Influence is Great, but Advocacy is Golden!

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In the business world, increasing your organization’s reach is essential. As a matter of fact, it is imperative! Because so much of our marketing efforts are being redirected to the digital space, we now have to switch how we market to our audiences.

One of the key metrics that any organization can measure is influence. Now, I am sure you are all pros at this stuff but for those who have no idea what I’m talking about, I will explain exactly what it is. This post is going to outline a few things:  what is an influencer, who our influencers are (from a business standpoint), where influencers spend their time and how they are different from advocates.

So, right about now you are probably asking yourself “what is an influencer?” in the context of digital and social marketing, an influencer is a person, whether a journalist, online consumer, blogger or business prospect, who has the ability to change or sway public opinions and behaviors. These people are capable of driving outcomes that are measurable to some degree for your business. Influencers are important people and can either help or hurt your business.

In order to effectively increase your digital reach, finding out who your influencers are is very important. Why? Because they help you to stay in business. So, let’s put this into a way that you can understand. Have you ever searched online for a product, maybe for a pair of shoes or a new game console and you were not sure if the shoes were worth it or whether one console was better than another? If you are anything like me you did some research before buying. You either read reviews about the product on some website or watched video reviews via YouTube. The people who take time to write reviews and record videos to talk about your product are your influencers. They are the ones who educate the rest of the world about the quality of your work.

Where do influencers spend their time? That’s very simple. EVERYWHERE! Your companies influencers are on social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, YouTube and a host of others. They are also on blogs, forums and other online communities. The bottom line is this: You need to be where your influencers are. You need to be in tuned with what they are saying about your business so that you can make your mark on the online community. Here are the benefits of being at the right place at the right time:

  1. Shows that you actually care about your reputation
  2. Allows for immediate response to a bad or good PR situation
  3. Gives you a chance to show your consumers and prospective customers that you are a thought leader within your industry
  4. Helps build credibility among your peers and other thought leaders

If you aren’t already convinced that online influence is important to your business and to the growth of your organization, let us look at an example of how influence can affect your business.

Right now Buick and Hyundai are receiving a lot of backlash for posting about their product in light of a tragic situation. The byline reads: “A child abduction should never be viewed as a marketing opportunity.” That alone tells you that things are not okay in the land of Buick and Hyundai. To make a long story short, people are mad and they are expressing their opinions about it online. Take a look:

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If Buick and Hyundai are smart, they will respond to the crisis in the same medium in which the public heard about it. In order to do that they must first know where their audience is on the web.

Influence is great, but advocacy is golden. Why? Because advocates do everything that influencers do but with an added bonus. Advocates support and recommend the things that they love and if your brand is one of them, then you have yourself a new medium for exploration. You can now disseminate information about your products and services without having to lift a finger to type. If you are in the same places with your audience, engaging with them about your company and your products and services then you have more than just followers. You have a return on your investment! You have a way to push your message out to the public and gain credibility! When one person shares your brand with the people he or she influences, your brand starts to grow! Most importantly, it grows with positive enforcement to support it.

The On-Switch Moment

  1. When you realize that you have to be where your audience is
  2. When you accept the fact that your brand is being talked about, sometimes negatively and sometimes positively
  3. When you care enough to go after your influencers and turn them into advocates

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