounts that exist with the sole intent to find freebies, samples, or even scam merchants. So before joining the influencer-ambassador bandwagon, it’s a good idea to pause, outline a process, and realistically set your goals and expectations about your brand’s ambassador program.
Step 1 - Set up a process
From sending out a free product to waiting for media assets to be sent back to you, the first step any brand owner should do is outline the process. In doing so, the program becomes easy to monitor and it becomes delegatable to a virtual assistant or staff member.
Step 2 - Qualify your ambassadors
If someone sends you a DM and says,they can give you a product review for free if you’ll send them a free product in exchange. Don’t process a shipment just yet - pump your brakes and ask:
- Is this influencer’s brand and image in alignment with my brand?
- Are their followers real or are they bought up robots/fake accounts?
- Are their followers engaging with his /her posts or not?
Step 3 - Define your deliverables
Sending out a product entails costs and it uses up a company’s resources. So it makes sense that if we’re sending out something valuable, we should also be prepared to come up with a list of deliverables for the influencer.
An example would be:
For a free product (mention a product), we need the following delivered to us in 5 business days;
- 1 - product in use photo
- 1 - lifestyle photo
- 1 - unboxing video
- 1 - product review video
- 1 - product demo video
- The influencer needs to submit the media assets via google drive or dropbox and should be shared to our email address.
- Additionally, the influencer will post, tag, and share these media assets for his or her network to view.
The media assets need to be edited and should be ready for posting on (insert your chosen platform).
In this example, you will notice that the deliverables and timelines are specific and it keeps everyone in line with the program.
Step 4 - Define their benefits
When you find yourself partnering up with influencers or brand ambassadors, it would be good to think about what you can provide for your side of the partnership. This applies no matter what stage your business is in.
As a start, most businesses would offer influencers a free product and a discount code but this can change over time.
As your business grows, you might want to offer commissions to each influencer. You can also set it up using different apps. My personal favorite one is Growth Hero.
Step 5 - Set up a contract
When it comes to business transactions, it helps to come up with a contract so that both parties have a document they can always go back to for reference on what was agreed upon. This way, if an influencer is unable to provide the required media assets (despite receiving the free product), you can chase him / her up. It’s extra work for you, yes, but the thought of wasted resources during the early stages of the business is absolutely stressful! So let’s save ourselves from any headaches and have a contract in place.
For convenience, you might want to get a hellodoc, docusign subscription (or something) for this.
Step 6 - Create a one pager
On various days, someone will come to you and ask if you have an ambassador program to see if they can join in. Or it could be the other way around, you might find yourself reaching out to influencers or creators whose content are aligned with your brand and ask them to join your program. Either way, it would be good to come up with a one pager through a pdf file or a web link that you can repeatedly use and send to them for their information. Having one would make life much easier for you and for your prospects.
Here’s one you can follow.