Influencer marketing seems to be overshadowing the tried and true practice of building brand advocates. It is the latest trend across social media… and it makes a lot of sense why. Social media platforms provide millions of people with the opportunity to share just about anything… personal news, product reviews, likes and dislikes, business opportunities, product news, promotions, job recommendations… really, just about anything. Never before has there been such an open and robust forum for voices to be heard and opinions to be amplified. Whether it be personal interactions or business transactions or something in between – the Internet provides us all with the ability to search, share, engage and interact openly. In a sense, we all have the opportunity to be influencers at any given time. But, with all the buzz about influencer marketing, businesses shouldn’t lose sight of the significance of nurturing true brand advocates for their business. Here’s why…
While many companies are quickly realizing that influencer marketing can open new doors to getting their messages to a wider audience, it shouldn’t replace the efforts of building brand advocates. The key drawback to relying on “influencers” to build your brand awareness and generate leads is that influencer marketing is typically seen as a campaign – a tactic that isn’t a long-term viable solution. It’s a business transaction that is meant to seem like something more natural. Sometimes it works… and often times it doesn’t. For influencer marketing to be effective, it has to be believable… and that is where many brands fail.
Building brand advocates, on the other hand, is all about developing more personal and humanized relationships with your core audience. It’s about building that ever important KNOW-LIKE-TRUST factor with fans, friends, followers, subscribers and extended social circles. Instead of telling your “influencers” what to say about you, they form their own positive opinions based solely on the love they have for your brand. These brand loyalists become a vast treasure trove to companies and brands who embrace the opportunity to engage.
Customers who are true brand advocates – the “brandvocates” – do a world of social good for such companies… spreading their love, devotion and enthusiasm across their multiple networks. Their impact has the potential to be quite powerful.
So who is a brand advocate? These are the people who not only like your brand – they love it. They tweet, post, blog, comment, recommend, like, promote and just generally share the praises of your brand, your products and/or your services.