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Social Media Influencers vs. Brand Ambassadors

By Kadence Influencer MarketingPublished on May 26, 2019

In the last article, we talked about what a Social Media Influencer was, and why it has become such a relevant form of marketing. In this installment we’ll look at the common misconception that Influencers and Brand Ambassadors are essentially the same things, and why this distinction can be extremely important.

Social Media Influencers vs. Brand Ambassadors

In the last article, we talked about what a Social Media Influencer was, and why it has become such a relevant form of marketing. In this installment we’ll look at the common misconception that Influencers and Brand Ambassadors are essentially the same things, and why this distinction can be extremely important.

The misconception that Influencers are essentially the same thing as Brand Ambassadors can lead to ineffective marketing strategy on the part of brands, potentially leaving money on the table, as well as missing opportunities for proper collaboration that would resonate strongly with target consumers.

Here then, are some of the key attributes of Social Media Influencers that make them unique from Brand Ambassadors:

  1. Social Media Influencers spend a lot of time shaping their own sphere of influence within an area, whether it’s beauty, business, social media marketing itself, health and wellness, or travel. It is usually something they have deep personal experience with, and this serves to transmit a level of authenticity which Brand Ambassadors might have a harder time conveying to an audience.

  2. Influencers take the time to create their own content that is organic to them and their area of expertise. This is powerful when you realize that most consumers today have grown to tune out obvious advertising and instead give more weight to reviews from persons they trust. Just ask Amazon.

  3. For the large majority of Social Media Influencers, their various platforms are their business, and they treat it as such. They guard their personal brand and work on it constantly. It is their primary focus.

  4. Most of the world’s top Instagram Influencers are not only NOT Brand Ambassadors, but they’re also likely people many of us have never even heard of (Top 25 Influencers Crushing It on Instagram).

What makes the Brand Ambassador unique then? Well:

  1. They lend their popularity to brands and companies that are not necessarily within their area of expertise. This can most easily be seen when actors, musicians or other celebrities align themselves to a product outside of what they’re primarily known for, e.g. a brand of coffee, vodka, or clothing.

  2. The time frame for a Brand Ambassador relationship is also a differentiator, as Brand Ambassadors many times enter long term contracts with companies while Social Media Influencers usually collaborate through more concentrated short-term campaigns.

  3. Long term contracts usually mean that a Brand Ambassador can act as the face of the brand/company/product or service and their likeness can be used in associated marketing material. In contrast, Social Media Influencers leverage their platforms and reach in a way that feels more like a consumer review or trusted endorsement.

  4. A Brand Ambassador partnership can result in deeper integration between the Ambassador and the brand over the long term and produce marketing campaigns, material, promotion and visibility that would be more difficult for an Influencer partnership to achieve.

Whether an Influencer or Brand Ambassador is better for your brand and its campaign depends on the goals of the campaign in question. What is certain however is that more companies should take the opportunity to integrate Influencer Marketing into their overall strategy as it can assist in accomplishing goals not achievable in the same way by other forms of marketing.