If you want campaigns and grow your audience, it is time you become a brand advocate and not merely an influencer.
In the past few months, every time I talk to a brand for a campaign, the meeting ends up as an explanation of advocacy marketing – the thing that makes us different.
At the heart of it, Do Your Thng is not an app that acts as a matchmaker for influencers and brands. We help creators find brands they love and already support.
It’s in our name! We help you do #YourThng. For us, all of you are more than creators. You are advocates of #YourThng. That thing could be waxing rhapsody about the sustainable shoe brand Rothys or amplifying a cause like gender equality.
In a recent meeting, virtual of course, Person 2 of DYT pointed something out. If brands are unaware of this new form of influencer marketing called advocacy marketing, then chances are creators are in the dark too.
She had a point.
Although most DYT users are already brand advocates and not just influencers, they’re unaware of it. Since the power of advocacy marketing comes from you – the brand advocates – I wanted to talk about the role you play in it.
Who’s a brand advocate?
Anyone who genuinely supports, likes, defends and promotes a brand is a brand advocate.
If you go around telling your friends how great Dyson is, you’re their brand advocate. If you just posted on Instagram the excellent service Indigo provided, you’re their brand advocate.
But you don’t have to be an existing user or customer to be one. Anyone who aspires to a brand can also be an advocate.
What’s the difference between an influencer and an advocate?
An influencer will pose with ‘Yeezy’s on’ because they were paid to do so. A brand advocate will jump at the chance to get their hands on the very same Yeezy’s and wear them with pride.
The good souls at Convince & Convert made a kickass graphic that explains how brand advocates are much better than influencers. They clarify the differences brilliantly. Glance through it.
(source: Convince & Convert)
See the last difference? Incentive needed?
That’s what sets you apart from influencers. A brand advocate doesn’t need an incentive to talk about a product or service. Because they either already use the product/service or love the brand, they are happy to create content around it.
Take, for example, my recent experience with a book webstore in Canada. The folks went beyond the usual service and asked if I’d like a signed copy of the book I was buying. Apparently, the author was visiting their physical store for promotions and signing a few. I said yes, and they sent one to me for no additional cost.
This one experience made me their brand advocate. Irrespective of whether they pay me or not, I would happily endorse the website to my circle. An influencer would do it only if they are compensated.
Does this mean brand advocates are not rewarded?
Hell no! They are.
The difference is you are rewarded not for talking about the product or service but for the effort, time, and soul you put into the content.
Why should creators be brand advocates and not influencers?
I now come to the crux of this post – why any creator should strive to be a brand advocate and not only an influencer.
Influencers don’t have the firing power to drive actions. They may get vanity metrics like double taps but creating actual sales is out of their power. A brand advocate, on the other hand, can actually push people to buy something.
Why should sales matter to you? Isn’t generating awareness of a brand more than enough?
Yes, it is.
But brands are greedy. If they can collaborate with a creator who offers them awareness and sales, why won’t they? Translation: brand advocates tend to get more campaigns.
There is one more reason creators should be advocates. Advocates help their community find genuine information about brands. In other words, advocates are more helpful to their followers than influencers.
Let’s say you recently made the switch to more sustainable living and found a brand that makes eco-friendly alternatives to plastic products. Because your experience was positive, you start generating content to inform your audience.
This content is authentic. It is truly useful. Therefore, it speaks louder to people and gets shared more. Translation: brand advocates grow their audience through worthwhile content.
Influencers have given the creator community a bad rep. By encouraging DYT creators to be brand advocates, I hope to erase the notoriety and show brands the real power that comes with advocacy marketing.