Digital marketing has made the world a global market space, wherein, there co-exist a number of brands that are competing to catch the attention of their target audience. We hear of brand influencers and brand advocates all the time these days. For a layman, these are terms coming from the same roots and may seem no different. However, it is important to understand that they are divergent and have definitive characteristics and are meant to meet specific marketing objectives.
If you are wondering how to develop an Influencer marketing strategy for your brand, the first step starts with understanding the difference between two of its crucial components, Influencers, and advocates.
Making sense of the terms ‘Influencer’ and ‘Advocate’
An influencer is a brand in themselves. Available across various social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and so on; influencers are an important medium to reach out to a specific target audience. Influencers enable a brand to generate significant awareness. Brand influencers post reviews, pictures and experiences about a certain product or service that is viewed by their followers giving brands the awareness they seek. The influencers work with a personal interest in growing their followers and hence make sure they develop quality content around a product or service. A brand influencer replicates the traditional celebrity endorsement model in a much smaller scale and with a personal touch. Every influencer comes with his or her set of followers, who are the target audience that the brands want to reach out to. With most brand influencers engaging in paid collaborations with brands, the medium is slowly beginning to lose credibility. This poses a challenge for marketers to find innovative ways of engaging a brand influencer in a more genuine and unbiased manner.
Taking word of mouth into the digital space is what defines the role of a brand advocate in simple words. Advocates are the biggest asset to any marketing program as they love your brand and talk about it. They could be your customers, employees, stakeholders and anyone who has a connection with your product or service. A brand advocate is all for the brand, sharing his or her experience and direct interactions with the product or service. They post reviews, pictures, and stories of their personal experience sharing it purely for the affection towards the brand. Brand advocates today are one of the major influencers and hence are crucial for creating awareness about your product or service in the digital media. They may or may not have a vested interest in promoting themselves through your brand and are hence considered very genuine. Advocates are powerful influencers in themselves with an opinion that could induce a trial for someone absolutely new to your brand. Marketers today are exploring innovative ways on how to use advocates to create a buzz about the brand.
Before developing an influencer marketing plan or a program, it is extremely important for one to understand the difference between an influencer and an advocate. While a large section of the old school marketers believe that an influencer is likely to have a better reach than a brand advocate; the new age brand managers believing brand advocates to have a more effective reach. A brand advocate may reach out to a 1000 followers compared to a 10k followers that an influencer has. However, the unbiased and genuine opinion of an advocate can yield better brand conversions and induce trials as compared to paid reviews of an influencer. With the increasing reach of social media, engaging with brand advocates is becoming a need for brands of today.
Wondering how to engage with the right brand advocates to enhance your brand awareness? Connect with WOOP, a unique platform that offers authentic Word-of-mouth in a manner that is scalable, measurable and cost efficient. We help brands engage with real consumers who can be your powerful brand advocates giving you the right reviews, referrals, social media recommendations and user generated content.