Thank you so much for the amazing responses that I got for the first post in this series that covered what brands should expect from working with bloggers. In this second part, I talk about three key ways in which brands can maximise their influencer marketing campaigns with us and in turn, what would encourage a blogger to perform their best.
What brands can do
4. Take more initiative following up on campaigns
Think of it like this: I know a guy that’s perfect for my friend ‘J’. Every now and then I invite him out with us and drop hints about their compatibility. She’s met him a few times now and perhaps had a line or two of communication. They haven’t had a chance to have a proper conversation because this guy just isn’t approachable. It looks like he cares more about his outward appearance than forging real connections with people to whom he has been introduced. However, he’s very friendly with me because he likes that I invite him out and has asked me why he doesn’t get messages from J.
If that wasn’t obvious enough then I need a drink. The brand is the guy and my friend ‘J’ is my audience. No matter how many times I post about a brand, if that company’s social team is not in the practice of capitalising on interactions that I instigate through my posts, people will not follow or engage with their content. Some brands can go too far, for example, it’s a firm no to replying to comments for me. It’s a yes to following users who have expressed an interest in the brand. It’s a yes to commenting on images I’ve posted featuring them so that others who engage will know that the account is run by dedicated, intuitive and friendly people.
Influencer marketing is not just about the blogger posting content, it’s also about how well the brand can take lead and continue the conversation, rather than sitting back, tracking click-throughs and sales.
Furthermore, if a brand’s page is ‘unapproachable’, for example, they follow ten accounts and have 15k followers – that is not going to equate to very much activity either. In fact, many consumers believe that if they promote a brand out of their own will, are a regular customer or engage with them actively, they expect a reciprocation of some sort. To spell it out: follow your potential customers and influencers.
As a matchmaker, a blogger is there to introduce the customer to a brand and kind of say, ‘hey, you take it from here’. If a brand does not incite an emotional response from a customer then they cannot inspire or retain loyalty. Brands that are excellent at soliciting feelings from audiences on social media are Barkbox (humour, love), Revolve (aspiration through smart influencer marketing) and For Love and Lemons (inspiration from original and artistic content), just as a taster. They’ve done this through a lot of original content marketing alongside their influencer programmes, which is the essential step to following up on the introduction given by their chosen Instagrammer.
Furthermore, if a brand wants to take it a step further and establish quality followers and generate repeat sales from them, they should create their own content, just as they would expect an influencer to have original posts.
Now remember how I said I’d give you an alternative to discount codes? Here it is.
On a very practical scale, giveaways encourage audiences to follow a brand in order to win so that’s one major box on that checklist ticked off. The hype around a giveaway should not be underestimated either. The brand’s name will stay in the minds of participants through the anticipation and the check-back for the announcement of the winner. And more than likely, the influencer hosting it will post about the brand at least twice to promote the giveaway, as it’s in their interest to do so. If a participant entered the giveaway and was unsuccessful, they are more susceptible to future discount codes and now have an invested interest in the products. However, the one thing that seems to be overlooked by almost brand and blogger alike is that giveaways also evoke emotions in people. Not just the winner but those involved have now formed an attachment. This is something that is incredibly hard to do without an tear-jerking, big budget, nation-wide TV advert – ideally released around Christmas or Superbowl.
6. Pick the blogger for what he/she does best… and pay them.
Perhaps I’m unafraid to commit this to writing because I do not intend to make blogging a full time career so here goes: a brand should not choose me if they want me to hawk their items like a grocer on Portobello Market. Generally, consumers do not like to be bombarded with ‘buy now’, ‘on sale’, ‘shop this’ cat calls from brands because as this often takes place online, it’s impersonal and somewhat invasive. In fact, there’s data that shows that hard sells just aren’t favourable at all, rather people respond more positively to genuine, inspiring brands.
What better way to do this than via influencer marketing, integrating your brand’s message into a well-thought out campaign that the trusted blogger has created herself? And how do you guarantee commitment and quality in the final outcome? You pay that blogger for the work that a marketing strategist, photographer and model would’ve had to do instead of a single influencer.
For example, when I worked with Calla Atelier that gave me the freedom to post whenever and as much as I felt like, I managed to hit some of the highest engagement numbers I’ve ever experienced. Plus, almost everyone who has seen that dress has told me that they’ve clicked through to their Instagram or website.
Girls who constantly tout anything from slimming tea to mink lashes – those are who brands need to target if they want to hold a ruler up to creative content, because those girls are positioning themselves as brand ambassadors and sales reps.
Shot by Yip, @iso195
Zara top and backpack
Calla Atelier dress
Charles and Keith shoes