Ever had a friend that got rich and famous? You used to hang out all the time, lots of text conversations and funny email chains. Sure, people get busy and life happens, but now your texts and invitations to go out seem to get fewer and fewer responses. True, you’re happy for their success, but you miss the good old days when they were always around.
Like friendships, relationships with brands can become distant and somewhat sterile. Typically, the bigger they get, the less likely you are to connect, and you can start wondering if believing in this brand is worth it. Large corporations and international brands tend to be viewed as impersonal and unapproachable, and that’s just bad for business. How do stay away from this situation? There’s a few ways, and influencer marketing is a great option to help personalize your brand.
Friend of a Friend
Influencer marketing, at least on smaller scales, is all about authenticity. These professional content creators have worked long and hard to establish trusted relationships and have thousands of loyal followers, and they have done that with consistent messaging, great content, and engagement with their audience. Point is, they can do that for you, also. Once you’ve vetted and identified influencers who fit your niche and tone, give them all the assets they’ll need to showcase the best part of your brand. This includes high-quality images, positive messaging, and enough stories about your business to make the content they create feel personal—especially if they are geographically distant. Make them feel like a part of the company, and they’ll write and post like they are.
Walk a Mile in Their Shoes
Working off what we said above, your influencers need authentic connections to your brand. If there’s product, software, or any other aspect of your brand that one would need to be able to give a detailed endorsement or review, make certain that they have all the time and instruction they need. If any of the influencers you are working with happen to be local, invite them out to your store, office or factory and give them the inside scoop on how your operation works. Let them make appetizers with the chef, stitch up some vests, or debug some code with one of your developers. Not only will they get a good idea of your quality and attention to detail, they can also get great content through interviews and pictures that no one else can get. Giving readers a glimpse of how things really work and the people who make it happen is a great way to remind readers that your employees (like the readers) are the heart of your company.
Turn Over the Reins
You probably have some sort of social media presence…maybe you post daily, or perhaps you only get to it once in a while. Great influencers are professionals at making their social media posts engaging, interesting, and entertaining; it’s their stock in trade, and they work hard to keep them active. While most influencers will link back to their blog post about your brand to get higher reach, you might be able to additionally use individuals or crowdsourcing to give these experts a day representing your brand on a social channel. With some guidance, extra access, and a few suggestions on what to focus on, a talented influencer can give your brand a whole new look, all while humanizing and telling the stories you’d want everyone to hear. This is a wonderful opportunity to show off your workplace, highlight your ideals, and, most importantly, give some inside looks on how your customers use your product or service. American Express let a few of their cardholders take over, and brilliant content ensued:
It’s slick, entertaining, and, most of all, real. Think creatively and talk to a few influencers about how they’d do it. It exposes your social media audience to theirs, and vice versa, so both parties can benefit if done well. You can also crowdsource content…not only with influencers, but any numbers of active social media personalities. Surveys, challenges, or trivia questions are all fun ways to gamify your social posts, all resulting in valuable information about your consumers and getting that brand awareness out there as well.
Step Up and Own It
Now, there’s opportunity around every corner, and missteps and mistakes are no exception. If you send out a defective product or goof up on an order, come out and own it. Send the influencer double the goods, for example…but make it self-deprecating, self-aware, and even humorous if you can. Obviously, people appreciate a brand that admits mistakes, so be sure to make it public so everyone sees how you handle adversity. On a bigger scale, brands who face accusations of poor behavior or practices should get in front of it before hazy reports go viral.
Recently, Airbnb was facing reports of discriminatory practices from its members. And while this wasn’t directly Airbnb’s practices that were in question, they took the opportunity to launch a new campaign and hashtag: #weaccept . This affirmed their commitment to equality among its members, struck on a hot-button topic, and earned themselves well-deserved praise for doing the right thing.
There are lots of ways to make your brand approachable and friendly…did we miss any? Let us know in the comments below!