In the past year, I've noticed more and more of my followers sharing discount codes for 10% off supplements, apparel or other fitness related items. I always thought from the outside looking in that this was something special and they were hand picked by a company and were special people whom received major benefits and freebies.... Boy, was I wrong, I'd like to preface this article with a few things.
1. There is nothing wrong with being an ambassador when you are doing it for the right reasons.
2. This isn't just based off my opinion, but facts and experience. I was a paid brand ambassador for Cengage Learning, Amazon, and Mountain Dew. I was also a sponsored athlete for a fitness apparel company and have worked with a few companies receiving free items to distribute and promote.
So what does it actually mean to be a brand ambassador? You are essentially a person hired or contracted by a company to promote and share the company positively and sincerely to your network, community, and peers. While paid ambassadors/endorsers do exist, for this article I will be focusing on unpaid positions. That being said, and I cannot stress the importance of point number one enough.
1. You should ONLY be an ambassador for companies you actually use and like.
As a sponsored athlete I had a year contract, I was almost glad it ended. While I enjoyed the free clothes, I found myself forced to post as it was definitely not something I was very passionate about. I was required to take specific photos in the gear and post a few times a month. I have integrity and find it very difficult to rave over a product or item of clothing I am not that excited about. If you don't enjoy or like a product it seems like a no brainer, don't waste your time.. duh. However, with the rise in popularity of being the holder of a discount code, the concept of integrity has changed along the way.
2. Watch out for scammers who just want "free marketing"
I decided I wanted to share my experience as an ambassador about a month ago, during that time I applied to 10... yes TEN ambassador programs for this blog. Of the 10 I actually stuck with 1 unintentionally, it ended up being a totally awesome company. I tested their products before committing and was very satisfied. The other 9, not so much, while I won't name the companies, they were mostly apparel and 2 were supplement companies. They all offered a range of 15%-20% off, and you're not vetted but almost immediately admitted into their program. So I then went further and looked at their Instagram page history to see what kind of sales they would have and they were almost always higher than what they offer their ambassadors. That's a problem, I wont post twice a month and market for a company that gives regular discounts to people Who don't do that. If you're just wanting to be an ambassador for the company cause you love it, go for it. If not, think twice, and ask yourself a question of value, "is this worth it?"
3. Don't do it for the payout
I have yet to come across that many people who expect huge payouts for being an ambassador, but I have come across a few. Usually you get a code which is 10% off and that literally is not an easy sale to push. While I'm not saying you wont make some profit but your cut is usually 10-20% of the items sold and with most companies I've seen and 20% is pushing it. Most companies you signup for their mailing list and can get the same discount you have in your bio. There is also a threshold usually of cashing out, where you have to hit a certain number before requesting your money. This ties into being an actual lover or user of the brand. If you truly like the company and the products then the payout isn't the main focus but just a plus if you sell something through your personalized link or discount code. If you're looking to make money try being an influencer instead or a paid ambassador.
4. Sponsorship vs. Brand Ambassador
Plot twist, they aren't the same.
I've been a paid ambassador, an unpaid ambassador, and I've been sponsored. While they have some similarities they are NOT the same.
As a sponsored athlete I had a contract, I could not be an ambassador or sponsored by another company that made apparel from the same materials. I also had a term in which I served under that contract for a year. Social media posts were still required, still has to use their @ name and hashtag.
As an ambassador, just talk positive about the company, be honest and post your required pics. Likely, you wont get anything for free (sometimes I have ), but you will get a discount which is nice. Social media posts were still required with their @ name and hashtag.
As a paid ambassador I received a 1099 when tax season came around, I had direct deposit and I had to work a certain amount of hours within a week. I had a specific shirt to wear and was sent freebies to give out (samples, lanyards, etc) and of course still had to post of social media and use the @ to their name and hashtag.
There was a lot more to each role but that is the short version. Online they can all look the same online from the outside, but if you're picking your fit. Understand they are all very different and some are easier to get selected while others are more difficult.
5. No matter what you choose don't be an aggressive sales person
Last week, I posted on social media about something and even stated I wasn't looking for products and I got so many DM's from people urging me to use their codes or buy from their link or etc. I wasn't seeking to buy anything it was just a post. I honestly felt attacked, as a consumer it's overwhelming to be constantly poked at by someone who is pushing their product on you. I know some people teach the "get 3 no's before you stop asking" method (I used to work retail, don't get me started) but that is super outdated and annoying. Pay attention to body language and non verbal cues, if someone simply is not interested and seems uncomfortable back off. If they seem on the edge or unsure, don't come off insincere or aggressive, level with them and get them to believe why they want to say yes. I've unfollowed obsessive post 24/7 about my codes, here's my discount auto bot DM people because it's annoying and a turn off to the product. With that mindset you're essentially shooting yourself in the foot.
Regardless, be honest and sincere, don't over commit to too many companies, having 4-5 codes for different companies is a good happy medium. Keep your companies diverse, you can't swear over two leggings companies being the absolute best. Being an ambassador is a cool opportunity to support a company you love and get some perks while you're doing it!