In the age of digital consumerism (and soon, metaverse consumerism), brand ambassadors are playing important roles in creating personalized marketing campaigns on social media sites like Instagram and TikTok that cultivates a personal relationship between a potential customer and a particular brand.
In learning how to become a brand ambassador you need to recognize that the quality of every product or service might not be enough for consumers to be fully aware of its tangible value. A reputable brand ambassador knows how to act as a catalyst in “humanizing a brand,” and also, demonstrating its value while ensuring the messaging being presented on social media is circulated by the target audience.
Influencers, content writers, and marketers with large social media presences on sites like TikTok and Instagram are often approached by reputable brands to act as a brand ambassador. But lately, some of these requests have proven to be shady.
According to a new report, no matter how few or many followers you have on Instagram or any other popular social media platform, there’s a decent chance you’ve received a DM or direct message from some unknown account.
The message might read along the lines of, “Hey there, I’m on the promotion team for (brand name here). We’d love for you to become one of our brand ambassadors. Go ahead and DM the brand so you can find out more.”
All too often the DMs originate from an account with no profile picture and very few if any followers. On occasion, the DM will urge you to “Hurry, since there are only a few spaces left!” Yet other times they might ask you to “DM to collab” beneath a photo instead of messaging directly.
You might at first be flattered that a marketing and/or influencing professional has actually viewed your social media presence and chosen you as the perfect candidate to be a brand ambassador for an accessories and/or clothing company.
You might even get caught up in the vision of starting a very lucrative career as a “social media influencer.” But the reality of the situation is that this will likely not happen.
Criminals and Rogue Traders
Says an expert from the UK National Trading Standards eCrime Team, brand collaboration has evolved into a “popular attention-grabbing technique” among genuine influences on social media and many popular brands.
But unfortunately, much like many other totally legitimate marketing techniques, it has been hijacked by criminals and rogue traders who are looking for one thing and one thing only: easy money.
Criminals will misuse the DM technique to scam, trap, or at the very least, mislead both consumers and businesses.
Tactics Inspired by the COVID-19 Pandemic
According to the CEO of Young Enterprise, cyber criminals have taken on tactics that were inspired by the recent COVID-19 pandemic. That is, a recenttrend is “fake brand collaboration requests” from folks who look like their representing a legitimate brand and therefore offering work that pays well.
Most of the time these offers are coming from false or fake accounts that belong to bots and/or people who do not work for a legitimate brand, but instead, are trying to get bamboozle you into pushing cheap knockoff products.
Products that Don’t Exist
On the surface, it might seem like a legitimate brand is willing to pay you well to promote their products as a brand ambassador, as would be the case in a true offer of collaboration. But “DM to collab” scammers will require you to buy cheap goods at a “discounted rate” while paying exorbitant postage prices.
Some unknowing Instagram users will be flooded with offers for purchasing products that in all likelihood do not even exist. Small influencers usually become the target of scammers. Even if you do not have a lot of followers, you can still be a target for a criminal.
That’s because they target a wide variety of dedicated social media users. However, those who routinely follow popular brands, influencers, and celebrities are particularly susceptible to the gross misuse of brand collaboration.
In the End
Sadly, there’s no existing way of totally ruling out the chance that a particular brand you know and love will DM you with a lucrative offer to work for them as a brand ambassador.
Until there comes a time to weed out the criminal element, it’s a best practice to treat any brand ambassadorship offer not only with a grain of salt, but real caution, especially if they ask you for an upfront payment.