Every year in the marketing world, particularly in the land of social media, there’s a buzzword that everyone is talking about. For the last 18 months its been Snapchat, but that bubble is slowly bursting with Instagram and Facebook cloning its offering for each of their platforms.
This has paved the way for the ‘next big thing’. I can now inform you that this latest big thing is influencer marketing – the act of engaging with a digital influencer i.e. somebody who has a blog with a lot of traffic or a large social media following on one or multiple channels.
If you’re thinking of engaging in this type of marketing in 2017, you should first of all read my post on how to get noticed by influencers as well as my other post on working with travel bloggers. Once you have, here are seven ways you can collaborate with influencers to increase awareness and sales for your business...
1. Offer them a free trip
This is the most obvious and common way companies in the travel industry work with digital influencers – they offer them something for free in return for exposure on one or multiple channels. This could be a free tour, a free activity plus transfers or it could be what every influencer is looking for – transport + accommodation + free trip. This offer is for you to work out with the person you’re collaborating with.
Once you’ve a good offering, you should find somebody who’s interested in working with you easily enough.
2. Engage in a ‘social media takeover’
If you’re offering somebody a free trip, you should take advantage of everything they offer, and not just exposure to their audience. Chances are the influencer you’re working with has an eye for good photography too.
With this in mind, consider having them take over your Instagram account during their tour for a social media takeover, where the influencer is the one manning your social media account(s). Or maybe, if they’re quick-witted, they could live-tweet their way through it?
Look at their channels before making the suggestion, then see if a takeover is a good option.
3. Publish a ‘guest post’ on your blog
Anybody who is SEO-savvy knows that the more places they have links on the internet, the better it is for their website. With this in mind, if a blogger has a guest post on your website with a link back to their website, it’s going to help grow their traffic (where the post isn’t spammy and is relevant).
So, again, if you’re offering an influencer a free trip, as part of the ‘package’, ask if they’ll write a guest post for your blog. And if you don’t have one, here are 10 reasons your website should have a blog.
4. Run a promotion via their blog and/or social channels
If you really want to tap into an influencer’s audience and drive as much engagment and awareness as possible, run a promotion, competition or special offer that is tailored especially for that influencer and their audience. Not only will you reach new customers, you’ll be able to track your return on investment too.
5. Publish a ‘sponsored post’ on their blog
These aren’t as popular as they once were, but many companies still publish ‘sponsored posts’ on independent travel blogs. The objective behind these posts is either to create backlinks or to promote a product or campaign.
However, if the arrangement is deemed shady by Google police, they can affect a website’s Page Rank, hence the decline in popularity. But if you feel it’s a avenue you wish to pursue, get in contact with the blog you want your business promoted on and ask them their rates.
6. Launch ‘Brand Ambassador’ programmes
A brand ambassador programme is the most structured, most formal and (possibly) most expensive way to engage with a digital influencer. This is where you team up with somebody for a said amount of time and work with them in different ways i.e. by reciprocal social media sharing, regular guest posting, multiple trips and more. They normally have a life-span of at least three months with an agreed retainer being paid to the influencer.
If you haven’t engaged in influencer marketing before, this may not be something for you. But if you have collaborated with influencers before and you’re looking for new and longer-term options, this could be for you.
7. Availing of their services – photography, video work and more
Digital influencers usually have a lot more to offer than large audiences on multiple channels. A lot of the time, they’re also very good at presenting in front of the camera, extremely good photographers, complete wordsmiths or very talented videographers. Make sure to take advantage of this when collaborating with them.
See if you can agree that, as well as promote your tour or activity, they also produce a video for your social channels or take photos you can use or write a blog post for your website or… something else other than simply promote your business!
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Published by Colm Hanratty
Colm is Founder and Managing Director of digital marketing agency Sixtwo Digital. After running Hostelworld.com’s content and social media for almost 11 years he felt it was time to branch out on his own, using all his experience to educate others in the travel space.