influencer outreach

Social Media Webinar: Influencers or Brand Advocates: Who Carries the Real Clout?

Webinar Recording: Influencers or Brand Advocates: Who Carries the Real Clout? Companies today are investing in Influencer outreach strategies in hopes that a known name can deliver their message to a vast audience. 40,000 blog subscribers may look tempting, but many brands are sitting right on top of an untapped digital gold mine: their own Brand Advocates. These highly satisfied customers are eager and willing to share their positive brand experiences, defend companies from negative Word of Mouth, and deliver new customers. As marketers are developing both influencer outreach and brand advocacy strategies, it’s important to understand the characteristics, motivations, and objectives behind engaging these two segments.

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Key Takeaways:

  • Don't confuse reach with influence. True influence drives action.
  • The motivations for influencers and Advocates are different. Influencers typically need some sort of perk, discount, or free trial to endorse a product. Advocates recommend because they've had great experiences and want to help others.
  • 22% trust bloggers. 44% trust media. 92% trust Brand Advocates.
  • Make influencers part of your movement. Demonstrate to influencers the relationship is a two-way street.
  • Reciprocal altruism is the core way to inspire advocacy. Embracing this idea is essential.
  • Leverage Advocate-generated content smartly. Put it in the purchase path- on your website, third party review sites, social media channels, etc.
  • True advocacy cannot be purchased or manufactured. It can only be earned.
  • Advocacy builds greater long-term business value for businesses than influencer programs. Influencers create a momentary spike in awareness.
  • Who's best at what? Use influencers for awareness and Advocates to drive sales. Build a camp of Advocates first.

Expert Speakers:

Jay Baer (@jaybaer), Social Media Strategist/Speaker, Convince & Convert and author of “The NOW Revolution, 7 Shifts to Make Your Business Faster, Smarter, and More Social (Wiley, 2011)

Jay Baer is a hype-free content strategist, speaker, and author. He founded the social and content accelerator firm Convince & Convert in 2008. It is the fifth marketing services firm he’s started or managed. Jay is a renowned and popular social media keynote speaker, delivering as many as 100 insightful, memorable, interesting and hilarious presentations each year to groups as large as 5,000. He’s also co-author of The NOW Revolution, 7 Shifts to Make Your Business Faster, Smarter, and More Social (Wiley, 2011) a leading book on social business, and an Amazon category best-seller.

Michael Brito (@britopian), SVP of Social Business, Edelman Digital and author of “Smart Business, Social Business: A Playbook for Social Media in Your Organization” (Que, 2011)

Michael Brito currently works for Edelman Digital as a Senior Vice President of Social Business. He is responsible for helping his clients socialize their organization and at the same time operationalize their social media initiatives internally. He is the author of Smart Business, Social Business: A Playbook For Social Media In The Organization.

Rob Fuggetta (@robfuggetta), Founder/CEO, Zuberance and author of “Brand Advocates: Turning Enthusiastic Customers into a Powerful Marketing Force” (Wiley, 2012)

Rob Fuggetta is the world’s leading expert on brand advocacy. Fuggetta is the author of the ground-breaking new book, “Brand Advocates: Turning Enthusiastic Customers into a Powerful Marketing Force” (John H. Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2012) Fuggetta is the Founder & CEO of Zuberance, a social media marketing company that powers Brand Advocate programs for top consumer and business brands. Prior to founding Zuberance in 2008, Fuggetta was the Chief Marketing Officer at Genuity, a Verizon spin-out. He also was formerly a partner at Regis McKenna, Inc., the legendary high tech marketing and communications firm in Palo Alto, where he co-led the global Apple account.

[Infographic] Influencers vs Brand Advocates & Why Influencer Outreach is Overrated

Many marketers are investing in Influencer outreach strategies in hopes that a known name can deliver their message to a vast audience. 40,000 Twitter followers may look tempting, but don't overlook your own satisfied customers, your genuine Brand Advocates. While their networks may be smaller, their enthusiasm is greater and their recommendations drive real business. We teamed up with Jay Baer, Founder of Convince & Convert, and created the Infographic below to show what makes Influencers and Brand Advocates different and why Influencer outreach is overrated.

(Click here to enlarge.)

Short-Term Lease vs Long-Term Relationship: The Difference Between Influencers & Advocates

I’ve written about the topic of Influencers and Advocates previously, but after reading Jay Baer’s recent post on “Why Online Influencer Outreach is Overrated,” (I 100% agree!) and since advocacy is truly becoming top of mind for marketers, I thought I’d throw in another two cents. Let's back up and first look at what defines an Advocate and an Influencer. I've heard many people interchangeably use these terms when in fact, the two groups have very different characteristics and motivations as you can see from the chart below.

(Click here to enlarge)

 

In general, Influencers are defined by the size of their audience (Twitter followers, blog subscribers, etc) whereas Advocates are defined by their genuine satisfaction with specific brands and products. Now, this is not to say that an Influencer cannot be an authentic Advocate for your brand. In fact, when this happens (rarely), you’ve hit the jackpot!

Influencer Outreach vs Advocacy Marketing

The challenge of an Influencer outreach strategy is that Influencers have their own agenda. Out of the all of the companies throwing free trials or perks at them, they’ll choose to promote a company/product if it aligns with their goal: to build their personal brand. By getting an Influencer to tweet or blog about them, brands are “renting the conversation” as Edelman Digital's Michael Brito says. And unfortunately, it’s often a very short-term lease. After one tweet or mention in a blog post, they're on to the next company or product that's showing them love.

The beauty of a brand advocacy strategy is that it’s mutually beneficial; you want to drive awareness about your products (and ultimately sales), and your Advocates are more than willing to help you out. As our CEO, Rob Fuggetta, puts it, "Advocates crave engagement from your brand." They want to be the first to know about a new product feature or event you’re hosting, and you don’t have to give them a free trial or even a free key chain to tell their networks about it. Advocates are there to promote, support, and even defend your brand.

Now, I’m not saying that all influencer outreach strategies should be left behind because there is certainly room for both an influencer and advocacy strategy in a brand’s overall marketing mix. But brands need to consider the outcome of each strategy. Jay Baer put it perfectly: "True influence drives action." So what will drive action for your brand? A short-term rented conversation or a long-term authentic relationship with your Advocates?

What are your thoughts on Influencers and Advocates? We'd love to hear to hear your comments below!

-Cara Fuggetta, Marketing Manager, Zuberance