There’s more to it than just posting pictures
You can’t go far online these days without bumping into the dreaded “influencer” post. You know the one — a perfectly posed (though situationally irrelevant) photo captioned with a scripted sales pitch for whatever the skinny-tea-detox-scrub-fad-diet of the day is.
It’s unfortunate that the word ‘influencer’ has been hi-jacked by the world of social media stars. Under all the negative press there is incredible value in arming your brand with a committed group of folks who want to spread your message.
At NPS we call these individuals “prostaff” or “brand ambassadors” and we help outdoor sports brands recruit large ambassador teams. When used correctly brand ambassadors are an absolute force for spreading the word about products in the outdoors industry.
If you’re working with brands as an ambassador here are a few ways to expand your impact and prove yourself as a valuable member of the team:
If you have to lie to sell a product, you’re selling the wrong product. Consumers appreciate honesty, and they can tell when you truly believe in something vs. when you’re just being rewarded for selling it. Focus on brands that you really believe in, and be honest about how and why you believe in them.
I’m much more likely to purchase a product after reading a review that talks about the pros and cons of that product after real-world use than after reading a fluffy blog that doesn’t back up any of the outlandish claims it makes.
Posting the same image and quote on your social media channels twice a week isn’t valuable. It gets lost in the noise, and doesn’t help the customer make a buying decision. If you’re looking for ways to show your value to a brand considering completing detailed product reviews directly on sales platforms (ex. Amazon/ecommerce shops), answer product questions online, or create a series of videos that clearly demonstrate your experience with the product.
Buyers are becoming very good at spotting bogus product promotion, and you probably don’t have the star power of Kylie Jenner to drive millions of eyeballs to a product. Consumers generally want help when they are making a buying decision, so the more helpful you can be to the consumer the more valuable you will be to a brand.
The “prostaff” or “ambassador” space has been accused of being exclusionary or elitist — often with good reason. Creating a tight-knit group of ambassadors that are highly regarded in their industry provides recognition and brings awareness to the brand, but can also lead to problems down the road if those ambassadors aren’t willing to be approachable. Ambassador groups should never be an exclusive branded club for friends of the business owner to get discounts.
Remember — the “pro” in prostaff doesn’t mean professional, it means promotional. Bring people in your circle into the club with you, be available to help others who are getting into the sport you love, and remember that most consumers may not have the level of experience you do. Talking to people in plain language and working with their experience or skill level will help the consumer to feel comfortable. I’ve encountered some standoffish brand ambassadors in both professional and casual situations and it is detrimental to my view of the brand those individuals work for.
If you already represent a few brands and you’re looking for more, or you want to get your foot in the door of the fishing and hunting industry there are always positions available through www.nationalprostaff.com/sponsors. Remember, being a brand ambassador is what you make it. Jumping from brand to brand to get a discount for a year and then getting cut because you weren’t effective isn’t sustainable. Focus on brands you already believe in, generate quality honest content that is helpful to consumers, and be approachable — you never know where an entry level deal might lead you.