Digital technology offers brands an opportunity to engage with influencers, advocates and/or ambassadors to significantly improve the overall success of a campaign. However, there is ongoing confusion about what role brands can expect these individuals to play in endorsing products. It is important to have a strong understanding of the difference between each to ensure a best practice approach to identifying, engaging and collaborating with them.
- Advocates are highly satisfied customers or employees who actively recommend and promote products they love across social channels.
– It is increasingly important for brands to know who their advocates are and engage with them in the digital space, as consumers get more vocal about their brand experiences.
– Advocates are not usually paid to be involved in campaigns, but brands looking to harness those relationships should consider incentives (e.g. discounts or giveaways) to encourage continued loyalty and endorsement.
- Influencers are bloggers or well-known social media personalities targeted by a brand to help develop its image and increase credibility among niche audiences.
– Influencers are selected because they are familiar with a relevant market and have proven ongoing engagement with large numbers of a target demographic.
– This approach represents classic ‘word of mouth’ marketing, an increasingly powerful strategy as consumers become less tolerant of brands filling up their social media channels.
– Brands should expect to pay a fee for an influencer’s involvement in a digital campaign.
– IMPACT suggests following these best practice steps to master successful engagement with influencers.
- Ambassadors are individuals with a high media profiles engaged because they align with a brand’s values, ethics, target audience and key messages.
– Brands develop long-term relationships with ambassadors, differing from influencers who are often contracted for a single campaign.
– With inside knowledge on the brand and relevant market, ambassadors are ‘experts’ who are paid a retainer by a brand.
– Ambassadors are vocal about their involvement with a brand across their personal channels and their images/quotes are included in a brand’s owned content. They are also often included as ‘special guests’ for any relevant events.