Bloggers are becoming a massive influence over consumers. Here are five reasons why your business should be reaching out to them.
The internet is moving fast; particularly how people consume content. Consumers are now engaging directly with brands and changing how they look for information and from whom they want it. Bloggers have become the new influencer and just as homewares, kitchenware, and cosmetics companies harnessed the socialization of women in the early twentieth century, so social media has the potential to do the same in the twenty-first century. The same thing that made Avon and Tupperware so successful is what makes bloggers so powerful – consumers get to hear from people who they know and trust; it’s not an ad or a pitch, it’s someone just like them. There is an untapped opportunity for Australian businesses to engage with these influencers and though it’s becoming increasingly popular there is one big question for many brands: Why empower other people to talk about our brand, especially when we can’t control what they say? Isn’t it risky?
The truth is people are already talking about your brand whether you ask them to or not. This won’t change, but you can change how you engage with it. Working with bloggers offers several clear opportunities. To start with, they are early and active adopters, quickly realizing the potential of a new social network to grow their community base and learning equally quickly the sort of content that works for each network. So bloggers, knowing how to do this for their own content, also know what to look for and share, when it comes to creating a brand presence online.
So here are five reasons why I believe every business should be engaging with bloggers:
1 First up, they are a consumer. If you’re thinking of working with a blogger chance are it’s because you think they know how to reach your target market. This is probably because they are part of your target market. Working with bloggers gives you direct access to someone who you want to reach and gives you the chance to hear directly from them
2 They know how to influence consumers. They don’t have your PR or marketing know-how, they don’t speak your language but chances are they have a better idea of how to influence your target market using social media than you do. This is because they are your market, and they know and understand social media because they are social media. For bloggers social media is an integrated part of their lives such that it is second nature, it’s not a business networking opportunity or something they feel they have to learn.
3 They have social influence both online and offline. They have active communities on most, if not all, of the major social networks and they are creating unique content for each of those networks every day of the week. They are also increasingly gathering offline – both socially and around brand promotions. They are intertwining their messages with each other, spreading the conversation further than ever before. The potential for them to influence consumer purchasing decisions is HUGE!
4 They have a real-time impact. Social is now. If you’re launching a product, promoting a new brand, or just wanting to get a conversation started bloggers will make it happen now.
5 They will provide insight and information you can’t get elsewhere. When a blogger writes about you there’s a good chance their community will write back – in the comments and replies to all the content the blogger has shared. This is an unfiltered commentary and can provide invaluable insight into the opinions and behavior of your target demographic.
Of course, none of this is to pretend that blogger outreach is perfect or fail-safe. As with all marketing, there is an element of unpredictability, but it’s also this element of dynamism that makes it attractive. With consumers already talking about your brand, having social influencers like bloggers “out there” having real (and hopefully positive experiences) of you, your team or representatives, and products is a great first step towards positive consumer sentiment.
Blogger outreach offers a huge opportunity for businesses and yet it remains a largely untapped space. Can you see the potential yet?
Lousia Clarke is the founder and director of the leading Australian Blogger Agency Brand Meets Blog (www.brandmeetsblog.com), a business that connects brands with the most influential, relevant bloggers in their category.