The effects of this year have seen the influencer marketing industry ramp up, and by a significant amount, too. Our Instagram feeds are filled with more ADs than before and the battle is on for brands to secure long-lasting, authentic collaborations with their favourite influencers. But how can brands transition influencers into ambassadors for 2021? Amelia Neate, senior manager at agency Influencer Matchmaker, explains how brands should be looking to consider ambassadors as part of their influencer marketing strategy for the New Year
The rise of influencer marketing
Fast approaching a market size of $10 billion, the influencer marketing industry has seen an estimated growth of at least 50% each year since 2016. And over the last year alone, the industry has increased by approximately $3 billion.
The coronavirus pandemic has simply sped up changes that were already underway and has allowed creators and agencies within the industry to understand the need to adapt to consumer needs.
And if this year has taught us anything, it’s that trust, and authenticity are pivotal. So, with that being said, we believe that brands should be looking to transition influencers into ambassadors in order to promote collaborative, long-term partnerships.
One–off campaigns vs long-term partnerships
This is not a case of one being better than the other. They both offer incredible benefits to brands, however here at Influencer Matchmaker, we wanted to inform brands how they can turn the influencers they work with into ambassadors and long-term partners.
Influencers are a great way for brands to reach a brand-new audience, providing them with the ability to target potential consumers.
With large and loyal followings, influencers are able to promote a brand, along with their products and services, creating rather impactful results, however many influencer relationships are short-term.
And whilst this is incredibly effective, some brands may prefer to work with influencers as part of an ambassadorship and work on a number of campaigns with them over a longer period of time.
Influencers, as part of both short-term and long-term campaigns, will create and share content about the brand and its products.
However, brand ambassadors will actively and regularly use the products and will share the same values as both the brand and their target audience. This, in turn, creates an authentic and honest relationship between the ambassador and their following.
Consider an ambassador a cheerleader for your brand. They become a representative and maintain an ongoing relationship, earning the trust and loyalty of their followers.
Often, when brands form a partnership with an ambassador, they can post a variety of content, as opposed to one-off posts or stand-alone images. They are able to get involved in press events, offer discount codes and so much more.
Long-term collaborations and ambassadorships usually take part over the course of three months or longer.
How to transition an influencer into an ambassador
Brands should look for influencers who are already fans of their brand and products, and actively uses them.
This may seem odd – why pay somebody to promote your brand when they already talk about it to their audience?
If an influencer already uses your product or has previously discussed your brand, then they already have an audience that is interested and engaged, meaning they are likely to receive any long-term campaigns and collaborations extremely well.
This also increases the level of trust between the brand, the influencer and the target audience. The audience will recognise the authenticity of the collaboration, resulting in a greater return on investment (ROI) for the brand.
As well as this, more recently, brands have been collaborating with ambassadors in a different way and one that is proving to be extremely effective.
Ambassadors have been creating their very own collections with brands, as well as selecting their own edits. This has allowed brands to collaborate with ambassadors in a much more personal manner, creating an even deeper connection with their audience and potential consumers.
Popular influencers have been collaborating with well-known retailors to do exactly that. Victoria Magrath, founder of InTheFrow, recently teamed up with luxury jewellery brand Edge of Ember to create her very own collection. And fellow luxury fashion influencer Lydia Millen has also partnered with Karen Millen.
Similarly, Emma Willis and Marvin Humes have formed a long-term partnership with well-known high-street brand, Next. They both create seasonal fashion edits and collections, which are incredibly well-received by their audiences.
In The Style is an online retailer which is recognised for its long-term collaborations with a number of successful social media influencers. Getting the likes of Jacqueline Jossa, Olivia Bowen and Billie Shepherd on board to create their very own clothing ranges has made the brand one of the most successful online fashion stores.
Transitioning an influencer into an ambassador is a sure-fire way to create successful campaigns. And now more than ever, consumers are seeking creative and authentic partnerships, and what better way to do that than with a brand ambassador?