Who do you believe? Promotion Influencers or Brand Advocates?
Entrepreneurs want word to get out about the fine quality of their products. They rely on ads and reviews to reach their target market, but new customers are not forthcoming. Searching for ways to stimulate interest, entrepreneurs try to persuade bloggers, promoters, and other people who have huge social clout to drive the hype. Special offers and gifts are offered to make these ‘influencers’ post about the businesses. Do you think this will be an effective way to make people notice and go to the shops being promoted?
In a way, yes. Influencers can persuade their followers to check out the brands they sponsor. Many followers would indeed follow suit and retweet or share the promotional post from their idol. This has the potential to become viral, especially if the influencer is very popular among your business’ target audience.
How many people would actually buy the product, though? Only the truly interested ones. The first group involve people who want to try out everything their idol tells them about; the second group would be composed of people who needs that product. This might get returns for your business, but the results of an influencer’s promotion cannot be easily measured. This can only be done if you conduct a survey among your customers and ask them how they found out about your product. You can also ask them why they decided to buy from you, instead of going to other stores.
What does an influencer really do? An influencer drives more awareness instead of actual engagement. Once an influencer posts about something, followers immediately take notice. As a result, information is spread to everyone who sees the post. How is this different from the persuasive power of a brand advocate? A brand advocate is someone who’s passionate about a certain product or service. This person serves to convince many people of the effectiveness of the merchandise they’ve tried.
The usual influencer is a pundit (or subject expert), a blogger or a celebrity. When authorities on a specific field endorse product claims, people usually believe what they say because these experts are knowledgeable and likely to be right. A dentist, for example, promotes a toothpaste brand to be more efficient in getting rid of bacteria, plaque, and tartar. Patients who believe in everything the dentist says will go to the nearest store and buy the brand the dentist endorsed. They may go back to their original toothpaste brand if they find out the promoted brand is ineffective or expensive.
Highly satisfied customers, on the other hand, are brand advocates who have tried out products or services and became delighted with the results. As a result, they go around saying ‘wonderful’ things about the product. They may go online, post positive reviews and give your store four to five out of five stars. If they’re part of social network, they’ll look for your brand online and visit your page often. They post pictures of themselves using your merchandise, saying how happy they are with the outcome. This influences their own friends to try your product for themselves. If they liked your product as much as the first one did, a series of positive reactions will follow and new customers will line up in front of your store to get your goods.
When customers are satisfied, they give glowing reviews. A happy customer’s recommendation is more heartfelt and genuine than an influencer’s backing. This is because an influencer may be offered incentives to advertise a product. Freebies and other gifts may be provided to urge someone to promote something. Brand advocates do not endorse a product because they get something out of it. They’ll give good reviews as long as they appreciate the merchandise from your store. Their liking for a product lasts, unlike influencers who stop after a few posts.
Let’s look at some posts from happy customers. The first picture shows a post from a girl who loves Fibisco Chocolate Chip Cookies, while the one on the right are chocolate macaroons with the filling made from Mars Chocolate. These two posts show how satisfied customers declare their love for a product. They just want to tell people how pleased they are, which causes other people to take notice and try the product for themselves to find out what’s so great about it.
So, who wins the standoff between influencers and brand advocates?
Brand advocates have far more reach than influencers have, because people trust recommendations that come from those whom they know personally. They hardly believe in someone who may have been paid to endorse a product. As a matter of fact, it is speculated whether influencers really believe in the authenticity of the merchandise they’re promoting. Are they really sure the product they promote is really better than other goods in the market?