In the realm of social media, we have, many times over, heard the word “influencer.” Last month, we even wrote a blog about why using the help of an influencer is a great tool, although sometimes difficult to navigate. One of the reasons as to why it can be hard is because you can’t always control what an influencer does with your product (or how they conduct themselves for that matter).
Choosing someone to represent your brand or get the word out about how awesome your business is can be a time-consuming task. And as with all time-consuming tasks, many brands want to opt for something easier or more efficient. You want to know the short cut? It’s called a Brand Advocate.
Talk that isn’t cheap
Word of mouth is one of the best ways to spread the … well … word about your business. But this isn’t because people love to listen to random people spouting off facts about an industry or product. When word of your brand is spread by someone who knows and loves your product of service, other people will naturally tend to wonder if it could do the same for them. A brand advocate is just that: someone who has used your product or knows your service and really likes it; they want to help you spread the word. Sometimes we call a brand advocate an “evangelist.” They are in the top five percent of your clients in terms of loyalty; you can count on them to be return customers, even in the face of a price increase or maybe even an occasional poor customer service experience.
Whereas the use of influencers can feel a bit contrived and commercial, brand advocacy is more organic. Your advocate will continue supporting and using your brand, all while letting their followers know of their loyalty. There is a time and place for both an influencer or brand advocate and one or both may not work for every business. Determining this requires you to know your consumer and keep your SMART goals in mind.
Is a brand advocate a good strategy for your business?
If you are aiming to reach a wider audience and want to get your brand’s name out to as many people as possible, brand advocacy may not be the way to go. An influencer is focused on gaining as many followers as they can, so anything they put out on their social media account will have a large impact. Influencers expect some form of payment, and you will need to negotiate a contract so that your brand is protected. We don’t mean that influencers will necessarily take advantage of you, but since they may not be familiar with your brand yet, you will need to give them a good idea of how you want your business to be portrayed in the online world.
A brand advocate, in contrast, is not paid. Instead, they are simply an enthusiastic fan. Because they are not an influencer, they may have a smaller following. Many companies will have current customers, employees, leadership, and company partners perform the role of advocate on social media. If you have ever asked your employees to share a company event or product on their page or account, for example, then you are already making use of brand advocacy.
Brand advocates support your company’s growth by sharing their (hopefully positive) experience with your brand. Even though they may not have the following an influencer is likely to have, their honest opinion can be invaluable in gaining new customers. And because they WANT to help you spread the word, they will most likely succeed in bringing in a new and loyal audience.
It doesn’t hurt to try
If someone is already popping into your mind that may be a great brand advocate, there is no harm in testing out the waters now. If you are ready to share your brand’s social content with a larger audience, spreading the word through advocacy will be a great jumping off point to boost your followers and potential for customer growth.
Don’t take our word for it (although you should since this is what we do for a living). Go forth and spread the word like wildfire!