The digital age has brought about consumers that are no longer passive receivers of brand messaging (if they have ever been), but engage in active relationships with the brands they love or hate. In these relationships, the brand promise is under constant evaluation: is a brand delivering on its promise or breaking it?
As a marketer, you’ve undoubtedly heard about the 1% rule — that just 1% of your brand’s follower’s are responsible for the majority (over 80%) of sharing. They share your campaigns with their larger social network, passing on links to your contests, promotions, deals, and other marketing campaigns. These key influencers are more than just fans — they’re brand ambassadors. It's the same reason hundreds of thousands of dollars in gifts are given to actors at the Oscars each year (and the same reason Kim Kardashian will tweet your brand for $10,000).
Simply because these key influencers can drive between 30 up to 70% of ALL visits to their campaign pages, beating out display and search advertising as the most efficient driver of traffic to their sites. That’s pretty incredible, considering activities require no media buys and costs are (comparatively) next to nothing to implement, whereas banners and search ads are a huge expense. These “super influencers” drive an even higher share of conversion — on average influencing 30% or more of all conversions on marketers’ sites just by recommending a brand’s products, content, or promotions to their online communities. If you can reach out to this 1% target by directly offering them special promotions, thanking and rewarding them for their influence, they will be motivated to share early and share often.
Identifying your key online influencers is fairly straightforward. There are a wealth of social media measurement tools that enable marketers to find the people who are talking most about their brand, see what type of content they’re sharing and with whom, and how they are sharing it (e-mail, Twitter, Facebook, their own blogs, etc.). Once you find these influencers, the trick is activating them to share even more. The bottom line though is that the opinions of bloggers are heard and respected by thousands, even though many brands still ignore their potential reach.
For most brands, this is because Blogger outreach is still relatively unknown – though the science of targeting the influencer (articulated by Razorfish as Social Influence Marketing (SIM)) is proven to build trust. It’s a framework that extends real (BTL) grassroots activity that builds a groundswell of support and momentum. By targeting and building relationships with bloggers that address your audience, you can garner effective, unbiased reviews of your products and services. Their readers will then be introduced to your brand, get interested in it, visit your site, and hopefully buy based upon peer advocacy.
Simply identifying your key influencers is not enough in today’s market. Instead, you’ve got to find them and then motivate them to share. Over the long term, your goal as a marketer is to increase the size of your influencer base by finding and engaging in a direct dialogue with your super influencers and turn more “followers” into “sharers.”
Some of the other benefits of blogger outreach also include:
- Peer Advocacy - People trust consumers (i.e. bloggers) more than they trust advertising (Nielsen Global Online Consumer Survey 2009).
- ROI - It’s cost effective and ROI is measurable
- Amplification - It has the potential to go viral. People tweet and share good blog posts, and may do that with a blog review of your brand.
Agency's know that the the old methods of advertising and marketing simply aren’t cutting it anymore. The landscape changed. With sharing, community and conversation being today’s keywords, shoving a television commercial down consumers’ throats isn’t the way to create brand evangelists anymore.
Integration - Like all media, blogger outreach should be interwoven into your wider marketing strategy. For example, any time you see a new post referencing your brand on someone’s blog, tweet it, put it on your Facebook Page, share it on bookmarking sites, and link to it on your brand blog. That will further amplify indexing, relevance and solidify the relationship for further partnerships. Bottom line? If your brands looking for an edge (and have an appetite for innovation as a differentiator) - with 126 million blogs and growing, BLOGGER OUTREACH is something you simply can’t afford to ignore any longer.
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