Brand advocacy has been around since the dawn of time. Wasn't it Cleopatra who influenced the fate of Rome? Centuries later, forms of recommendation and persuasion have been escalated through email, social media, blogs, chat programs and more.
Much has been reported on the behavior of a brand advocate - how they interact with others online and where they obtain information - but little has been done to personify a brand advocate and really capture all of that information in one place.
Let's take a closer look at the anatomy of a brand advocate. Here are 4 common attributes of a brand influencer today:
- Proclaimed thoughts leaders
Advocates generally like to be viewed by their peers as having progressive and innovative ideas. They like to be seen as experts, they appreciate how valuable consumer reviews are online, they value their brand relationships and their biggest motivation is to be seen as a good resource by the brands they love.
According to research out of the University of Rhode Island, College of Business Administration, brand advocates enjoy sharing information so much that they're 3 times more likely to do so as a form of relaxation. They're prolific content creators, producing and curating more than twice as many communications about brands as the average web user.
- Social media savvy
The same research from the University of Rhode Island shows that almost 60% of advocates send information about products, brands, sales or stores via social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. They're also 2.5 times more likely to use social media as a means to expand their friend networks.
Social media platforms are oftentimes a means for consumer shouting. Influencers on the other hand, use social media tools as resources to talk and engage with peers, fans and others. According to a Zuberance 2012 sponsored study, online brand advocates - known as those who recommend on social networks, third party review sites, etc. - have between 300 to 600 contacts in their social networks and they're recommending 26 times a year on average.
- Optimists by nature
Brand advocates are optimistic people. Compared to the average internet user, advocates are 75% more likely to share about their great experiences with brands. They are also 83% more likely to share any information.
Brand advocates are 70% more likely to be seen as a good source of information by the people around them and 50% more likely to create content that influence purchase. Three times more likely to share product information with someone they don't even know, advocates constantly influence the opinions and purchasing decisions of others.
- Probably moms
Last month, Mom Central Consulting came out with a study to understand the influence moms have. Mom Central found that 81% of moms read over five blogs per week. They visit these blogs to read about topics that interest them, discover great new products, conduct research on products they're thinking of buying and find coupons and promotions. Furthermore, more than 90% of moms trust blogs as a source for product information prior to purchase and about the same amount have purchased a product after hearing about it from a blogger.
One journalist pulled the stats to find that moms mention brands on average of 73 times per week compared with just 57 times per week among males. Moms represent a $2.4 trillion market and women account for 85% of all consumer purchases including everything from autos to healthcare. Not to mention, 75% of women are primary shoppers for their household.
To sum it up: brands, be good to the ladies!