A lot has changed since the beginning of social media marketing dominance.
We all have witnessed how more and more people are using social media nowadays – from everyday chat with friends to hobbies to business-related activities.
This level of growth has made previously successful strategies outdated like conveying the same messages over and over to your audience. It does not work as well as it did before. Strong relationship between brands and consumers is what social media marketers should focus on right now.
I know many marketers who do not have the correct purpose for social media marketing. Some grow their following and fans just for the sake of bragging rights, while some just wanted to drive more traffic to their contents even if they do not convert. Though these may have some positive effects, it is best to use social media marketing to build your authority over your niche, and to gain better search engine ranking.
The internet is based around links. And while the notion that “one’s social influence can affect the links to one’s website” still holds true, what has changed is the nature of social influence. Previously, many practiced what is called link exchange. This begins with someone sending an email asking a similar website to post his link on their contents, and offers to post their link on his contents, too.
But they just don’t work anymore.
Blogs And Social Media Explosion
From Yahoo Groups to Friendster and MySpace to Orkut (what?) to Facebook to Twitter, Instagram and eventually to a lot of other networks, there’s no denying that social media has taken humankind by storm. With this shift came the death for many strategies, like the one I said above – link exchange and link-buying.
Another strategy that died is the buying of followers and fans. Likes and retweets were also bought on a massive scale. Some sell 10,000 followers for $50, some for less, some for more. The thing is that many of these “followers” are fake and are spam accounts. Unfortunately, these activities pushed social networks and search engines to discourage them, and turned the positive effects to negative. Those who practice these are even penalized.
The best practice is to really engage your audience and get as many people to share and like your contents without asking them to.
Social media marketing is not dead.
Nor will it die anytime soon.
But you need to develop and use good practices to truly succeed with your campaigns.
I have a tactic that you can follow to succeed in your social media influence – influencer marketing, aka blogger outreach.
So here’s another type of marketing called influencer marketing, also known as blogger outreach campaigns.
What’s an influencer?
It is defined as “an individual or brand who has an above average reach through word of mouth in a particular industry or niche.” Think Pat Flynn, John Lee Dumas, Dave Ramsey, or Scott Kelby. They are those who has a substantial following, and whom many listen to and believe in.
An influencer can be anyone. And it’s worth noting that 86% of influencers are bloggers. Yeah, that’s right, 86% are bloggers.
Influencer marketing or blogger outreach is the use of an influencer’s or blogger’s audience reach to introduce, review, or promote a brand’s products or services. Some bloggers do it in exchange for free usage of the service or hands on with the products (which may or may not be kept to themselves), and some do it for a “fee.”
And it totally makes a lot of sense.
Why? Because you are promoting your products and services to a specific audience. It’s comparable in reach to TV and radio advertisements, and may be more than that.
And take this: bloggers do not like burning bridges with brands, especially the new ones. They know that there are tons of opportunities working with them, and so, they will likely say good things (and some minor bad things here and there) about your products. Many bloggers are really smart, too. This means that they would usually accept reviews only for the products that they believe in.
And who doesn’t love awesome products for free?
But, take note that Google is not a fan of link exchanges that involves paying the blogger or giving them free service or products. They call it as link scheme and they may penalize it eventually. Use it carefully and check Google’s requirements on it.
Blogger Outreach How-To’s
Here are some things to consider when doing a blogger outreach campaign:
- Keep It Simple
I don’t know about you, but I don’t like receiving emails as long as my blog posts. We’re all busy and we don’t like to waste time reading through a long email that point nowhere. When I am asked to review a product or service, I like to know the overview from just the subject line, and the whole scenario within one or two sentences.
- Know The Influencer
If you aren’t influenced or amazed by the influencer, chances are his or her audience aren’t either. And you also need to know what they exactly do and how you can leverage it. If you are marketing a new herbal coffee product, you should ask a blogger who caters to coffee lovers instead of tea lovers. You have to find the specific influencer to help you market your product to a niche audience. Do your own research by following a prospective influencer – read their blogs, see their engagements, or you may ask them directly. You also need to learn whether they have a good number of following. But this doesn’t need to be in the millions. Some niches go only to several thousands to tens of thousands but they can still be very effective.
- Be Truly Passionate
Most of the influencers are passionate about their industry or niche. You need to show them how passionate you are for your product or service so that they know you are worth their time. And it’s best to reach to them personally – I mean you should not pass the job to somebody else because they may not be as passionate as you are. But remember not to be annoying. Don’t send them email after email if they don’t respond quick enough. Remember they are busy. Or don’t tell them, “I know where your office is and I will go there personally if you don’t respond.” That is plain stupid.
- Show Creativity
Bloggers and other influencers are working their butts off to be creative. They try to be different from others in the same industry. You will get their attention only if you are creative enough on your marketing strategies. Either you have a unique and revolutionary product, a unique selling proposition, or have a creative content campaign for your product.
- Build A Solid Relationship
Trust, commitment, respect, and communication are some keys to a good business relationship. You need to make influencers trust you so they would say yes to your proposal. Also, show them how committed you are to your campaign and respect whatever they say. Don’t force them to trust you – it is a gradual process. Communication plays a big role to building trust and relationship and it means you need to learn how to talk smart and listen intelligently.
When you are starting to build your “relationship” with an influencer, don’t haste. Relationships can be very fragile and break easily with some stupid acts. Follow our recommendations above and you’ll be on your way to a great relationship with influencers. Remember, blogger outreach or influencer marketing is such a strong platform that gives a ton of benefits to marketers. It’s worth the try.
How To Get Their (Influencers / Bloggers) Attention?
As I said, influencers and bloggers are busy. And their email addresses are not usually public. The best ways to get their attention is to either be actively engaging their blogs – commenting on it, sharing them, tweeting them (not direct message), or mentioning them in your tweets or other social networks – or go find a common friend who can introduce you to them. The latter has an added trust bonus and works well most of the time.
That’s about it. What are your best blogger outreach practices? Tell us in the comments below.