Advocates are Brand DefendersIn the online world fans are typically seen as people who like your FB page etc, advocates on the other hand are people who would rush to defend you.

A broad term encompassing fans and advocates would be evangelists. I choose to separate fans and advocates based on their level of engagement and activities they do. Some people choose to use the term active fan. I feel that the term advocate does justice.

There is a huge difference in the two. A fan clicks a like button and an advocate on the other hand does a whole lot more, both online and offline. Advocate’s typicall do the following:

Can’t stop talking about you to others, even strangers! Word of Mouth MarketingEnabling word of mouth marketing. (94% of word of mouth marketing happens offline in the real world, in real face to face interactions between people. Source Google/Keller Fay Group, U.S. June 2011 (Word of Mouth and the Internet) What I find interesting is that this data i.e. 90+% of word of mouth marketing happening offline hasn’t changed since the inception of the Internet.

Will often write detailed blog posts about specific products they like.

Will compose songs and viral videos about your company/product/people – yes really!… they make it fun. (Thanks to #Shanselman for pointing out this video).

Will get together in user groups and help spread the knowledge and build communities.

Will often be the first to sign up for a beta or test release of your products, write copious notes and provide great suggestions to your teams.

Will go out of the way to help others purchase or learn via forums and delivering presentations about your products and services.

Big brands like Microsoft, Apple, Google, Nokia, Harley Davidson, Johnson and Johnson, Disney, Virgin actively engage and cultivate brand advocates. Advocates are already out there waiting for you, let your brand advocate journey begin. (To learn more about creating a brand advocate program watch this video of our R.I.D.E. framework . We’re happy to help.