Influencers vs. Advocates: How Social Media Managers Identify and Harness Brand Advocates


Social media has become an integral part of marketing strategies for businesses looking to reach a wider audience and engage with their customers. One common practice for companies is to work with influencers and advocates to promote their brand and products. While influencers and advocates may seem similar, there are key differences in how they are identified and leveraged by social media managers.

Identifying Influencers

Influencers are individuals with a large following on social media platforms such as Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok. They have the power to sway the opinions and behaviors of their followers based on their expertise, credibility, and authenticity. Social media managers often identify influencers based on their number of followers, engagement rates, and niche market relevance.

Collaborating with influencers can be a highly effective way to increase brand awareness and reach a targeted audience. Influencers often create sponsored content that showcases a company’s products or services in a way that resonates with their followers. However, working with influencers can be costly, and the results are not always guaranteed.

Identifying Advocates

Advocates, on the other hand, are customers or employees who are passionate about a brand and are willing to promote it without any financial incentives. They have a genuine love for the brand and are eager to share their positive experiences with others. Social media managers often identify advocates based on their engagement with the brand, loyalty, and willingness to recommend it to others.

Harnessing brand advocates is a cost-effective way to build credibility and trust with your audience. Advocates often share user-generated content that highlights their experiences with a brand, which can be more authentic and relatable to potential customers. By nurturing relationships with advocates, businesses can create a loyal community of brand ambassadors who can help drive word-of-mouth marketing and loyalty.

Strategies for Identifying and Harnessing Brand Advocates

Social media managers can use a variety of strategies to identify and harness brand advocates. One approach is to monitor social media channels for mentions of the brand and engage with customers who have positive experiences. This can help build relationships with advocates and encourage them to share their stories with a wider audience.

Another strategy is to create a loyalty program that rewards customers for their engagement and loyalty to the brand. By offering incentives such as discounts, exclusive offers, and early access to new products, businesses can incentivize advocates to continue promoting the brand to their networks.

It is also important for social media managers to provide advocates with the tools and resources they need to create and share content about the brand. This can include branded hashtags, user-generated content contests, and sharing success stories that showcase the impact of the brand on customers’ lives.


In conclusion, influencers and advocates play different roles in a brand’s social media marketing strategy. While influencers can help increase brand awareness and reach a wider audience, advocates can build credibility, trust, and loyalty with their authentic and genuine endorsements. Social media managers should consider working with both influencers and advocates to create a well-rounded marketing strategy that leverages the power of both groups.

By identifying and nurturing relationships with brand advocates, businesses can create a loyal community of brand ambassadors who can help drive word-of-mouth marketing, loyalty, and long-term success for the brand.


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