Believe it or not, it’s possible to get other people to do your marketing work for you for free. Yes, for free. This may sound cynical, but the world of online marketing is a level playing field, giving a grassroots tinge to all efforts. Promote content with influencers and advocates!
You’ve likely said this before: “Did you see that commercial when…?” This is when marketing goes viral, and when people start getting excited about sharing your story and brand with others.
Part of how we connect with each other is through shared experiences. This can be television, books, games, stories; these shared experiences have always brought people closer together. The same can absolutely be true for marketing efforts, if you reach the right people.
Influencers and advocates are those groups of people, and they have very different profiles. If you get these folks on-board with your brand and what you do, your train will begin to pick up speed in a big, big way.
promote content In a Big Way
Who are Influencers and Advocates?
People who share your story and promote content aren’t doing so just because they love what you do. There’s a key concept to understand as you’re attempting to form a marketing plan: social capital. Every time someone shares a YouTube video or talks about the latest episode of a television show, they’re spending social capital as an investment in enhancing their audience’s perceptions.
Influencers are top-down promoters, people who have already established themselves as credible sources of information on the latest and greatest of things. These influencers spend social capital for a couple of reasons:
- First, to maintain their credibility and relevancy as they show that they’re up on the latest trends;
- Second, to attach themselves to upcoming brands that may further enhance their image;
- Third, the vocal enthusiasm influencers display for a brand raises their chances of being noticed by that brand, allowing for further partnership opportunities down the road.
Advocates aren’t necessarily bottom-up promoters. They’re more like your ground-floor street team who, once they’ve identified your brand as their favorite, will spread your word and promote content among friends, family, and the public at large in any way possible. Advocates sing your praises and promote content for a few different reasons:
- First, simply out of love and to spread the joy your brand has given them;
- Second, to share in the water cooler conversation-style interaction that allows for so much of that shared experience that we love;
- Third, to stay abreast of the anticipatory excitement that goes along with following an up-and-coming brand.
How Do I Reach Them?
Influencers and advocates can be reached in different ways, and should be approached and handled separately based on the type of message you’re trying to convey, as well as the type of potential customer you’re trying to reach.
Since, as we mentioned above, influencers are established sources of credible information, they want to maintain this status. It’s key to keep this in mind when courting influencer types. Present your message to a potential influencer partner in a way that clearly highlights the benefit the influencer will get from promoting your brand, whether that be exposure to a different demographic, monetary compensation, or simple reinforcement of an influencer’s own brand in a different way.
If there is no clear benefit to be had by the influencer, it may be time to approach a potential partner about a spokesperson relationship. Many times, partnerships with influencers will involve payments and contractual obligations, because you’ll be utilizing the influencer’s network for your own gain. This isn’t so with advocates, who will be happy to promote your brand because they love it.
If there’s any compensation involved with a potential advocate, it should be minimal and in the form of free or promotional materials to ensure that the advocate has a proper view of your brand. Aside from this, building advocate relationships is all about engagement and interaction. The more you display your expertise, knowledge, and specialization, the more fervently energized your advocate base will be. Advocates by nature want to be as engaged with a brand as possible, so the more you show your personality, the better.
The bottom line is that either partnering with influencers or energizing advocates will do great things to promote content, but you always have to be mindful of the outcome you’re looking for as you reach out, as well as the type of investment you’re willing and able to make.
Influencers will take money, and advocates will take time and energy, so your first goal is to plan out where you want to be, who you want to reach, and then who you need to tap into to do that and promote content.