With the rise of blogger and social media “celebrities,” influencer marketing campaigns have become increasingly common across all types of business industries. We know that customers today trust recommendations from the people around them more than classic types of advertising. So, if you’re looking for new ways to promote your business, an influencer collaboration could be right for you.
Fortunately, you don’t always need to pay an influencer to promote your business on their blog and/or social media pages. If you don’t have the budget to pay for an influencer marketing campaign, get creative! Often, proposing a generous “offer” (i.e. a trade of your products or services) with an appropriate “ask” (i.e. what the blogger will do for you) can result in a mutually beneficial influencer collaboration.
If you are thinking about reaching out to a blogger or social media influencer for an collaboration, you may be unsure of the best route to take. Here are three basic ways that bloggers and influencers can help get the word out about your small business and guidelines around proposing each type of “ask.”
Blogs are among the most trusted sources of information online for many consumers. To leverage the social trust and audience cultivated by bloggers, both large and small businesses are turning to sponsored blog posts. Examples of sponsored blog posts include feature posts and roundups.
In a feature blog post, your business is the main focus of the piece. Feature blog posts often center around a review of your business’ products or services and can sometimes include a custom giveaway, exclusive discount code or even affiliate links.
On the other hand, a product/service/business roundup is a blog post that typically includes a number of different businesses, and calls out top competitors in a given niche or area. Since your business is not the sole focus of the blog piece and you can often request to be retroactively added to an existing roundup, this ask is not quite as great as a feature blog post.
A feature blog post should be considered a major ask. Be thoughtful and generous in your offer when requesting such a time consuming collaboration. For example, if you want a blogger to write a feature post about your new gym, you might offer them a 6-month free membership (rather than just a 15% off discount or a short free trial). If you own a jewelry company, consider offering the blogger a premium collection of your work (rather than just a clearance piece). The purpose should be to not only get press and influence but to try to get the blogger to turn into a loyal customer down the line.
Whichever ask you are requesting, when you reach out to the blogger, it is always important that you relate your brand to the content that they already have written about and shown interest in. Bloggers will not want to write content that is too far outside of what they normally post (and what their readers expect).
Note: If you’re doing a giveaway or promoting an online store, you should also consider setting up a custom landing page for this campaign.
In addition to posting on their blog, an influencer collaboration may also take the form of promoting your business across their other social channels such as Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, or Facebook.
Even without an accompanying blog post, a blogger or influencer can post a social media shout out. Though short and sweet, they can yield big results for your business if done appropriately.
Social media shout outs often include unique photography or images, and the content should be tailored to each social channel. For example, a tweet must be crafted to fit within 140 characters, photography edited to fit within the standard Twitter layout, and a shortened link must be created. The tone and verbiage of the post may also need to be adjusted if the audiences vary for each social media channel.
Note: more popular the influencers are often less willing to do sponsored posts for a trade in goods or services, as opposed to money.
To get a social media shout out or mention, you may ask the influencer to post a photo or video of themselves using or wearing your product, engaging in your service, or interacting with your company in some way. There are plenty of creative opportunities for such shoutouts. An ask for single shout out is a relatively a quick and easy influencer collaboration—compared to feature blog posts— and therefore doesn’t always require a major offer. For example, if you own a bakery, you could offer a box of your top selling pastries in exchange for one sponsored Instagram post.
An ongoing brand ambassador relationship can take on many forms. Typically, brand ambassadors will wear and/or use a brand products on an ongoing basis and promote the company continually across online and offline channels. For example, a brand ambassador could pass out samples at relevant local events and become a ‘face of the company.”
With ongoing brand ambassadors, it is important to develop a way to standardize the relationship and track work both online and off. You may want to come up with a calendar for online posting or offline events. Establishing clear expectations on both ends and keeping in regular communication with each other will help ensure that such an ongoing relationship will continue to be mutually beneficial and that both parties are happy.
Whichever route you choose for your influencer campaign—whether it’s blog content, social media shout outs, or other types of on-going relations—make sure that you take the time to do your research, consider the influencer, and carefully come up with an appropriate ask and offer. When done right, influencer campaigns help tremendously with building awareness for your brand and can ultimately lead to serious business growth!