The five deadly sins of managing online influencers

Martin Carter, creative manager, Stickyeyes
Martin Carter, creative manager, Stickyeyes

So, your brand is looking to get involved in influencer engagement, create positive relationships with bloggers and secure quality coverage that gets seen and shared by millions? Whatever you do, don't be guilty of these five deadly sins, writes Martin Carter, creative manager, Stickyeyes.

At two recent Masterclassing events, Stickyeyes spoke with some major global brands about their blogger engagement strategies. Heather Healy and Ruby Black, from our creative communications team, gave examples of brands that were nailing their blogger engagement strategies, as well as ones that saw their campaigns turn to disaster.

To avoid the ‘disaster’ pile, have a look at our five deadly sins of online engagement.

1. Not giving them a reason to work with you

Just as top journalists receive thousands of press releases every day, the top bloggers receive hundreds of pitches to work with brands. That means you have to offer them a very compelling reason to work with you.

Sending them a high-res photo and a press release won’t cut it these days but at the same time, you don’t necessarily have to arrange a chauffeur driven limo to the hottest party in town. Be personable with bloggers, display your knowledge about them and demonstrate that you are considering them particularly for your project.

2. Not being thorough

Not that you would, but let’s say that you wanted a blogger to feature six photos of themselves doing a handstand whilst wearing a gypsy belt. In this scenario, it’s probably best to lay that out in the first e-mail. Otherwise, you’re going to find yourself in a very awkward position when you have to tell the blogger two weeks later that the brand isn’t happy with their photos.

While it might be an extreme example, explaining exactly what you are looking for from the outset is vital. It shows that you are being clear and upfront about what you expect and it lets the blogger decide whether that is something that they want to get involved in. If they don’t, at least you know before you start working together.

3. Overpromising what you can deliver

You might want to work with the UK’s biggest vlogger, but they might not be interested at first. To persuade them, you might promise that you’ll get their vlog featured on your brand’s Facebook page at least three times a week and that you will ask your good friend at Grazia to see about getting her on the front cover.

The problem is that you have no access to the brand’s Facebook page and the only person you know at Grazia is the intern you chatted to on the Northern Line that time. It’s probably not going to happen.

Be realistic and be honest, especially if you’re a small brand. If you promise the world and can’t deliver, you’re not doing yourself any favours.

4. Being inconsistent

We talk to bloggers a lot, which means that we get to know a lot about their biggest gripes. One of the biggies? Consistency.

Bloggers tell us that they find that PR folk can be hot and cold. They’re your best mate when they want something from you but once the post is live, nada. Not even a thank you.

While we acknowledge that people are busy, it really isn’t too much effort to keep your bloggers informed. Even if it is just an email to say "the dress should be with you in 2 – 3 days" or "thanks very much for your post - that handstand is quite majestic!" it means a lot to the blogger.

5. Failing to do your homework

Don’t be the brand that ends up being talked about as the latest example of how not to do blogger engagement. If you’re working on a project with a Manchester-based football blogger, check that he isn’t a City fan before you send a United shirt in the post. It sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised how many brands have got it very wrong.

Always know who you are emailing and remember that mail merge is not your friend. Neither is copy and paste.

Do your research, do it properly, and avoid being that guy.

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