Influencers VS Advocates
If you talk to anyone who works in marketing, they will tell you that word-of-mouth is king (or queen). Look at your own shopping habits for example. When you make an online purchase, chances are you’re going to read a few reviews from others that have used that product or service. Or when you’re looking for a solution, you might turn to your friends or family as your trusted advisors. Purchasing products or booking services has never been easier or more overwhelming – especially when almost every platform you use offers a virtual shopping experience.
Social media has given anyone who wants to have a presence or voice the platforms to do so and it’s been growing exponentially for years. Most people do this on their own merit, sharing their thoughts, opinions, and experiences with just about anything. Some are very good at it and are driven to make money doing it - enter the world of influencers.
Social media influencers are folks that have built an online reputation for their knowledge on a specific topic – they make regular posts and generate large followings of people who pay close attention to their outlooks and views, making it easy to persuade others based on their recommendations as a trusted advisor. But what happens when the influencers are being influenced to influence you?
Let’s be real – it's about making money for influencers. Once they reach a critical mass, marketers begin paying these social media celebrities to relay messages on their behalf and there is your tipping point. The difference between influencers and advocates is simple – influencers are paid promoters but advocates truly believe in the product or service they are promoting regardless of a paycheck.
When much of social media is about posting content and images that can be edited or altered, it loses its realness. We’re all being fed a false view of what is “normal” – from lifestyle, to appearance, and everything in between (very Mad Men-esque). In the age of seeing nearly 10,000 ads a day, which do you think has more value? How do we know what’s authentic? The truth is that word-of-mouth loses its meaning when heard through influencers.
Marketing through advocacy (what we call ‘soul marketing’), is the process of harnessing the voices and experiences of your customers to fuel your engagement strategy. Essentially, make your customers happy and they will do the rest – hello natural word-of-mouth. Soul marketing is more authentic than influencer marketing because it’s powered by real human connections, which can increase customer engagement, retention, and growth. While it’s true that celebrity endorsements can work, it’s expensive, risky, and less authentic – think of that strategy as equivalent to a marketing get rich quick scheme.
We’ll leave you with something to think about: if an influencer becomes a true advocate for something they feel passionate about, how will anyone know they are being authentic?
Soul Marketing is all about turning your customers into fans, and your fans into advocates. It’s about the authenticity and realness of your brand and the way you make people feel. If you’re wondering about how to turn your customers into advocates, call us! We’re really good at it😉