What is a Brand Advocate and How Do You Find Them?
In a world of ads and influencers, and having the ability to read and publish reviews in a matter of seconds, it’s more difficult than ever to get your brand to stand out from the crowd no matter how brilliant your brand is. This is where brand advocates can help.
Having reliable and dedicated brand advocates is beneficial for any business, no matter the size or industry. Brand advocates can help amplify your brand and in turn, boost your sales and enhance your reputation. Discover in detail why brand advocates are so important in our article, 5 ways brand advocacy can benefit you.
What is a brand advocate?
A brand advocate is someone who uses various marketing methods to promote your brand. From powerful, word of mouth marketing to sharing different types of content on their social channels, there are many ways brand advocates can help to elevate your brand.
Any marketing activity conducted by brand advocates is known as brand advocacy. Brand advocacy refers to any behaviour that involves a customer supporting or recommending the brand that they love.
Brand advocates are real people who love using your brand’s products or services, and genuinely believe in your brand. A brand advocate generally includes anyone who actively promotes and supports your brand.
This can include:
Customers can make the most powerful of advocates because they genuinely use and love your products or services. They aren’t affiliated with your brand in any way which makes their support genuine and influential to other potential customers.
Employees are naturally immersed in your business and can help elevate your brand from a unique angle. They can share positive experiences about their work life, and act as an expert by offering insider knowledge of the brand and its products or services.
Industry experts and professionals
This includes authority figures in the industry you operate in. Industry experts and professionals may not be direct customers but their knowledge of what is and isn't proving successful in a particular space can be powerful.
Experts don't need to be self-styled gurus on LinkedIn – think about people who are the cream of the crop in their field. This can extend to:
- High-performance athletes in the sports industry
- Trusted makeup artists in the cosmetics industry
- Explorers who are figureheads in the outdoor/adventure industry
Forming strong and loyal partnerships with other businesses can lead them to be natural advocates to your brand.
Business partners turned brand advocates could include those that offer complementary services that are not direct competition in terms of product/service but do share a similar audience and target market.
Whether you have a partner with an organisation or charity, they can help spread good word about your brand and influence purchasing decisions.
Brand advocates promote and elevate your brand using various marketing methods, including:
One way that advocates promote your brand is via word-of-mouth marketing, in which they spread good word about your brand to their loved ones, online network or community.
Word of mouth marketing remains to be one of the most powerful ways to influence purchasing decisions. This is highlighted in the Chatter Matters Word of Mouth report which reveals that word-of-mouth is directly responsible for 19% of all purchases, and influences as much as 90%.
Brand advocates can also publish glowing reviews about your brand, your products or services. Reviews can also heavily influence customers' purchasing decisions. In fact, 9 out of 10 global consumers read online reviews before making an online purchase, according to a study conducted by Trustpilot.
Another study by BrightLocal shows that 49% trust consumer reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends and family. Having loyal brand advocates who publish authentic, genuine reviews of a positive nature can really help boost your brand's reputation and increase trust with consumers.
User-generated content (UGC)
Brand advocates can also create and share user-generated content (UGC) to help elevate your brand and increase brand loyalty. Any brand-related content that is created by a customer is known as UGC. For example, videos, images and written posts on social media that are related to your brand are all examples of UGC.
Creating authentic content that can be shared online, allows advocates to connect with consumers on a natural and genuine level. In fact, according to a report by Nosto, consumers are 2.4x more likely to say user-generated content is authentic compared to brand-created content.
In turn, UGC can help influence purchasing decisions. This is also reflected in the report which reveals that 79% of people said that UGC highly impacts their purchasing decisions.
What is the difference between brand advocates and brand ambassadors?
Both advocates and ambassadors help spread the word of the brand, however, brand advocates do not have formal recognition from the brand. Ambassadors on the other hand, are formally recognized by the brand as representatives. If you want to find out more information about brand ambassadors, read our guide, What Does a Brand Ambassador Do?.
Do brand advocates get paid?
In general, brand advocates operate on a purely voluntary basis, therefore, they do not get paid. Advocates are not affiliated with your brand in any way, however, they can be incentivized to complete certain activities to spread a brand’s message and raise awareness.
For example, brands will often reward a customer for leaving a review or signing up to a newsletter by giving them a discount on their next purchase.
Competitions are also a popular way to encourage brand advocates to engage with a brand on their social media channels, with the chance to win a free product or an experience.
The best way to find trusted brand advocates is to identify customers that are already engaging with your brand. Here are some ways to do this:
You could visit dedicated review sites or your own website (if you have a reviews option) to filter through and identify any high-quality reviews or testimonials published by happy customers. Once you have done so, you could respond to their review and reach out to them.
Monitor brand mentions
Look out for people who mention your brand name on social media platforms. Even if your brand isn’t officially tagged in a brand mention (with an @ symbol), there is opportunity to discover authentic, genuine and glowing posts about your brand.
A good way to do this is by using social listening tools to monitor any positive activity around your brand. You can then reach out to those who post about your brand’s products or services.
Look at your CRM or customer database
Who engages with your brand at the moment? It could be people who regularly open your emails, who respond to requests for feedback or even forward your marketing communications onto their friends.
It's not all about purchases, but that's not a bad place to start either. Look at who consistently invests in your brand and see if they're someone who would advocate on your behalf too.
Check tagged photos
You could search through any photos and videos that your brand has been tagged in on your social profiles. For example, on Instagram or TikTok. Specifically, keep an eye out for high-quality, authentic, user-generated content.
Use a brand advocacy program
While the structure of brand advocacy programs can vary greatly, the overall purpose of a program is to reward loyal and passionate customers for any behaviour that supports the brand.
If you’re thinking of building your own advocacy program, allow us to help. With the Duel platform, we can help you build a customisable brand advocacy program that is both engaging for customers and impactful to brands.