Word-of-mouth recommendations are among the most powerful ways to increase awareness about a brand, initiative, service, business – the list goes on. In fact, Nielsen reports 84 percent of consumers say they either completely or somewhat trust recommendations and 68 percent trust online opinions from other consumers.
The modern landscape of word-of-mouth recommendations looks different than in the past. Businesses can take advantage of this shift by incorporating a social media influencer strategy into their marketing plans. A social media influencer is a blogger or other notable online personality who can vouch for your business through content on their website or social media channels.
We caught up with three of San Antonio’s most popular online influencers at a recent Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) luncheon. The speakers were Melanie Mendez-Gonzales of ¿Qué Means What?, Tori Johnson of The sTORIbook, and Colleen Pence of San Antonio Mom Blogs. The trio of bloggers shared some key insights around influencer marketing:
Relationships are key
Bloggers write because they’re passionate. Whatever the topic, from parenting to fashion, they choose to write about a topic because it’s close to their hearts. If your business/program/service is something that could be interesting and relevant to their readers, this opens the door for a potential partnership.
If you want to partner with a blogger, you shouldn’t contact them once a year about your business. Influencers are in the blogging business to be closer to a community and to share their personal stories. The panelists suggested starting outreach with an email chain to introduce yourself and your brand and to involve them in the creation of ideas for promoting your business or service.
Do your research
If you want to be spotlighted by a great blogger, you have to know a little about them first. Take some time to read their blog, understand their audience, and get to know the writer. Follow their social media channels and read comments from their audiences. If you want to be included in their editorial calendar, you have to fit their brand.
How to pitch
Social media influencers are not members of the old school media brigade, so they shouldn’t be pitched like traditional media. As Tori Johnson said during the luncheon, “A press release isn’t going to cut it.” You have to stand out to get noticed. For example, Colleen Pence receives 30-60 pitches every single day! Here are some tips to get your brand to the top of an influencer’s list:
- Pitch in advance. These bloggers have months’ worth of material planned. Not to mention, they are also busy managing their businesses and keeping up with their families. They likely won’t be able to drop what they’re doing to attend your event on a moment’s notice, so keep that in mind.
- Ask for their opinion and be flexible. They’re the experts here. They know what engages their audiences best. If you have an idea for what you’d like for your business, send it on over to them, but be open to discussing their options and ideas too.
- Consider what you can do for them. Remember, this isn’t just a hobby for most influencers. “Blogs are brands and businesses,” said Melanie Mendez-Gonzalez. Compensation isn’t always required, but it certainly “sweetens the deal,” as Colleen said. But remember, compensation doesn’t always have to be monetary. It can come in the form of a free service or product from your business.
Our team at DeBerry Group has developed amazing relationships with social media influencers across the country who have helped us get the word out about our clients. If you’re interested in building an influencer marketing program to reach your business goals, email our Social Marketing and Public Relations Manager Rachel Trevino today at Rachel@thedeberrygroup.com.