Earlier this year, a tweet caught my eye, and then I realised that these tweets were becoming a trend. It went something like this:
Random Name @randomname1 Can’t wait to meet @traditionalpakisnack @funnyname @humorousculturalreference at The Up and Coming Restaurant today! #BloggersMeet #MoveUp
Enthusiastically I clicked on the profiles to check out what these people blog about but their posts were mainly about brand activities and maybe one in 12 posts was not about brands. Ah, the disappointment!
Since then I have kept a close watch on how brands tap into the blogging community to create awareness about their activities and I’ve observed the following:
- The same bloggers seem to be at every event, regardless of the category/industry.
- These bloggers will live tweet during the event; disseminating whatever information is shared. But that is the only time they will tweet about it.
- The bloggers tweet regularly about daily life, politics, food cravings, social issues. They do NOT regularly tweet or blog about beauty products, education options, favorite eateries, planning weddings, banking, or Chinese mobile phones.
- Many of these bloggers work at digital marketing or PR agencies.
The devil is in the details
Brand managers generally assess potential bloggers based on their number of followers (usually >800 followers gets you shortlisted) and their Klout score or some other metric that measures influence. These ensure that a brand manager can be fairly certain about getting his message out to thousands of people on social media. You get reach and generate ToM at the very least. It’s cost effective as well, what more can you ask for?
The trouble is that there are certain caveats to reach and influence. Bloggers may have thousands of followers but it is necessary to question who those followers are (by the way it is quite common for female bloggers to have more male followers) especially when all the blog contains are brand related posts. Secondly, because these bloggers aren’t specialists in a particular field, how can they possibly hope to influence their followers with their blog posts, tweets or Facebook shares and how can a brand derive any advantage for them?
This doesn’t mean using bloggers to communicate with your target audience is a bad strategy, but it does mean that brand managers need to assess potential bloggers with greater care.
Here are some questions brands managers should be asking:
Selecting bloggers: Are they relevant to your category/product? Can they be considered influencers or KOLs in actual terms? Are they actually bloggers of your category or have they been installed as such by digital agencies/PR firms? What do these bloggers usually tweet or write about? Why do these bloggers have so many followers?
Blog audiences: Who follows these bloggers and are they your target audience? Does your target audience even use social media or read blogs? What sort of social content is more likely to influence a decision in favor of your brand?
|In the UK, Adidas ran this promo using Arsenal FC footballer Kieran Gibbs|
Tracking: Are views and engagement enough as a success measure? Can a mechanism be devised to track concrete effectiveness of this tool?
Not only is it encouraging concrete action in favor of the brand, but the effectiveness of this tactic can be easily tracked.
To conclude, even if a brand’s objective is restricted to generating recall or ToM, most of the questions above still apply. Every brand should not be engaging bloggers and every blogger is not suitable for every brand.