Views & Opinions

Influencers, Advocates & Influential Advocates, Oh My!

With the explosion of social media & networking in the last few years, it’s no wonder that more and more companies and brands are starting to dive into world of social media – and they’re putting up the dollars to prove it. Although the figures are still being tallied, eMarketer estimated that over $3.08 billion would be spent on advertising on social networking sites in 2011. As more and more of company’s budgets are placed in the social media bucket, brands will continue to seek out & develop marketing strategies that will (pardon the expression) give them the most bang for their buck. One of those cost-effective strategies? Tapping into the influencers, advocates and influential advocates that are leaders in social spaces.

Wait, backup, I’ve lost some of you already. Influencers? Influential Advocates? What’s the difference? That, my friends, is the purpose of this post.

Influencers

Individuals that have influence (power of persuasion/pull) over potential buyers. They tend to have high “reach” (fans, followers, visits, subscribers, etc.) and have positioned himself or herself as some sort of topic “expert” among their fan/friend base.

Advocates

This one is self-explanatory. These are the individuals that LOVE your brand or company and they are out there telling anyone who’ll listen how great you are. If you’re not listening to these people already, it’s time to start tuning in.

Influential Advocates

This classification of social influencers is what I would consider to be the “crème de la crème” – the top dogs. They have a level of expertise, higher reach AND they love your brand. Score!

Now which group do you go after? Well, that will depend on your influencer strategy and the overall goals of the campaign. Whichever you choose, make sure that you have an ongoing communication strategy in place and be sure to set your expectations. In a perfect world you’d have a schedule of multiple campaigns and a good mix of influencers, advocates and influential advocates.

Remember, before you start any sort of influencer campaign you need to make sure you have the time & resources to manage it. In general, the more work you put into your influencer strategy and execution, the more work your influencers will do for you.

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