It’s almost impossible to go a day without hearing about brand ambassadors, influencers, and advocates. Whether you’re scrolling through Instagram or going to a pop-up shop, you’re likely to find one of these people sharing information about a brand’s products or services with you and whoever else happens to be doing the same thing you are. Although their main goals are similar, each role functions a little differently. So, what is the difference between a brand ambassador, an influencer, and an advocate?
Brand Ambassadors are real people who are hired by a company to promote products or overall brand awareness via word of mouth and social media. They use that company’s products, represent them at events, and have in-depth knowledge about the company, as well as the products or services.
A company might hire brand ambassadors to set up a table at a store, restaurant, or event to promote their product and encourage customers to buy what they’re selling. Brand ambassadors are paid to use language that tells other consumers why they love that product or service in the hopes of swaying others to try it out for themselves.
An influencer is someone who can affect someone else’s way of thinking because of their status. Think celebrities, reality TV stars, models, etc. They have substantial social media followings, and people tend to trust them when it comes to product recommendations.
An influencer’s relationship with a brand is usually short-term. People who trust the celebrity promoting the product will purchase it solely because so and so said they use it in their daily life.
Influencers always receive compensation—monetary or product—for their promotions. Companies choose influencers based on the influencer’s capacity to reach their intended audience and the level of engagement they have with their followers. When companies hire an influencer, they can control what is being said about the product or brand in the caption of the social post.
Think of an advocate as a super-fan of a brand. They are fiercely loyal but do not necessarily have the platform to promote a company’s product or service. Advocates aren’t paid for promotion; they talk about their experience with a brand voluntarily.
An example of this is someone who posts feedback or reviews about a product or service online. People tend to trust advocates because they are actual customers who don’t receive compensation to talk about the product or service. In other words, their experiences are authentic.
Tapping into these roles is an essential part of marketing strategies today. Whether it’s for money or out of genuine interest, all of these people share their reviews and generate awareness for companies and brands. Not only are they creating awareness, but brand ambassadors, influencers, and advocates all have the potential to turn their friends and followers into customers.