As somebody that develops strategy for large corporate brands, I often work with different types of brand advocates in various social media channels. A common tactic of many marketers and PR professionals is to try to go after “influencers” to get them to talk about their product. Sometimes these influencers are individuals, sometimes they are communities, but a common denominator is that they have substantial audience sizes. The typical way of approaching these people or groups is to ship them a sample of your product and include a note that says something like, “Hope you enjoy this, please blog about it”. I think this is a good shotgun approach to communities, it’s a good step up from a press release and it gets your product information out to a lot of people very quickly. For individuals, I think we have to look at a more measured and personal approach.
To truly be effective in social media with influencers, I think you need to build a relationship, not ship a press package. You also have to recognize and understand the different groups that exist in social media, so you know how to develop and target brand programs and exposure. In case you fear that I’m starting to sound a little too professional and polished in this approach, I submit for your approval a hand drawn diagram in the picture to the left. Fancy, isn’t it? I put this beauty up on our office white board this morning while talking through the concept with a client.
Before we discuss what to do with these various groups, let’s start by defining them.