One of the commonalities I’ve seen lately in marketing strategy is that brands are shifting in to a network building mentality instead of running “campaigns” in the traditional sense of the word.
Call it brand ambassador building, brand advocacy strategy, marketing relationships or brand network—the gist is the same. Ongoing relationships with influencers that surround a brand is by far the most component to a good marketing strategy that I’ve ever seen.
One of the many pieces of maintaining a network of influencers that feels like “common sense” but falls through the cracks and weakens a strategy is the concept of consistent communication.
There are two ends of the spectrum. The over-communicators and the under-communicators.
Are Your Over-Communicating?
Whether it’s at a cocktail party or part of a marketing strategy—nothing is worse than an over-sharer…
Many influencers can start out as a brand fan and can be receptive communication until they get contacted too much or asked for too many favors.
This is an easy mistake to avoid if you keep two things in mind:
- With every favor you ask of your network are you offering them a give? This can be in the form of free product, exclusive information, SWAG, monetary compensation, etc.
- A good rule of thumb is once a month communication.
Are you an Under-Communicator?
Have of your contacts ever forgotten why they were on one of your e-mail lists? Do your earned brand mentions feel like they could be more frequent?
Many marketers have the relationships and happy fans in place—they just don’t know how to make the most of them.
The trick is staying on the brains of the people in your network by communicating worthy information regularly but not enough so that your emails become “white noise.”
Maintain Once a Month Communication
Again, rule of thumb is to maintain once a month communication and if you keep that in mind you will likely be able to achieve that perfect balance of communication with your network.
Here are some ideas to make your ongoing communications with your influencer network creative and foster awesome posts about your brand.
A check in email. Just a sincere, “how are you?” or “do you need anything from my end” sort of email. This can open up new collaboration and conversation opportunities.
Newsletter. Keep it monthly or quarterly but create a newsletter full of new and exciting information about your brand that would be relevant to your influencers and their audience.
Infographic. Create an infographic that displays new or entertaining information in a visually appealing way. This is something awesome your bloggers can include in a post with your branding on it.
Survey. Your network of influencers represents your consumer base so occasionally survey them with questions about your brand and upcoming projects. I always suggest offering a Starbucks gift card in return for them filling out your survey.
Research. This is especially effective for B2B brands. Using a survey or other channels of information gathering, publish new research and distribute it to your network of influencers before you give it to the rest of the world.
Exclusive information or an interview. Influencers want to be on the edge of great content production. If you can give them information first then they can create exciting content.
Birthday gifts. I think it’s a great idea to mark everyone’s birthdate in your network so that you can send your top influencers gifts. It’s a fairly small gesture that can produce fireworks for your brand.
Simple question. If you have a question about releasing a new product, have a link you want to share or something of the like, it is acceptable once in a while to send out a simple ask.
Consistent product. Send your influencers free product each season, quarter, etc. so they can consistently do product reviews and selfies of them experiencing your brand.
Events. If you are a local brand or have the ability to host influencer events, these are great ways to stay in touch and build a strong and personal relationship with your network.
Do you have any additional suggestions for staying in touch with your network of influencers? I would love to chat with you in the comments section so please weigh in!