Social media plays a big role in many people’s lives. It’s where we share our stories, interact with friends, follow celebrities, and even shop online. As a result, it’s become the prime channel for brands to push their products and services, using digital influencers to relay their messages. If you want to make money by marketing businesses — and marketing yourself — you’ll need to know how to become a brand ambassador.
Being a brand ambassador is more than posing for pictures and posting on Instagram. It requires you to develop a brand that your target audience connects with and that remains authentic to who you are. As your audience grows and your metrics improve, your level of influence may have marketers knocking on your door.
This article will guide you through how to become a brand ambassador and monetize your work.
What Is a Brand Ambassador?
Brand ambassadors are people who represent a business and promote its products and services, values, and mission. Business owners know the power of word-of-mouth marketing, so they work with real people to get their products endorsed in an effective way that feels more genuine to consumers.
While the “brand ambassador” position can be used to describe a role that involves in-person work, such as store demonstrations and festival booth runners, it has become a legit online job in recent years. Successful brand ambassadors are turning their social media channels — and even their blogs — into part-time or full-time careers.
Brand ambassadors can be distinguished from social media influencers slightly. While some influencers may play the role of ambassador from time to time, brand ambassadors typically form long-term relationships with brands. This way, your audience is repeatedly exposed to a product and more willing to buy. Because of this, you’ll always want to be mindful of what you’re endorsing and only work with companies you truly respect.
How Much Do Brand Ambassadors Make?
The average salary of a brand ambassador is estimated to be just over $35,000 per year or about $17.25 per hour. That said, this career can definitely provide a livable wage in many cities or be a great side hustle, but it can take time before you’re booking ambassador gigs frequently and living comfortably in the career.
Eventually, as long as your engagement continues to rise and produce real results for brands, your salary can feasibly increase to $75,000 or higher. As a guideline, here’s what digital influencers are charging per social media post on a few platforms, according to Buffer:
- Instagram: $10 per 1,000 followers
- Snapchat: $10 per 1,000 followers
- YouTube: $20 per 1,000 subscribers
Influencers who have an extremely high engagement rate can often charge more, so high-quality posts that truly influence purchasing decisions should always be your goal. Most brand ambassadors aren’t living an ultra-luxurious lifestyle, as developing an engaged and sustainable community isn’t as easy as it sounds, but you really have no limit to how high your income can rise.
Still, be aware that you’ll more than likely need to file independent contractor taxes on top of your income taxes, unless you’re directly employed by the company you work for.
How to Become a Brand Ambassador: 7 Tips
Brand ambassadors don’t always start off their careers getting paid. Many start by joining brand ambassador programs that offer free products in exchange for endorsements. However, with the following tips, you’ll be able to monetize your endorsements sooner rather than later.
1. Create Your Brand
Your brand is the identity that makes you stand out to your followers. Think about your interests and what makes you different from other brand ambassadors who post about those topics. Most people who find successful careers or side hustles in social media hone in on one or two overarching topics — for example, fashion, food, beauty, or travel.
Many ambassadors even start off focusing on growing their presence on a single social media platform, though you should claim your username on other platforms, too. This makes it easier for you to grow with consistent branding later on.
As you’re developing your brand, think about your voice and your photography style as well to ensure they all align.
2. Develop a Social Media Strategy
Developing a complete social media strategy can help you grow your audience faster and stay on top of your posts. Consistency is always key when it comes to social media, so having a strategy for how frequently you’ll post, what days you’ll post, and what you’ll post about will keep you on track. You can take a look at our guide to the best times to post on social media to inform your strategy.
Your strategy should also include a hashtag strategy. Research what hashtags people in your target community are using — going beyond massive hashtags like #motivationmonday and #food that your content will drown in.
3. Engage with Your Community
The beauty of social media is that it creates opportunities to interact with millions of people from all over the world. Understanding how to become a brand ambassador involves knowing how to engage with all those people, rather than waiting for them to engage with your posts.
Start by interacting with the people who actively respond to your posts. Then, start engaging with other brand ambassadors and people who follow brands you’re interested in to start building your active community.
4. Create a Landing Page
On the business side of things, you’ll want to start a website or create a professional landing page that represents you as a brand ambassador. This landing page should include information about your brand, include any stand-out metrics you already have, and your rates. You can use this page to help marketers find you on Google or present it directly to them when you or they reach out.
If you already have a blogging website, you can create this landing page on the same domain. However, you may want the page hidden from your navigation or listed subtly in your footer, since your blog should be focused on your primary audience.
5. Reach out to Brands
When you’re first building your online presence, most brands aren’t going to reach out to you. Aspiring ambassadors must be proactive about finding brand ambassador job opportunities by pitching themselves.
We recommend starting out small. While a brand like Nike may dismiss your outreach without even looking at it, businesses in your local community might be more inclined to listen. This is because local businesses often want to target consumers directly in your area, so local influencers can actually offer exactly what they need at a lower cost than traditional advertising. Even selling just a handful of a company’s products in a month can make small business owners happy, which can earn you a glowing testimonial.
You can also look for brand ambassador programs online that are actively seeking applicants. When you do so, we recommend sticking with your goal to monetize yourself. Try to find programs that at least pay commission for every purchase and don’t require you to purchase an item to promote.
LinkedIn can also be a great tool for connecting with business owners. But no matter who you choose to reach out to, make sure you’re working with a brand you actually care about and that aligns with your brand.
6. Use Social Media Scheduling Tools
Our pro tip for maximizing productivity is using social media scheduling tools. Professional brand ambassadors and influencers depend on scheduling tools like Hootsuite, Later, and Buffer to make sure most posts are ready ahead of time and set to post in an optimal time frame.
These tools also allow you to manage your presence on many social media platforms at once, saving you time while helping you stay active and consistent.
7. Know Your Metrics
Finally, we recommend always keeping tabs on your metrics. The brands you partner with will always ask for your engagement rates, as this helps them determine how much your services are worth.
Many social media scheduling tools will help you track metrics, but you can also do so with any business social media account. As you start working with brands, track how many link clicks and sales you’re driving to prove that you can create results.
Frequently Asked Questions
Now that you’ve got our tips on how to become a brand ambassador, here are a few answers to frequently asked questions you may have:
1. Can I become a brand ambassador without a social media channel?
It’s possible, but definitely more difficult. While blog-based influencers do act as brand ambassadors once in a while, businesses frequently require at least one social media account. Plus, it’s hard to build a blog following in the first place without harnessing the power of social media.
2. What types of brands are usually looking for brand ambassadors?
Business-to-consumer (B2C) brands more frequently seek brand ambassadors than business-to-business (B2B) brands. This is because the people scrolling through social media and being influenced by brand ambassadors are largely consumers, there in their leisure time to enjoy content they love.
However, some B2B brands may use brand ambassadors where it makes sense. For example, Adobe could use brand ambassadors to market its Lightroom photo-editing software to current or aspiring photography solopreneurs on Instagram.
3. What’s the difference between a brand ambassador and brand affiliate?
The difference mainly lies in how they’re traditionally paid. Affiliate programs are almost always commission-based. Ambassador programs, on the other hand, are more likely to get free products, per-post payments, or bulk payments for their endorsements (though ambassadors can be paid by commission, too).
Monetize Your Online Presence
The internet has made it possible for just about anyone to start getting a few free perks through social media. When you develop your brand, you can upgrade from free products to cash, making money by engaging with your following to promote another company’s products or services.
If your social media presence isn’t quite strong enough to get you hired as an ambassador quite yet, you can get your feet wet by earning through commission first.