Authentic Influence Everywhere
The power of brand advocacy
Expand your understanding of what influencer marketing is and how it can build your brand.
ExpertVoice CEO Tom Stockham sat down with influencer marketing strategist, author and professor Amanda Russell for an important discussion about how to harness the power of authentic brand advocacy, connect with the right people and inspire them to advocate for your brand. Walkthroughs of the ExpertVoice platform illustrate how brands can quickly create and carry out an advocacy strategy. The full webinar is available here, but we thought we'd break it down into some key takeaways.
Chief Executive Officer
Author, The Influencer Code
A make or break moment in marketing.
We’re in the middle of an influence revolution. Consumers are skeptical, paid product posts are ubiquitous and buying conversations are increasingly out of a brand’s control. Brands that understand where influencer marketing is heading and how to invest their time and money strategically will thrive, while those who miss this window of opportunity may struggle.
Amanda helps us understand why this moment is make or break for brands.
Influence goes way beyond a blue check on a social media site. Everyone has influence within certain spheres, some more than others, but it’s important to understand what influence can actually mean.
Building third-party credibility for your brand.
Some of the most successful brands claim that they “do no marketing”. A better way of describing this would be that they “do no overt marketing”. Think about the brands with a cult-like customer base that you’ve never actually seen an ad for. How do they do it? By activating influential people to build buzz about their brand in the spaces where their ideal customers work and play. Brands like this certainly do marketing, but their tactics are methodical and built for long-term success.
Why is building that third-party credibility so important? It’s simple, no one trusts what you say about yourself. But when there are truly influential people vouching for you, your products and your brand’s mission, that’s when you win people over. Consumers find authentic UGC from real-world people 9.8x more impactful than paid influencer content when making a purchasing decision. The only way to access that kind of authentic content is by building third-party credibility.
Influence as an investment rather than an expense.
Even as people nod their heads in agreement with the idea that authentic influence is the way of the future, brands still hesitate to take the leap. Oftentimes that has to do with the lack of immediate ROI. Measuring ROI has long been the bane of many marketers’ existence, and especially with something as complex as a long-term advocacy strategy it can be difficult to attribute quantifiable outcomes to your efforts. The first step is to look at influence as a long-term investment rather than a one-off expense.
The steps to building authentic influence.
Re-thinking how to find the right people.
Before jumping to the all-too-enticing step of “how do I find the influencers?” Amanda explains that there is a much more important phase that comes first—researching and deeply understanding your audience. By studying the spaces where they spend their time, share their stories, and swap advice, be that on or offline, you’ll be better equipped to activate influence at each and every touchpoint.
How to influence the influencer.
The bottom line: relationships are key. This type of authentic influence is built on trust instead of transactions. If you are scripting people to say certain things about your brand, it’s advertising. But if you can find a way to build mutually beneficial relationships, create a community with them and educate them about your brand and products, they’ll start organically spreading the right message about your brand in all the spaces you want to be talked about.
How your brand can build authentic influence with the ExpertVoice Advocacy Platform.
To put all these learnings into practice, you’ll need the right tools at your disposal. The ExpertVoice Advocacy Platform is an all-in-one brand advocacy solution to do just that. Let’s jump right into the platform and explore the ways that the combination of communities, campaigns and content can help you to build authentic influence around your brand.