As the infographic explains, influencers are the high-tech version of celebrity endorsements. They are characterized by large followings and usually require an incentive – such as money or free products – to support your brand on social media.
Brand advocates, however, are highly satisfied customers who take it upon themselves to promote your brand because they genuinely value it. They are trusted by 92 percent of consumers, while influencers are trusted by only 18 percent.
Though, Lauren Dugan goes on to say that this study shows that "influencer outreach is overrated," we would argue that the term "influencer" is just oftentimes misused or misunderstood. Certainly, as the term applies to national celebrities like Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh, influencer outreach will most likely prove fruitless.
But what about niched influencers (people who are "celebrities" about a specific topic - like Chris Brogan)? Or influencers within a geographic area (like a local newspaper, or a well-respected politico)? While it would prove a monumental effort and achievement to get attention from, or the endorsement of, a national-level celebrity, the same isn't necessarily true of local, relevant influencers.
We'd also argue that if brand advocates are trusted by 92% of consumers, they are
influencers about that brand.
Favorable tweets or retweets from your local paper or a well-respected figure within your county's party could potentially have as much impact in a local race as anything you might receive from a national level celebrity any way, and they're a lot easier to acquire. As we say at PolitiKlout
, targeting matters.
Still, it's important to understand the difference between a brand advocate (or ambassador) and an influencer.