Table of contents
  1. 1. What Is a Brand Advocate?
  2. 2. History
  3. 3. Advantages
  4. 4. Disadvantages
  5. 5. Relevance to influencer marketing
  6. 6. How to leverage brand advocate

What Is a Brand Advocate?

A brand advocate is a customer or employee who loves a brand and speaks positively about it with others. They recommend the brand without compensation. Some businesses choose to compensate brand advocates to continue the good relationship. They may offer them a discount, a free item, or insider information to help maintain their loyalty. These individuals, however, tend to be so passionate about the brand that they remain loyal even through the bad times without any incentives. 

Influencers can be brand advocates, and brand advocates can turn into influencers. It's beneficial to have a brand advocate that's also an influencer because not only are they willing to recommend your brand free but they have influence over a lot of people. 

 

History

Brand advocacy is as old as the concept of businesses. As long as there are multiple businesses to choose from, some people will become passionate fans of those businesses. When they communicate with their friends and family, they speak positively about the brands they love when it relates to the conversation. 

The power of brand advocacy has increased over the years as competition increases and with the invention of blogs and social networking sites. Blogs and social media have given brand advocates reach beyond their immediate circle. They can reach hundreds of thousands of people across the globe. Authenticity, an important characteristic to millennials, is becoming more important in business. And brand advocacy is authentic since the advocates choose to promote the brand without incentives. 

Brand advocacy will continue to be an effective way of promoting a brand through word of mouth marketing. People trust the opinions of their peers more than corporate messages. Brands are starting to pay more attention to employees as advocates as well rather than just customers. 

 

Advantages

  • More valuable than an average customer: According to Conenza, a brand advocate is five times as valuable as the average customer. They not only loyally buy from the brand but they actively promote it too. If you can manage to turn an influencer into a brand advocate, then the results are amplified because they'll have a larger audience listening to them. 
  • Free: Businesses don't need to pay brand advocates because these individuals love the brand enough to say positive things about it and recommend it when someone in their social circle needs shopping advice. 
  • They don't have to make disclosures: When a brand pays an influencer to promote their brand, by U.S. law, the influencer must disclose that they are being compensated. Brand advocates don't need disclosures because they don't receive anything in return. Because brand advocates aren't compensated, their opinions are viewed as the most authentic

 

Disadvantages

  • Not as much reach as influencers: Most brand advocates don't have as much reach as influencers. They are just normal consumers who love the brand. On social media such as Instagram, they may only have a few dozen or hundreds of followers. 
  • Hard to identify them: Especially for well-known international brands, it's hard to target a specific brand advocate in real life as well as on social media. 

 

Relevance to influencer marketing

Influencer marketing and influencer management professionals should know about brand advocates because if they implement certain strategies, they may successfully turn some influencers into advocates. If an influencer hasn't tried a brand before and gives it a try to determine whether or not they can agree to promote it, they just might fall in love. 

Marketers and businesses also need to ensure the conditions are optimal for customers and employees to become advocates. The combined results are powerful in terms of sales and customer loyalty. Influencer management professionals should do what they can to help turn influencers into brand advocates for generating an even higher ROI for the brand. 

 

How to leverage brand advocate

  • Interact with customers on social media: Every time someone gives one's brand a shout out or a positive review, thank them. They will feel happy that they were noticed because it shows the brand cares. It can improve their opinion of the brand, leading to brand advocacy. Don't ignore all of the negative comments either. Righting wrongs reflects well on the brand and can turn a negative opinion into a positive one. Also, answer all the questions to show customers the business listens and gets back to its customers. 
  • Connect with influencers: Marketers and business owners should work on building relationships with influencers in their industry. Don't just work on it online. If an influencer is in town, invite them out for coffee. Over time as they build a positive relationship with the brand, they may become an advocate. Influencer marketing platform such as InfluencerDB can support marketers to find and to analyze social media influencers. 
  • Feature brand advocates: Another effective way of encouraging brand advocacy is to feature customers on the company website or company's social media page. There are many different routes of going about this, such as contests or letting passionate fans of the brand have the spotlight to promote their own talents. 
  • Contact popular bloggers/ Influencers for reviews: Brands can contact popular bloggers asking them to review their products if they send a sample or a free item for review. Although the blogger will have to disclose the fact they were compensated in the review, they may end up loving the brand and becoming an advocate.