Since moving back to the Midwest from Los Angeles in 2006, I’ve had ChiTAG on my radar. For years I felt the kids were too young to make the trip enjoyable. Once we finally took the leap, we realized we had been missing out on a great family experience. Last year, my girls (then 10 and 9) wanted to take their participation in the media activities to a new level and decided to interview participating exhibitors.
As a mom and a social media professional, I wholeheartedly encouraged it. Not only would it give them some valuable life experiences but it would also provide us a unique angle for featuring exhibitors on the various SAHM Reviews social channels.
Before leaving home, they made some notes about what to ask and even practiced what they were going to say. At the blogger breakfast and in the media time before the show opened, they interviewed seasoned inventors, young inventors, distributors and brand representatives. Not only did they thoroughly enjoy creating videos but I think their interviewees did as well.
If a 10 year old walked up to your exhibit and asked you a few questions, would you be ready to respond? Social media comes in all shapes and sizes. Customers are all ages. Advocates are everywhere. Are you giving your influencers the opportunity to connect with you in a positive way? As we prepare for this year’s media event at the Chicago Toy and Game Fair, I thought I would share a few tips for helping social media and bloggers make you shine.
Embrace social media
Secure your brand across all social networks, including new networks. Setting up an account is (typically) free. Whether you have a plan in place to actively utilize that social network or should not be a concern. The point is to make sure your brand is available when you are ready for it. Even more important is that it is available when your fans, customers and advocates are ready to use it. If you don’t already have a branded Facebook page (using a vanity URL), a Twitter handle, a YouTube page, a Google+ page and an Instagram account then put it at the top of your priority list. If someone is passionate about your product, they will want to be able to tag you on their favorite social channel. If you see something positive about your brand online, share it on all your social channels. There is nothing more valuable than unsolicited praise. You know the best part? The customer who wrote (what you shared) will become an even bigger advocate.
Leverage an influencer’s strength
Content creators (bloggers, vloggers, etc) put a great effort into culminating a community and earning readers’ respect. What they have to offer is valuable but realize not all bloggers are created equal. There are different types of sites. The two most common that are represented at events like ChiTAG are (1) content creators and (2) deal sites.
With content marketing, your product isn’t the spotlight.
The focus is on the story created by the author in which your product happens to play a part. Think of your favorite food dish. If you have a recipe that includes use of Brand ABC mayonnaise and you’re trying to recreate the same recipe, chances are you’ll purchase Brand ABC mayonnaise. With content marketing, the author provides an environment where the reader can relate to the situation, the story and therefore the product mentioned therein. Content marketing isn’t about immediate sales, it’s about generating interest and a connection. This type of marketing is very important and is a great way to get your products showing up in Google searches. Because of the depth of these types of stories, quality bloggers can garner a fee for their content. Don’t let their request for compensation scare you away but don’t forget to do your homework before signing on. Check out their site. Read their content. See if it’s a good fit for your brand.
Deal and coupon bloggers are great for getting the word out about a promotion or deal
If you want to work with this group of influencers, make a plan to offer custom discount or coupon codes exclusive to their site.
Influencers are open to a variety of ways to work together. Whether it involves providing complimentary products for review, compensated reviews, ambassador programs, sponsorship/representation at trade events or spotlight from your brand website/social channels, there are ways to work together within the constraints of any budget. Develop relationships with bloggers, vloggers, influencers of all types and find the win/win situation and run with it.
While the landscape for sharing content online continues to change, one thing remains consistent: sincere, honest content is key. Let the people who love your products work to your advantage.