Understanding the Players in Buzz Marketing

With the rise of social media came the rise of a new type of marketing- what is often called buzz marketing. TechTarget defines buzz marketing as “a viral marketing technique that is focused on maximizing the word-of-mouth potential of a particular campaign or product, whether that is through conversations among consumers’ family and friends or larger scale discussions on social media platforms.” Many companies are turning to social media and trying to engage with current and potential customers, create buzz around the brand, product or organization, and generate brand recognition.

If you’ve heard of buzz marketing, you may have heard of the terms “brand ambassador”, “influencer”, and “brand advocate”. But do you know what these terms really mean? These terms are often used interchangeably, but they are very different in terms of the strategy behind them and the impacts that they can have. Thus, it is important for marketers to understand exactly what each one is, and how incorporating them into a marketing strategy can be beneficial.

A brand ambassador is somebody who is hired (formally or informally) by a company to help represent the brand in a positive way. They are tasked with championing the brand, representing it in public, and engaging with people to drive them to become customers themselves. Brand ambassadors are expected to actively promote brands to their friends, families, and communities, and bring in new customers. They serve as a “face” for the brand, and often develop creative ways to perform company outreach. An example of a brand ambassador strategy is the Red Bull Wiings Team– “a group of charming, fun-loving, entrepreneurial and dynamic individuals at the heart of Red Bull’s marketing strategy who drive product trial, support Sales and work at Red Bull Events.” Team members serve as the face of the brand, and go out in their communities to distribute Red Bull, and ultimately, bring in new customers.

An influencer is someone who has attracted a large, loyal following on social media. Because they have such large followings, they have the power to influence a large number of people, and companies will pay them to feature a product or brand in a social media post. Companies try to pick influencers with followers that are inclined to be interested in the product or brand, and influencers try to partner with companies and brands that they feel reflect their values and unique personal brands. An example of an influencer marketing campaign is a partnership between DJ Khaled, whose snapchats garner over 3 million views on average, and Stride Gum. Stride launched a Snapchat takeover, where Khaled promoted their “Mad Intense Gum”.

A brand advocate is someone that talks positively about the organization, service, or product. These customers love the product and pass on positive messages to others, from friends to potential customers that they don’t know as well. Feedback from brand advocates is typically seen as being more reliable than direct marketing from a company. Often times, companies try to engage with advocates and encourage them to share positive messages on social media. An example of this is IKEA, who launched the #JoyofStorage campaign, asking people to post pictures of their IKEA products in their homes for the chance to win a prize. These photos helped to inspire other people to purchase IKEA products.

It is important to understand the differences between brand ambassadors, influencers, and brand advocates. Each organization needs to consider each of these strategies and consider what would work best for them. Beyond that, they must determine an effective way of planning, launching, and executing a campaign.

For companies that are struggling with executing buzz marketing strategies, Fanzee can help.  As the complete campaign management platform for social media advocacy, Fanzee helps your business streamline word-of-mouth marketing campaigns more effectively. Click here to learn more about how Fanzee can help.