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t seems that nowadays every other post on your social media timeline is someone promoting how #great a new product is, or is something they “simply couldn’t live without”.

How did this all come about? When did everyone suddenly become a social influencer, a brand advocate or a niche promoter?

Exposure to content has rocketed in the past couple of years – we are absolutely glued to our smartphones – on our daily commute, at lunch, in bed! – scrolling through timelines, tweeting, snapping and streaming live on Facebook like never before.

Consumers find out about the latest must-have products from friends, bloggers, or – yep you guessed it – an influencer! So it’s no wonder that brands are singling out their advocates to talk about their product and influence their target market. And why do brands use this strategy – simply because as a consumer, we trust recommendations from friends or people we admire.

So what about brand ambassadors – what’s the difference between an advocate and an ambassador? In short, it’s money – on the whole, influencers/advocates are normally unpaid, but are given the product free, whereas an ambassador is someone who has an influence over a certain population of people and who are paid by a brand. They are hired to talk about the company or brand in a positive light – and are sometimes given written content to post on their social media channels.

I personally love finding out about the latest trends on social media – I mainly find out about must-haves from beauty bloggers or editors on instagram and snapchat reviewing a new brand or a cult must-have. Most of my purchases in this area have always paid off well, and had I not been influenced by said blogger/editor, I wouldn’t have heard about the must-have product (or would have jumped on the band-wagon a whole lot later!).

As always there is a dark side to this type of advertising – that is when people are paid obscene amounts when it is clear they don’t use the product, and we as consumers can see straight through it.

Take for example, Scott Disick, a sub-member of the Kardashian clan, recently slipped when posting a sponsored ad for drinks brand ‘Bootea’. He posted on his Instagram account word for word:

“Here you go, at 4pm est, write the below. Caption: ‘Keeping up with the summer workout routine with my morning @booteauk protein shake!”

There we have an influencer marketing fail as he most likely has an assistant that posts for him.

scott-fail

So the moral of the story here is when using an ambassador or advocate, it needs to be believable and to come across as though the person genuinely uses the product they’re promoting, otherwise it can unfortunately be detrimental to how the brand is perceived by their target audience – the paying customer!

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