At Smart Grooming we have been using Brand Ambassadors for several years and it has worked well supporting them as well as them supporting us to promote and introduce our brand to new customers.
Firstly, being chosen to become an Ambassador for a brand is an honour and shows that the brand is willing to support the individual. It involves commitment, diligence, loyalty, enthusiasm and for our brand, in particular, good turnout skills ensuring that presentation of both horse and rider are key elements to representing Smart Grooming.
We currently have commitment to around 40 brand ambassadors, which is the most we can take on each year. We like to interact and get to know our ambassadors on a personal level and find that this number works well for us.
Brand Ambassadorship has become a very popular way for both the brand or company to advertise and promote through social media as it involves immediate interaction with both the ambassadors and the products. We receive daily requests through our social media channels and via email from interested parties wanting to become involved with our team, and so have put together a guide to help you understand what it involves and what a brand such as ours would expect in return, after all, not much in this world is absolutely free!
A Brand Ambassador’s role
A Brand Ambassador will have been chosen for a number of reasons to help promote and represent the brand. It may be because they have active and well thought out social media pages or are good at putting together videos and blogs.
They may be representing their sport at a high level and have a large number of followers, or they may be at a grass roots level and be particularly good at helping and showing how to use our products.
All are chosen predominantly for being proactive, friendly and helpful both in person or on their social media pages, diligent and loyal to the brand, and learning quickly about the product range and what is good to recommend and use.
So many people want to be brand ambassadors because they think that they will receive lots of free products or discounted products. Yes, in return for promoting, this does happen, but it does have to be worked for. We give our Ambassadors a personal discount code to use to purchase all our branded products as well as having access to personalised and branded clothing, which is only available to the ambassadors.
As a business, we cannot afford to give away products or discounts without having our products actively promoted in the way that we outline when we take on an ambassador. This involves regular postings on personal social media pages as well as sharing posts, and taking active notice on what we are posting on our own social media pages.
Some of our ambassadors additionally will write blogs on products as well as compiling tried and tested articles, either by photos or videos and putting them on their own accounts as well as sharing them with us so that we can use the content too. They will also hand out flyers for us and talk about our brand whenever possible.
Loyalty is a key issue too. We choose ambassadors that are not already involved with similar businesses as we don’t want to have a conflict of interest. We do expect that a Brand Ambassador uses our products during the time that they are representing us and we would expect them not to use other products that are similar from other brands during this time.
Below are a few top tips to guide you down the route of applying for the role of Brand Ambassador.
1. Identify the brand or area that you want to represent.
You need to be really passionate on the subject that you want to represent. For example, if you just want to jump on and go, and are not keen on all the grooming and tidying then don’t apply to us! Obviously we are looking for people who are tidy, well presented and want to turnout out their own horses and ponies to a high standard. This doesn’t mean to say it has to be at top level, we are keen to for applicants to apply that are competing at the lower levels too.
2. Set up social media accounts
It is important to have good social media accounts that are well thought out and not filled with inappropriate images and content. We always recommend setting up accounts that are dedicated just for use for equestrian content. Currently we cover Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and You Tube. Building up followers is also key to representing a brand, as you will need to be able to share branded content to your followers and friends.
3. Engage with the brands
Once you have found the brands that interest you, start engaging with them on their posts so that you catch their eye! Most companies spend a fair amount of time on their social media pages each day, so you will soon be noticed if you like and comment on their posts.
4. Making initial contact
Think about what you are going to write, do not send a hasty message through social media. This is hugely frowned upon. Take time to compile a letter to send either by post or email. Include, why you are interested in the brand, if you have used any products, and if so which ones. It is important to be able to compile a letter well and to make it engaging for us to read. Make it stand out by including one or two photos of you with your horse or pony but please not more than this as we really only need to get an idea and not the whole photo album!
Ensure it is really you that wants to be involved, and not an application from your parents, or agent.
Start to engage with posts on our social media pages at the same time as applying, as we will be checking both your pages and our pages when we get applications. There is often only one chance, so if there is nothing interesting on your pages, this will not help your application.
If you have been out competing or have featured in teams, in magazines or have had blogs or articles published in magazines, be sure to make these stand out for us. If you have used our products, and really do know about them prior to making an application, this will really be a huge positive too for us.
What else is expected from a Brand Ambassador?
If you have been given the opportunity of becoming a Brand Ambassador, think carefully before accepting. Read through the acceptance letter which will outline what the company requires from you.
They will list what they expect you to do with regard to regular social media postings, sending in competition updates and photos and giving feedback on products.
Stay in touch with them. It is helpful to give them a call or drop an email to them every week or so to keep them in the loop. Most companies are very busy and are not able to contact every ambassador or check their pages every day or week, so this will prove very helpful and you may then find you get additional products or clothing for being super helpful!
Show off the brand as much as possible
If you have been given products and/or branded clothing, make sure you show case the products and clothing at every opportunity. Write up a tried and tested, along with good before and after photos as well as a video using the products too. We always ask our ambassadors to wear clothing in any of the product shots or videos to ensure there is consistent branding and colour going on.
Use the products as much as you can and especially out and about at shows or anywhere in the public eye as well as giving regular shout outs on social media, making sure the company/brand is tagged in what you are doing.
Ask the brand or company if you can do competitions or give-aways on your page or to be allowed a discount code to use on a limited basis for your followers. We encourage this way of promotion to our proactive ambassadors. This way the Ambassador will also benefit from this sort of promotion as it will increase their page followers and friends too
Try not to be involved with too many brands and if you are invited to be a multi Brand Ambassador, check with your existing brand(s) first. Nothing will upset a brand more than seeing social media postings promoting another related or similar brand. However, when utilised correctly, multi ambassadors can work in favour for brands that are happy working together and should be encouraged where possible.
Check in regularly with your brand. Feedback is always important and well received. It may be that you can give them ideas on a new product or on a re-design on packaging or if a product can be improved in anyway.
Make sure you ask them if you are doing enough or if there is anything else they may like you to do, or give them some ideas on what you might like to do for them in the way of additional promotion. This will always give you brownie points!
To maximise your efforts for the brand you will need to spend a lot of time and energies in getting the most out of being a brand ambassador. We now have a yearly renewal policy, and if we have ambassadors that haven’t kept in touch or done little for us, they are unlikely to be renewed the following year.
It is very important to realise that an Ambassadorship is very sought after and there are always plenty of other eager people wanting to take over your shoes if you are not doing a really good job.
If you are lucky enough to be given the chance of being an Ambassador, grasp it with both hands, enjoy the challenge and commitment of working for a brand and team. It will give you an insight into the working commercial world as well as rewarding you in so many other ways.
Good luck and hope opportunities will now come your way! They are definitely there for the committed.