Three months back, we wrote a blog that made the bold statement: don’t be an influencer, be a brand advocate. A lot of creators agreed with it. But just as many were confused. They wanted to know what is the difference between the two.
So, with that in mind, we give you the ultimate battle — brand advocates vs influencers.
What Is The Difference Between Brand Advocates And Influencers?
Superficially, brand advocates and influencers seem similar. After all, they both refer a brand to the masses. But when you peel the onion layers, you see the difference. Many differences. All of them hinge on two points — how they refer to a brand and why they do it?
Who is an influencer?
An influencer is anyone who has the capacity to affect the behaviour of others. They often create original, authentic content around a specific niche. They are one of the best ways to reach a lot of audiences.
That said, they come under paid advertising just like TV ads and billboards. Brands pay them to access their following. When the payments stop, the access stops.
That’s why influencers have a ‘pay to play’ perception and the reason for only 46% of people trusting what social media influencers say.
Who is a brand advocate?
A brand advocate is anyone who is a fan of the brand. They either dream of owning the brand one day or have already used it. Often, they are blown away by the quality or customer service of the brand.
These everyday Janes and Joes are not paid to talk about a brand. They do it out of passion and need to share their excitement (although it never hurts to reward brand advocates).
The only criterion is an eagerness to be vocal about a brand, which means anyone can be a brand advocate:
- A creator who loves the brand
- A happy customer or
- Even an employee.
Brand Advocates Versus Influencers
InfluencersDifferenceBrand AdvocatesMotivated by growing their audience.MotivationDriven by promoting a brand or its products.Mismatch between a business and an influencer hurts the credibility of both.CredibilityA brand and an advocate never force-fit, so credibility remains intact.Work in short-term with influencer campaigns fading from memory.TimelineWork in long-term with their earnestness leaving a deep memory.
All recommendations are based purely on monetary compensation, with rates being expensive.
CostDon’t run after monetary compensation for their content, with rates being very affordable.Have more reach but are far less trusted by followers.ReachHave smaller reach, but trust levels are through the roof.
Can generate awareness, but lack the power to drive action for brands.
ActionCan generate awareness and also contribute to lead generation and sales.Speak the language of the brand, which doesn’t resonate with customers.VoiceSpeak in the language customers, which people relate to.Rarely familiar with the brand, product or service.FamiliarityIntimately familiar with the brand, product or service and how they work.Often have fake followers and lack genuine content, reducing trust rate to just 46%.AuthenticityFree of fake following and producing authentic content, jumping trust rate to 84%.
Brand Advocates Are Word Of Mouth On Steroids
There is a world of difference between brand advocates and influencers at the granular level. Advocates come under earned influencer marketing, while influencers fall within paid marketing. And that says it all.
No matter how advances marketing may become, as people, we still rely on word of mouth the most. 74% of consumers say that references from family, friends, and colleagues are important when buying something.
That’s what brand advocates deliver — word of mouth hopped on steroids. Their opinions are genuine, so besides generating awareness, they also create leads and sales. Moreover, their credibility is never in question. Because they don’t appear as sellouts, the brand isn’t perceived as insincere!
So, now the question is, how do you weed brand advocates from influencers? Well, here’s our humble brag and shameless plug. You collaborate with DYT, and we identify your advocates using our tech!