The terms influencer and advocate often get thrown together and some may think that they’re interchangeable. But they aren’t. Both roles are very different, and they both have different goals and intentions. Simply put, influencers are in it for themselves while advocates work for you. Working with both could help, but there are cases when only an advocate could help, and vice versa. Let’s take an in-depth look at the differences between the two and which one you should go for.
What is Influencer Marketing Anyway?
When someone uses influencer marketing, it means that they’re partnering up with someone who already has a sizable audience. We use the term partnering up loosely since the influencer isn’t obligated to do anything but mention your product or service. They have no obligation to like it. At this point, this would be an advertisement. They could be required to do some product placement, however, or make a review in the format of your choice.
Evidently, you have to choose influencers who you think will appreciate your product or brand and will want to sing its praises. This is where their role becomes similar to advocates. But it isn’t guaranteed that they will like your product and it could eventually backfire if they have serious gripes with it.
What are Brand Advocates?
Brand advocates are not workers. Instead, they are clients that are so appreciative of what you do that they will be willing to sell your product or services to others unsolicited. It’s a modern version of word-of-mouth marketing.
What makes brand advocates so powerful is social proof. Research has shown that people are more likely to make purchase decisions after recommendations from people in their social circle. Advocates become opinion leaders within their group and can help you get referrals, introduce new products, boost interest for product launches, or even get directly involved in the research and development stage.
What About Brand Ambassadors?
This is also a term that gets conflated with influencers and advocates, but ambassadors are different. Unlike influencers, it is their job to promote your brand. However, unlike advocates, ambassadors will be paid for their work. Ambassadors can drive efforts and help you reach objectives with more predictability, but campaigns have to be executed properly to get results.
Can Ambassadors and Advocates Work Together?
Of course! Actually, this is when they become more powerful. Advocates can be great content creators, and if you can find a way for ambassadors to collect, manage, and re-use this content in your social media campaigns, then you will be able to harness the power of both. Brand ambassador management software streamlines social content development and sharing and will allow you to gather content from a network of advocates, ambassadors, and even employees to boost engagement and traction for your brand across all platforms.
Influencers, ambassadors, and advocates play very different roles. This doesn’t mean, however, that they can’t complement each other, so try to see where each could help.