We hear a lot these days about Influencers and Evangelists. So, what is the difference and what is better for your organization? The difference is fairly straightforward and comes down to money and trust. Both influencers and evangelists can be beneficial and both are after the same goal – buzz, word of mouth, and ultimately higher engagement and sales.
Influencers are often paid for the work they do – hired to generate interest and create buzz. Evangelists are usually unpaid, true fans – so in love with the product or brand that they’ll gladly spread the word for free. The difference between paid and unpaid individuals touting a product or company is all about trust. You listen to and trust the recommendations of friends and family much more than someone who may (or may not) be paid to talk about and push a product or brand. Yes, that seems pretty obvious, but of course there is always a gray area.
Is Joe Rogan of The Joe Rogan Experience podcast an influencer or evangelist – a paid spokesman or a true fan? It would seem Joe is a brilliant combination of both. With an ad format where Joe can choose advertisers and has free reign to ad lib ad copy, Joe sounds like a true fan while also often being a paid influencer and spokesman. I would guess this format and Joe’s impressive ability to come across as a trusted friend is very effective for sponsors. Of course, if Joe mentions or endorses a product or brand naturally during an interview (all paid sponsors are mentioned at beginning of each podcast) trust levels and listener attention will be higher.
What do promotional stickers have to do with influencers and evangelists? Stickers can be an important tool with both types of marketers for generating word of mouth, buzz, and supporting new evangelists. It’s that simple. Stickers displayed by fans are viewed as endorsements not a paid ads and encourage word of mouth.
What do you think? Why aren’t there more effective marketers like Joe Rogan building trust and advertising as both an influencer and evangelist? What can you do to shift your marketing efforts to a more trust based evangelistic model and enable your “fans” to better spread the word?