Brand advocates are people who promote your brand through word-of-mouth marketing. They’re vital to any marketing strategy, because people consult and trust the opinions of others. Let’s examine brand advocates in detail, including why their promotion of your brand is a far more effective way to grow your customer base than traditional ads.

What is a brand advocate?

Brand advocates are the people who reliably spread the word about your brand through word-of-mouth marketing.

Brand advocates are real people who believe in your brand and want to see it succeed, and who genuinely and actively use your products. These people promote your brand by leaving positive reviews, making glowing posts on social media, creating other UGC (user-generated content) centered on your brand, sharing one-on-one with friends, or through other forms of word of mouth.

brand advocates

Who can be a brand advocate?

Anyone who loves your brand, and who passionately promotes it via word-of-mouth, is one of your brand advocates. So, your advocates are usually your most enthusiastic, loyal customers, but they could also be your employees or partners.

What motivates brand advocates to share your brand?

Brand advocates usually choose to share your brand on their own, without prompting from your brand. Why? Simply because they love your brand and its products and want others to know about it. Their enthusiasm and excitement motivates others to check out the brand or product for themselves, so it will drive sales of your products or services.

consumer brand advocates


What is brand advocacy?

Essentially, brand advocacy is the promotion your advocates engage in, to spread the word about your brand. This can include:

  • Leaving glowing reviews about your brand
  • Referring their peers to your brand (such as through a referral program)
  • Making awesome social media posts featuring your products
  • Posting stellar comments about your brand on social networks
  • Creating other content featuring your brand (say, a blog post)
  • Talking about your brand positively in conversations with friends (whether that’s in private online conversations or offline conversations)



Brand advocate vs. brand ambassador

Sometimes, people use the terms “brand ambassador” and “brand advocate” interchangeably. Although brand ambassadors are technically a form of brand advocate (since they love your brand and share about you without prompting), ambassadors are long-term spokespeople that your brand formally recruits to represent you.

However, brand advocates are usually much more informal representatives than ambassadors. Brand advocates aren’t bound by a set of rules and guidelines for promotion like ambassadors are, and don’t formally represent your brand at events. Thus, brand advocate marketing is less structured compared to ambassador marketing campaigns. However, many brands recruit informal brand advocates to eventually become formal ambassadors!

Brand advocacy vs. influencer marketing

Influencers are slightly different from brand advocates, because influencers are asked to promote your brand in a few blog posts or social media posts. So, they’re advocating for your brand, but they’re paid to do it formally. Sometimes, influencers only start using your brand after you reach out to them; that’s very different from advocates who promote you without prompting, just because they love your brand.

Benefits of brand advocacy marketing

What makes brand advocates so awesome? Let’s go over several major reasons.

Firstly, brand advocacy is free or nearly free marketing that helps you grow your brand organically. Brand advocates love you so much that they’ll share you whenever they can, whether it’s on social media, through emails, on their blogs, or in person. They have no shame in sharing frequently – they’re your biggest cheerleaders! Their word is a powerful form of marketing that will reach scores of potential customers at little to no cost to you. You won’t need to shell out thousands on traditional ads to generate brand awareness and bring in new customers.

Secondly, brand advocates need no extrinsic incentive to share your brand. Most advocates will share you just because they genuinely love your brand or products – they’re motivated intrinsically.  Brand advocates aren’t primarily motivated to share by rewards or incentives (although it’s good practice for your brand to reward them with a small thank you for sharing, such as a free product, discount, or social media spotlight.)

Thirdly, brand advocates leave powerful positive reviews of you, usually without asking. Reviews are extremely important to your business, as most people seek out the reviews and opinions of people who have already had experience with a product or service before making a purchasing decision. People trust online reviews and consumer opinions, so having the opinions of your advocates on your side pays dividends!

Most importantly, brand advocates are trusted by their friends and followers! Your advocates’ friends will be motivated to try your products or services for themselves, and believe they’ll benefit from your brand, because they trust their peers and know that their peers would never intentionally mislead them. Trust is a powerful marketing tool. People trust their friends far more than they trust ads and other messaging that comes directly from your business, so they’re more likely to purchase from you when a peer recommends your products.

why create advocates

Customer satisfaction builds brand advocates

How to turn clients into brand advocates? To create advocates, you’ll need to build solid foundations of customer satisfaction, with exceptional products, a standout customer experience, and a commitment to stellar customer service.

  •  Be customer-centric.
    • Make all your business decisions with customers’ needs in mind, and you’re sure to create advocates.
    • Making your customers feel valued, and meeting their needs, will encourage their customer loyalty and word-of-mouth sharing.
  • Provide products or services that set themselves apart from the competition in quality.
    • Even better, create a product that meets customers’ needs in a unique way, so much so that you have no competition.
    • Often, people become brand advocates because they feel that a brand provides something no one else does.
  • Deliver top-notch customer service. Follow this article’s customer service tips for detailed strategies.
  • Listen to customers’ needs and concerns, and act on their feedback.
    • If customers have suggestions on how to make a product better, or your customer service better, implement them where possible (especially if many customers give similar suggestions).
    •  Showing customers you hear them is another awesome way to make them feel valued. After all, they’re the ones using your product or service. They’ll be sure to back you up by sharing your brand with their friends.
  • Finally, thank customers for supporting your brand. Especially when they share you – make sure they know they are appreciated, because you wouldn’t have a successful brand without them!

Discover brand advocates: Who are your existing advocates?

Even though brand advocates are informal promoters, it’s crucial to know how to find them so you can further mobilize them and thank them for promoting your brand. You’ll also want to share their trusted words on your own channels, as user-generated content! Here’s how to find your biggest brand advocates:

  • Did one of your customers give you positive feedback in person, via email, or on the phone, without you prompting? Or, did they volunteer to give a testimonial? They would make an awesome brand advocate, so encourage them to leave a review or refer their friends to you.
  • Look for people who have already posted glowing reviews or social media content about your brand. Social listening software (brand mention software), which tracks whenever people mention your brand online, can help (think Mention or Hootsuite).
  • Run a customer satisfaction survey, such as an NPS survey, to find out how likely your customers are to recommend your brand. Then, personally reach out those customers who say they’re most likely to promote you.
  • Use advocate marketing software to find and mobilize brand advocates (this has some overlaps with more formalized programs, like brand ambassador programs, so it might also help you create those types of structures).

brand advocates are powerful


Brand advocacy software: What is it? How does it help?

There are several types of brand advocacy software that can help you mobilize advocates and create stellar brand advocacy programs. Sometimes, software helps create more formal brand advocacy campaigns, where advocates promote your brand under an agreement. But other types create informal advocates who can promote your brand at any time they choose.

  • Customer referral software lets you create a referral program that encourages customers to share your brand with friends at any time they wish. It instantly rewards customers for successful referrals, and tracks where every single referral comes from so you know your best advocates.
  • Employee referral software (employee advocacy software) mobilizes employees to refer potential customers to your brand; it tracks and rewards employee advocates.
  • If you’ve got business partners, partnership management software can help you track their advocacy. It also helps you communicate with your partners and organize assets within a more formal partner relationship.
  • Brand ambassador software tracks the activity of your more formal brand representatives. This is a great option after you’ve found the customers or employees who advocate for you the most: invite super-advocates to promote you in the long term for even bigger rewards.

Here at Referral Rock, we offer advocacy software that’s flexible enough to run all these types of programs, whether you want to mobilize customers, employees, partners, or all three.


Brand advocates provide a crucial form of marketing because people trust their word, and because they promote your brand at little to no cost to you. So, be sure to create, find, and mobilize brand advocates, to harness the power of word-of mouth marketing!

Check out our Word of Mouth Guide for more on what makes word-of-mouth marketing so effective.