Social Marketing efforts fall short with Influential Brand Advocates.

JupiterResearch has found that, although nearly one-quarter of all online adults are considered influential brand advocates, they actually spend more time online researching and purchasing than spreading the word. As a result of this behavior, outlined in a new report “Brand Advocates: Creating Rewarding Relationships,” the expectations of social marketers are being called into question as influential brand advocates report a preference for mainstream rather than social media when gathering information.

According to the report, influential brand advocates are defined, in part, by their purchase behavior and high rate of online activity – more than two-thirds of brand advocates research and purchase products online compared to slightly over half of all online users who do so. Because of these traits, social marketers must focus on attracting this segment of the online population in ways to which they are more receptive.

“Although a high level of online activity may suggest the influential brand advocates would respond to social marketing tactics, they are actually more traditional in their manner of research,” explained Emily Riley, Analyst at JupiterResearch. “This group is more likely to read a blog for information rather than create their own; advocacy toward a product or service is most likely to be generated by word-of-mouth.”

Value for the money and reliability are the most important factors for brand advocates in making a purchase. For this reason, social marketers should target this group by aiding in their research activity through product microsites or product previews rather than blogs and user-generated content (UGC).

“Marketers will have an easier time of attracting more brand advocates if they target this group with the right tactics,” said David Schatsky, President of JupiterResearch. ” Behavioral and content targeting are likely to attract brand advocates, since more than half of this segment is likely to pay attention to online ads that fit their interests or current activity.”

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