As the world of Influencer Marketing is steadily evolving, there are many new theories and terminologies which come in to force.
One theory that seems to be trending at the moment is the process of turning Influencers into Brand Advocates. Are they one and the same? Are they completely different? Can you have one without the other?
Firstly, we need to explain the difference between the two. An influencer in basic terms is a person who has influence over someone else. This could be friends, family or the wider public. The industry perception of Influencers however, is usually a Blogger, YouTuber, or Social Media Personality, usually with a larger following than your average person. A brand advocate on the other hand is someone who simply loves your brand, and isn’t afraid to share it.
So are they one in the same? Not exactly. An influencer can be a brand advocate, as they may already love the brand and speak about it without any requests from the brand itself. They may also work with a brand on a one of project and then grow to love the brand in the future. A brand advocate on the other hand, may not necessarily be an influencer within the industry sense of the world. Personally I love Beats by Dre and tell my friends how good they are on a regular basis, I’ve personally been responsible for 4 purchases through immediate friends and family. I am a brand advocate. However, it is doubtful I will have Apple on the phone asking me to co-create some content to advertise to my personal twitter following of 334 people.
The question many brands are asking, is who should we be targeting? Should we be talking to Influencers for their reach? Or should we be speaking to Advocates because they already love the brand? The answer is both. Brands should be seriously implementing a strategy to seek out and engage both Influencers and advocates.
The word “Relationships” is one of the number one words associated with Influencers and Advocates. Brands need to create relationships with both of these social groups in order to generate natural and thoughtful content.
So how do we find these people, and how do we start a relationship? This is not something you can expect to hit a home run in the first couple of weeks and be done. This is a constantly evolving process and should be implemented in to your social media strategy. Start by searching for your brand mentions on twitter and Instagram, start engaging with the people behind the posts. Thank them, ask them how can you help them create better content, share their posts. These are all small ways of creating a dialogue with your customers and helping them to feel recognised for their contributions.
As a company we at Parental Influence engage with our audience every day. We join in with their chats, offer our thoughts on their content, share it with our audience and help promote their thoughts. It takes time, but we love getting to know the people who follow us, without them, we don’t have a brand. Sometimes all it takes is a thank you.