Frequently used interchangeably, there is a difference between the two. The kind of engagement they bring to the table, their extent of influence on social media, their investment of time and effort in the brand, and a lot more are what mark these two types of influencers in the marketing realm.
Brand advocates are those loyal to your brand. Be it a preference, an experience, or an emotional investment, these are those people who promote your brand willingly and freely. Unlike the other (brand ambassadors), these advocates may not have the backing of millions of followers, and may not be able to single-handedly make a company’s stock plummet, but they do have a close, tight-knit following of a family and friends who they probably hold more sway over than even the top influencer in the market today. Effectively making them, micro-influencers.
These brand advocates come in 2 types:
- Those who buy from you
- Those who work for you
Jeff Bezos once said, “If you build a great experience, customers will tell each other about it.” Judging by how Amazon is probably going run the world in the next decade or so, we think Mr. Bezos makes a valid point.
Brand loyal customers are hard to come by. Now even more so, with options and choices available for every option and choice. But once you’ve got a customer on board, you’re halfway there. It’s what the tobacco industry thrives on.
Loyal customers aren’t in it for monetary gain and will actively try to get their friends to choose you too. Their motivation? The great service you continually deliver to them.
So nurture them. Retain them. Every step of the way.
Most organizations and companies fail to understand that their most loyal brand advocates are merely a stone’s throw away. Literally speaking. From increasing social media reach, increasing awareness, visibility and the prospect of better quality leads, the employees within an organization are one of the biggest assets to any team – be it marketing or sales.
A well-structured employee advocacy program can actually take your team from a bunch of eager brand loyalists to a full-blown social media army.
Let’s come back to the tweet that dropped Snapchat’s stock by over a billion dollars in one afternoon. Brand ambassadors are the Kylie Jenner’s of the world. The ones with massive fan followings. The ones whose influence can have a staggering impact.
They are thought leaders in their industries, and their expertise can rarely be questioned.
These individuals are compensated by brands to positively promote the brand, increase awareness, and encourage their followers to adopt the brand as well.
One thing stays constant – they work based on a contract. Once the retainer stops, their influence stops as well. They’ll probably jump on your competitor’s bandwagon. Loyalty doesn’t factor in.
While we believe that the influence of both brand ambassadors and brand advocates are important, we’ll leave you with some famous words to ponder over.
Free publicity and word of mouth is probably the best and cheapest form of advertising. Learn to use it to your advantage.Richard Branson