Recently, I was reading a Facebook discussion between some influencers about how brands require them to use hashtags in their tweets, posts and other social media. As a brand representative, I know this is probably because they are measuring the reach of these posts to report back to the client. Plus, it helps with discovery and helps to meet the FTC requirement to disclose paid endorsements (along with the #ad hashtag). Seems practical, right?
Except that it doesn’t really work well because the audience of these influencers, the ones you hope to reach, are starting to see hashtags as spam.
Hashtags aren’t the only problem. Very few brands are building influencer communities that last longer than the promotion. Brands often look at online communication as a “one and done” deal.
Like speed dating for marketing.
- Create a really awesome campaign and hashtag
- Find influencers, paid for lists or Klout score above 40
- Make an offer to said influencers to place content/messages
- Measure the “reach” or “buzz” of hashtag posts
But, where is the LOVE?
Facebook and Google+ groups can serve as an antidote for brands that are looking to build a more long-term relationship with the people that have the deepest interest. We have started a number of these groups (open, closed and secret) for brands, and have found that the successful ones have certain characteristics that make them thrive. These groups can be easily built on both Facebook and Google Plus, where you can limit the number of people in the group. You can also build a community from scratch but it has to be really amazing to get people go out of their way to participate.
We find that influencers that are active in these communities craft more on-target posts, tweets and content. And they even appropriately add hashtags, but that is never the goal in itself. When your influencer community comes to YOU with ideas of how to position the brand to their community, then you are #winning (sorry, couldn’t resist).
Since it is Valentine’s week, we thought we would deliver them in an easy-to-remember mnemonic based around LOVE. Because in the end, the goal is to build a long-term relationships with these influencers, one that will stand in good stead in sickness, in health until the contract do you part.
|Online groups must have someone from the brand who is active in the group. They need to be available to answer questions and field content. Brand stuff should only dominate 40 percent or less of the conversation.
|Groups that work are organized. They have a clear purpose and they have lots of interaction between participants. Brands that plan content and interaction do the best.
|Successful groups have value to the participants. Like any good date, it should be about YOUR date and not YOU. So, ask questions, and get to know your influencers.
|Love develops when you spend time with someone. Online meetups, in person events and even an occasional phone call will cement the relationship. Don’t leave it to a cold, impersonal email.
What have you done to make a more personal relationship with online influencers? Let’s learn from each other in the comments.
We wrote this post as a part of the “Not So Small Stories” series. Click though and read some of the posts and you will be on the way to meeting a few influencers right now.