Fun fact about me: I really like makeup. I’m not saying I paint my face up like Mimi from the Drew Carey show, but I enjoy testing out new makeup, doing friends’ makeup for special events and watching tutorials online. When I want to try a new product, the first thing I do is go to YouTube. I search for reviews and videos so I can see how it works and hear what others have to say about it before I splurge and buy it. More people are trusting these content creators who are constructing their own media empire. People are more likely to research a product online than go into a store and talk to a salesperson (who is trained to say what you want to hear) firsthand.
Based on my experience with these brand advocates, I’m going to make a bold statement: Brand advocates are more valuable to your company than any advertisement. I believe these brand ambassadors are the biggest cheerleaders for your company.
There are two types of brand ambassadors, the paid and the unpaid. You’ll notice on YouTube or Instagram, the paid ambassadors will include “Ad” with their photo or in the title of their videos. I don’t trust these ambassadors. There is no greater persuader of bias than cash. If someone offered me a boatload of money to promote a product, I’m fairly likely to promote it even if I don’t love it.
The unpaid ambassadors who scream from the rooftop how much they love a company or product (for free) are the people you need. These people who have a true passion for a product or service are your best friends. Unpaid ambassadors are not gaining anything by promoting a company; they do it because they truly believe in and love something. I don’t know about you, but I trust that.
As Rob Fugetta, Founder of Zuberance said, “The biggest reason brand advocates are so powerful is a single, five-letter word: trust.” I see all the time on Facebook friends asking, “I need a good plumber, anyone have a recommendation?” or “Getting ready to move, what moving company should I hire?” You trust your friends, and value their opinion, that’s why you ask them. If you see someone talking about a product with such enthusiasm and passion, you’re likely to trust what they have to say. That is valuable. That trust is what companies need.
The next time you receive an email telling you how much someone loves your product, or a great review from a customer on Facebook, don’t just brush that aside. Build a relationship with those customers, and you will have a brand ambassador for life.