As a marketer, understanding the differences between brand advocates and affiliates can be crucial for driving sales. Brand advocacy programs are designed to foster loyalty among customers, while affiliate marketing aims to create relationships with industry influencers to reach new audiences. Both approaches work in tandem to increase customer engagement and drive conversions. In this post, we’ll look at each type of program, how they differ, and what you need to do to get started with either one. By the end of this blog on the difference between brand advocates vs. affiliates, you’ll better grasp which program is right for your business.
What are brand advocates?
Brand advocates and affiliates have many similarities. Brand advocates are loyal customers who use their platforms to share what they love, including products and brands. Brand advocates share their genuine appreciation for brands without being paid. Their appreciation for a brand’s products shines through in their content. With no intention of being paid, brand advocates strive to influence their audiences to purchase products that better their everyday experiences.
What are some differences between brand advocates and affiliates?
Brand advocates and affiliates also differ in many ways. Here are ways that brand advocates differ from affiliates:
They are not compensated for their promotional content
One of the major differences is that brand advocates typically are not paid to promote a brand’s products. Advocates share the products and services they use and love. Discounts or other ways may sometimes incentivize them, but there is generally no expectation to be compensated.
Their advocacy stems from genuine appreciation of brands
When working with brand advocates, you never have to doubt whether or not they truly support your business and products. Their appreciation stems from their experiences with your products and is highlighted in the reviews, tutorials, and posts they share with their audiences.
Brand advocates are often more trusted by social media users
Because they are not compensated, advocates are often more trusted as they come off more authentically to their audiences. Their authenticity is clear, as they represent a brand for free, with the only goal being to share with others what they enjoy.
They can be anyone passionate about the brand
The beauty of working with brand advocates is that there is no requirement concerning following counts and platform statistics. Anyone and everyone can become a brand advocate simply by advocating for their favorite brands on their own personal platforms.
They are a cost-effective method of influencer marketing
When considering cost-effective methods of influencer marketing, teaming up with brand advocates is a great way to save money and boost brand awareness at the same time. They share a passion for a brand’s products for free, helping brands tap into new audiences.
What are affiliates?
Affiliates are often influencers, but not always. These types of influencers are also advocates in a way, as they create content highlighting their favorite brands, too. What are some differences in working with affiliates?
Affiliates are compensated
Brands offer affiliates compensation for driving sales and signups from unique tracking links. They differ from brand advocates in this regard.
They are often paid to refer customers to specific brands
To succeed, affiliates typically need bigger audiences than brand advocates to earn money. Affiliates are often influential people in specific fields. Marketers, for example, can become affiliates for software products they use and share those on platforms like LinkedIn with audiences who are interested in the topic. These influencers are paid a commission when people purchase from the brands they promote.
They can often reach out to brands to form a working relationship
Affiliates can reach out to brands and work with them on sponsored social media content, including payment for content and affiliate commissions.
While both types of creators are beneficial in many marketing strategies, they differ, and it is essential to understand them.