I have been blogging since 2010 and have worked with several brands through ambassadorships and websites that help connect influencers with brands looking for reviews on new products. It has been a rewarding experience for me and has helped me grow my audience. Yes, getting to try out products for free is a major perk. However, I am noticing a trend in how this relationship has been evolving in the last few years and would like to offer some advice to brands, from an influencer's perspective, on how to best develop a mutually beneficial relationship.
1. STOP LOOKING ONLY AT NUMBERS
You want the most bang for your buck and look for those influencers that have the largest reach. Perhaps you use one of several sites out there to measure their data and see which influencer can reach the most people or a specific target group that you feel your product is ideal for. This viewpoint, though understandable, may be short sighted. Some brands require a 5,000 - 10,000 reach or higher on their influencers' social media networks before even considering working with them. An influencer can have the best written reviews, consistently use a product well after the campaign is over because they really did enjoy it, but get passed over by other companies solely because their numbers are not at a specific level.
Influencers understand that marketing dollars need to be well spent. Picking a great influencer for your brand should be competitive. Just keep in mind that not all influencers are going to be the best fit just on numbers alone. You may be missing out those just building their networks and who are motivated to work diligently on your campaign. You are also missing out on those that actually already like your product and want to bring more of your brand's business to their audience simply because they haven't hit that magic number just yet. They will. Trust me on that. The question is whether your brand will be one of the standouts to help them do it. You can not bottle and sell what influencers offer in passion for great products. They may not have the biggest audience or reach on paper but they may be able to connect with more people in a room of 100 then someone else can in a room of 1,000.
2. PROVIDE INFORMATION & BE SPECIFIC
Your campaign is important to them and they want to do right by you and your brand. In that light be specific about your needs and have a direct point of contact for them if possible should they have questions along the way. They want to know everything they can about the product. Make that easier by providing a link they can go to to find nutritional information, product details, or a link to the product's basic FAQ's.
It is important that they know what is expected of the as they navigate your campaign. Give them specific timelines and make sure you provide adequate time to use the product itself. For a fair and honest review to be done properly there needs to be some time allowed for a reviewer to use it as intended and over time.
3. PICK ONE OR TWO HASHTAGS
There is nothing more frustrating that having to keep track of multiple hashtags for various parts of a campaign. In our everyday posts an influencer may use several, and even make up their own for fun, but on a campaign for you they want to make sure their readers can find the information they want and that you can track the information you need. Keeping is simple makes it easier for you but allows influencers the ability to keep their readers from feeling like they are just spamming them. They need to build their audience's trust not only in your brand but theirs as well.
4. GET TO KNOW THEM
If you want them to promote your brand well it might serve you to actually get to know your influencers. Read their blogs and comment on them. Get to know them on some basic level, even if you just take the time to follow them on Instagram, Facebook, or other social networks.
The relationship between the influencer and the brand can only work well when the content of the campaign matches well with who we are. Again, those pesky numbers don't tell the whole story. You cannot get to know them without some interaction with them. They are called "social" media networks for a reason.
5. GIVE THEM FEEDBACK
Once your campaign is completed influencers often would like feedback from you too. If they did a great job they want to know. They may want the relationship to continue with you, especially if they loved the brand and product they reviewed. Let them know if that is something that can happen. If not, that is okay too. They gave you an honest review and let you know some insight on how others might perceive that product. Whether a review is good or bad, it is important that the relationship come full circle and not just end with a submission of a link and/or an email from PayPal. Whether a review is good or bad, it is important that the relationship come full circle and not just end with a submission of a link and/or an email from PayPal.
Brand marketing and the impact of influencers on advertising is growing and evolving on a daily basis. It is a relationship that should be nurtured. For that relationship to work it must be a partnership that both parties see benefit from. Growing influencers are often the best out there. They are passionate and determined and if given the chance they can be your brand's biggest champions.