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Influencer Marketing vs Brand Advocacy

Wearisma’s State of Brand Advocacy Report 2021 reveals a seismic shift in the influencer landscape, putting community first in the metrics that matter.

22nd September 2021, UK - London: A new report by influencer marketing platform Wearisma shows the industry is changing, with brand advocacy now a key focus area instead of traditional influencer campaigns based on hyper-visibility and mass followings.

The research, carried out in partnership with Dectech, analysed the social media habits of 1000 consumers, revealing a shift in the way they engage with content.

Brand advocacy is now leading the way as the most cost-effective and authentic way to build brand value within a social media generation that craves community over clout - particularly amongst Gen Z.

Source: Sharespring

According to the report, most people (71%) trust content from people they know compared to content from brands (36%). Brand advocacy can come from loyal customers, influencers and employees, and trust is the most important element for brand advocacy. For brands, the message is clear - focus on who your community trusts rather than follower counts.

Across summer ‘21 (May - July) they discovered that everyday consumers contributed up to 75% of the engagements, content and media value for brands across three verticals; fashion, food and homeware.

Source: Liquid Agency

Key findings from the report include:

1. The key attributes that make someone a true advocate for a brand are a demonstration of prior use of the brand/product, honest reviews highlighting both the good and bad / authenticity, passion and knowledge about the brand (e.g. they have done their own research and can answer questions), a similitude between the brand and the influencer, and evidence they are selective about their choice of brand partners.

2. Whilst bricks and mortar brands are trying to keep up with shopping apps, online-first brands are getting further ahead thanks to brand advocacy and user-generated content. Despite Topshop’s high brand awareness, which sits comfortably at 85%, it lacks the ability to convert awareness into online engagement; only 16% of those who know the brand follow it on Instagram. Meanwhile, the online-only brand Pretty Little Thing (PLT), has been an early advocator of organic, consumer-driven content - so much so, that its Instagram bio ‘’Tag your looks using #everybodyinPLT’ has become synonymous with the brand’s strapline. In July 2021, the #everybodyinplt tag generated nearly 2X the Engagement Rate (ER) (20%) of the branded tag #prettylittlething (13%) highlighting the success of brand advocacy hashtags and content.

3. Brand advocacy must be more sophisticated than choosing a hashtag and reposting consumer content. Brand advocacy is frequently misunderstood and brands often execute its antithesis: multi-level marketing (MLM) strategies. Gifting discount codes and a meaningless label of ‘ambassador’ as a sales tactic not only turns consumers off, it’s inauthentic. Freebies work, but only as part of a strategic gifting strategy: 76% said more gifts and freebies for ‘real people’, (everyday customers as opposed to influencers) would encourage them to purchase or engage more with brands, suggesting that reciprocity should play a key role in nurturing an audience, but bribing them to buy in return for ‘exposure’ is not an effective sales strategy.

4. Authentic community engagement extends to brands’ relationships with influencers. Fashion brand Coty attributes the success of its recent #perfectasiam TikTok campaign, which broke records, achieving an Engagement Rate that was double the industry average, to the way it engages with brand advocates. Coty’s influencer marketing and communications lead Grace Fung explains: “Influencers have changed the way they create content… it’s become more personable. We have established some more long term partnerships with influencers… When you invest in those long term relationships, you really see the benefits in the long run.”


In conclusion, why is brand advocacy more important?

  • Generates greater brand affinity
  • Advocates speak from experience, which is more natural & convincing
  • Brand advocates are 50% more likely to influence a purchase
  • Advocates make marketing programs more authentic & engaging
  • Can lead to an increase in sales & a greater share of voice in your industry space
  • 84% of millennials claim UGC on a website influences their purchasing decision
  • Customers referred by other customers have a 37% higher retention rate.

Mili Ponce

Former Computer Engineer, Tech, EdTech and eCommerce Entrepreneur, Keynote Speaker on Digital Marketing and Entrepreneurship, Social Media Strategist, eCommerce Business Mentor, Trainer, Writer, Blogger, Mother, Daughter, Dreamer.

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Influencer Marketing vs Brand Advocacy Reviewed by Mili Ponce on Tuesday, October 12, 2021 Rating: 5
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