Building your TikTok presence is easier when you have an army of brand ambassadors hyping you up.
That's because ambassadors provide brands with consistent (scalable!) word-of-mouth. The more people posting about your products, the more awareness you can build.
But we'll bite: creating a brand ambassador program from scratch requires some legwork.
The good news? If you have loyal customers following your brand on TikTok, you've already done the hard part. And if not, don't panic!
This post breaks down what you need to build your TikTok ambassador program. This includes tips on structure, guidelines and effective outreach.
1. Decide What Your Brand Wants to Get Out of TikTok
First thing's first: why does your brand have a TikTok presence, anyway?
No tricks here! Given the effort involved in growing a social following, being goal-driven is crucial.
Translation? There should be a business outcome or ROI tied to your brands' time spent on TikTok. The same rules apply to your ambassador program.
You may have multiple goals in mind and that's totally fine. Some sample goals include:
Your brand's goals will determine your ambassadors' activities and program guidelines.
For example, many TikTok ambassadors will demo new products or hype up sales on behalf of brands. This approach not only builds awareness but results in valuable pieces of branded content. That content can then be repurposed or turned into TikTok ads or content for your own feed.
2. Pick the Right Type of Ambassador Program
Consider that there are several brand ambassador programs to choose from, including:
- Requirement-driven programs where ambassadors must meet engagement and content criteria.
- Affiliate programs where ambassadors receive a commission for products they promote and sell.
- College ambassador programs that specifically promote products on campuses.
- Informal programs that are unofficial and don't require an application or approval process.
Below is an example of goals and activities for Princess Polly's college ambassador program. Note their compensation structure, goals and requirements.
Source: Princess Polly
Picking the "best" really depends on the goals above. Each has its pros and cons. To dig into the specifics, check out our post on popular types of ambassador programs.
3. Figure Out Who Your Ideal Brand Ambassadors Are
Keep in mind the distinction between a TikTok ambassador versus an influencer.
A brand ambassador represents an extension of your brand. Ambassadors promote your products on an ongoing basis. Influencers typically promote brands on a campaign basis.
Unless your program is informal, you should be selective about who represents your brands. To help narrow your search, we recommend looking for TikTokers that...
- Resemble your target audience. In short, their followers should resemble your customers in terms of demographics, voice and values.
- Legitimately love your products and are fiercely loyal to your brand. Although they don't have to be existing customers, bringing on TikTokers that already know your products and what makes you unique is a huge plus.
- Earn meaningful engagement on their TikTok videos. This includes positive comments and interactions. Remember: follower count isn't everything! What matters is that your ambassadors' audience is legitimately engaged.
We recommend looking at your existing followers and fans for TikTokers who tick these boxes. Brands like Anthropologie do a great job of recruiting ambassadors that reflect their target audience. As a result, their TikToks are always on-brand and get a lot of love from their followers.
Source: @loganraehill / @brittanyleighball
4. Set Up Your Ambassador Recruitment Strategy
Despite popular belief, there's no "right" way to recruit ambassadors.
Many brands have a hybrid strategy that involves outreach and an application process. This means:
- Setting up a brand ambassador application on your website (see below).
- Linking to your program application in your social bios, marketing emails and site footer.
- Posting videos about your ambassador program (and pinning that video to your profile)
- Reposting content from your current brand ambassadors
- Promoting a TikTok hashtag for your ambassador program (ex: Anthropologie's #anthroambassador)
Source: Athletic Greens
Again, getting eyes on your program won't happen by accident. Building buzz takes time.
You can kickstart the process by finding and contacting potential TikTok ambassadors yourself. Chances are you'll be focused primarily on one-on-one outreach until your program gains momentum.
We have an in-depth post on how to contact brand ambassadors on TikTok to streamline your outreach efforts. Here are some quick pointers:
- You have to be mutual followers with someone on TikTok to DM them. If you aren't recruiting your current followers, you'll probably be focused on email outreach.
- TikTokers open to collaborations with brands will typically have an email address in their bio.
- Keep your pitches short, sweet and focused on benefits for your potential ambassadors.
Pssst! Not sure what to say in your pitch? Check out our TikTok outreach templates that can help!
5. Establish Your TikTok Brand Ambassador Guidelines
Brand ambassador guidelines are rules and expectations that creators agree to comply with. Guidelines also cover the perks and benefits of being an ambassador.
These guidelines should be set up before your partnership kicks off. Ambassador requirements vary big-time between brands and programs. That said, here are some general guidelines to consider:
Online Presence and Brand Voice
Again, TikTokers you contact should ideally align with your brand’s values.
Creators that understand your brand don't need to be micromanaged. They're also more likely to create good content from the word "go."
More importantly, every brand has specifics and non-negotiables that brand ambassadors should follow. For example, consider:
- Rules for acceptable verbiage in post captions.
- Ex: a brand may want “organic” emphasized over “natural” or “Leaping Bunny certified” versus “cruelty-free”
- Restrictions on inappropriate sounds or music used on the app
- Ex: a brand may have a strict no-profanity rule for TikTok audio
- Minimum requirements for their TikTok engagement.
- Ex: a brand may ask ambassadors to have a minimum follower count or engagement rate
Campaign Requirements and Deadlines
Brand ambassadors should be aware of set requirements and deadlines before they start posting on your behalf. .Rules and requirements will vary from campaign to campaign. You should address:
- Posting deadlines
- How many pieces of content are required per month or quarter
- Whether or not content requires approval prior to
- What accounts to @tag and #hashtags to use
- When they can expect compensation (if any)
- If they are able to partake in campaigns outside of your brand
- For example, some hair care companies may restrict partnerships with other competing brands.
- Content rights
- The duration of your partnership/agreement
If you have requirements, don't be shy about them. All of the details above are standard for any creator agreement.
FTC Rules and Regulations
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has rules regarding sponsored content and how brand ambassadors feature products in their posts. Your brand needs to have guidelines relating to these laws to avoid any potential legal headaches. This includes:
- Requiring disclosures such as #sponsored #gifted
- Address content rights and who owns what
- Specifying how long will the partnership will last
Don't forget perks as part of your ambassador program guidelines!
After all, a compelling incentive can help you attract more ambassadors faster. This includes:
- Access to in-person events
- Affiliate and/or discount codes
- Free products and PR packages
- Exclusive access to new or unreleased products
How to Grow Your Brand's TikTok Presence Faster
From cementing your company's credibility to promoting products, there are plenty of reasons to assemble your army of ambassadors on TikTok.
The program structure and guidelines provide a glimpse into what it takes to put together a program. While there are many moving pieces involved, ambassador programs are a proven way to get TikTokers talking about your products.
That said, they are other ways to scale both creator content and brand awareness on TikTok.
That's where Statusphere can help. Our turnkey influencer marketing platform matches brands with relevant TikTok creators that want to post about your products. We handle all of the heavy lifting from matchmaking and fulfillment to performance tracking and more.
Want to learn more about how the process works? Get in touch with one of our consumer-to-consumer marketing specialists to see how we can build your brand's TikTok presence faster.
This article was first published in September 2020. It was last updated October 2, 2022.