How to Start a Brand Ambassador Program

Today, marketing teams have to be thrifty. They have to find creative ways to “do more with less”— in other words, to get the most use out of existing materials and resources to make their budgets stretch. 

For many marketing teams, the source for one of their most impactful and cost-efficient campaigns might be right under their noses: their customers. 

Brand ambassador programs are a type of influencer marketing that leverages existing happy customers to spread the good word about your brand, products, and services. Instead of spending big money on paid ad campaigns, consider a brand ambassador program as a more cost-effective way to extend the reach of your customer-led growth strategy. 

Read on for a step-by-step guide on starting a brand ambassador program for your company. 

What Is a Brand Ambassador Program?

A brand ambassador program is a social marketing tactic that incentivizes brand ambassadors — often existing customers, employees, or even celebrities — to represent and advocate for your brand in a positive light. Unlike influencer marketing campaigns, you don’t pay ambassadors to promote your brand based on their follower counts; you’re asking real consumers to spread the word about you. 

You might deploy a brand ambassador program to drive brand awareness, build a community, or improve your brand reputation. This type of social program is often successful because people trust recommendations from friends, family, and other consumers more than they trust sponsored content from professional influencers. 

Since brand ambassadors often have established followings on social media or other platforms, you can tap into their networks to reach a wider audience without the high costs associated with paid media campaigns. Plus, customers acquired through ambassador recommendations are often more loyal and have a higher lifetime value. The trust and credibility transferred from the ambassador can lead to stronger customer relationships and increased repeat purchases, further offsetting the initial acquisition cost.


4 Simple Steps to Start Your Brand Ambassador Program

Deploying a brand ambassador program is like deploying any other marketing campaign: it’s all about planning, measuring results, and pivoting when needed. 

Establish Your Program Goals, Audience, and Metrics 

As with any marketing initiative or campaign, a successful brand ambassador program starts with planning. Make sure you determine things such as:

  • Program goals and KPIs: What do you want your brand ambassador campaign to accomplish, and how does this relate to larger marketing and business goals? For example, do you want to drive awareness around a specific product or event? Do you want to build more trust around your brand? Don’t forget to set KPIs so you can monitor the health of your campaign. 
  • Target audience: Who are you trying to reach with this program? The more specific you can be about the audience, the better. Who you identify as your target audience will greatly impact who you recruit as brand ambassadors.
  • Program guidelines and policies: Dig into the details to ensure everyone is on the same page when your program kicks off. For example, how long will your program will run, and how do you want your ambassadors to interact with your brand (e.g. posting on social media, attending events)?
  • Incentives: Brand ambassador programs are collaborations. What do you plan to offer ambassadors for representing your brand? Will they be compensated based on cost per engagement on a specific social channel? Or, if you’re following an affiliate program route, will you provide them with the affiliate link? 

Recruit Your Ambassadors 

With the foundation for your brand ambassador program in place, it’s time to recruit the individuals who will represent your brand. 

Before sending out requests, make a list of brand ambassador criteria to guide your selection. Consider who might best appeal to and influence the target audience you identified during your planning. You may also want to consider the following:

  • How closely they align with your company values.
  • Whether they have an authentic/credible passion for your brand, products, or services.
  • What engagement looks like on their social channels and networks.
  • What the quality and consistency of their social media posts look like.
  • Whether they’ve previously collaborated with brands.


Once you set your brand ambassador criteria, it’s time to recruit your ambassadors. There are several ways brands commonly identify brand ambassadors. You may want to conduct social media listening to see who is talking about your brand, engage with existing happy customers, reach out to your network for referrals, or host an online application. 

Empower Your Ambassadors  

It’s important to set clear expectations with your brand ambassadors around their responsibilities. You should cover details such as the types of content you expect them to create and share, how frequently they should post, how to disclose their ambassadorship, and any specific dos and don’ts when representing your brand.

You may also want to share additional information about your brand, products, or services, depending on your campaign goals. For example, suppose the goal of your campaign is to drive sales of a particular product. In that case, you may want to provide your ambassadors with product demonstrations or messaging so they can talk about it comfortably and accurately.

Running a brand ambassador program isn’t a “set it and forget it” initiative. You should plan to offer ongoing support and check in regularly with your ambassadors. You can also offer brand ambassadors support by reposting their content on your company channels, inviting them to exclusive events or sneak peeks; hosting networking opportunities, and more. 

Measure Success 

Throughout your program, don’t forget to monitor ambassadors’ performance based on the KPIs and goals you established at the beginning of your campaign. Use this information to provide feedback to your ambassadors, pivot if needed, or celebrate successes. 

Run a Seamless Brand Ambassador Program with Extole

Running a brand ambassador program is a great way to extend the reach of your customer-led growth strategies through word-of-mouth referrals. If managing the logistics for a group of ambassadors sounds overwhelming, however, you’re not alone. 

That’s why Extole’s platform offers support specifically for influencer and brand ambassador programs. When you use Extole to manage your brand ambassador campaign, you can:

  • Discover influencers: When your customers share your brand with their friends and family as part of your referral program, Extole retrieves available social information and segments your high-reach, high-influence customers. 
  • Deploy personalized influencer links and codes: Quickly assign customized links and codes, control their behavior, and implement rules that ensure payouts are tied to your most important business metrics.
  • Automate influencer rewards: With Extole’s reward catalog, you can access dozens of rewards for influencers when they drive conversions. Use your own gift cards or coupon codes or choose from open-loop cards like Visa, gift cards from Amazon to Zara, and rewards from brands like Apple iTunes and Uber.
  • Empower your ambassadors: With Extole’s invite emails and ongoing engagement capabilities, you have a built-in way to nurture and evolve your relationships with influencers. Putting content into their hands puts your brand in front of their followers and friends.
  • Track from click to conversion: When influencers share their customized influencer links, Extole tracks activity with full-funnel metrics, from clicks to conversions and even the quality of acquired customers. Use this capability to truly understand your influencers’ bottom-line impact.


Ready to fire up your brand ambassador program? Take tour of Extole’s platform to see how easy it can be.

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