After about 6 month of blogging, I had companies approaching me to test out their products. If I liked it, they would appreciate me sharing my positive experience with my readers. Hence, my introduction to the world of influencer marketing. I started noticing all of all the #ad and #sponsored content while browsing content on social media. I began to read stories from other blogging giving advice on how you can make money from influencer marketing. With food prices going up, I'll admit it's nice to have a means to recoup some of the expenses of a food blog. But if that's the only reason you are starting a food blog, you're heading towards disappointment. There is so much to gain from influencer marketing than just monetary compensation. Influencer marketing can enhance the quality of your food blog and help you grow your audience if you follow these seven tips:
1. Choose products you genuinely believe in
If you sound like a phony commercial people will see right thought it. If you genuinely believe in a product, share your story with your readers. You can tell them where you got the product (you are required by the federal trade commission to disclose you receive the product complimentary to review). It's also nice to discuss why you wanted to work with a particular brand and who in your family loved their product the most. Include images of the product next to the recipe you create or make a video demonstrating the product. Having a genuine story, along with photos and videos, will help you earn your audience's respect. You'll soon have a steady audience who keeps coming back for more great advice.
2. Think outside the shopping cart
You don't necessary have to promote products you buy everyday. In fact, one of the things I love best about influencer marketing is that is gives me the opportunity to try something new. Working with a new brand gets my creative juices flowing and it takes my blog in a new direction. I don't eat pomegranates often, but I do like them. A complimentary bag of frozen pomegranates inspired me to make a Pear and Pomegranate Salad. I created a "healthy" tab on my blog, which is now one of my blog's largest sections.
3. Be honest with the brand
If you truly did not like the product, you are under no obligation whatsoever to post a positive review. Simply tell the brand the product wasn't to your liking and you regrettably won't be posting a review. That's not to say, however, you cannot be honest if you do decide to post about the brand. For example, I recently reviewed a salad dressing that I found a bit bland. Not wanting to throw it away, I tried the dressing on a sandwich and it tasted amazing! I wrote in my review "Although the dressing could have more flavor, it was a tasty condiment on my BLT sandwich." Giving the brand honest, useful information helps them to improve their product and find ways to make their product multi-purposeful.
4. Become "friends" with the brand
Influencer marketing is not about advertising one brand and moving on to the next brand. Build relationships with the brands you are promoting by following them on social media. Interact with their posts and show your loyalty to them. If you truly love a brand and they like your content, there's a good chance they will want to work with you again in the future. Sometimes brands will offer affiliate programs for those who worked on previous campaigns. They'll give you a code to share with your readers that pays you commission when you sell a product. So it pays to stay connected to the brands that inspire you the most.
5. Work with reputable influencer marketing agencies
Sometimes brands will approach you to promote a product. But it can be helpful to work with an agency that connects bloggers with brands in their niche. When first starting out, work with an agency that works with smaller "micro bloggers." They may offer you to test a product that fits the theme of your blog and may offer you additional compensation. Try to work with an agency that lists the details of the campaign and what work is expected from you. If the brand includes a website, always check them out before applying to a campaign. Brands want to know you've heard of their product and know exactly what it is. At the same time, make sure the brand is getting to know you. Fill out your profile page with a detailed bio and include multiple examples of your recent influencer marketing content.
6. Be brand loyal
If you are advertising a different brand of baking powder every week, your readers are going to suspect you aren't in an "exclusive relationship" with the products you are promoting. Brands realize you aren't their only client, but they expect full attention to their brand while you are running a campaign. Campaign lengths vary, but a typical timeframe is around 2-3 weeks. So don't take on so many social media marketing promotions that you're selling the companies short. Less is more when it comes to a successful influencer marketing campaign.
6. Set clear influencer marketing goals
Be honest in what you can do to promote the brand. Influencer marketing is not always about the bottom line. Especially is you are a small blogger, the brand may be simply looking to get the word out about their product rather than making a large amount of sales. But have a conversation regarding the brand's influencer marketing goals and what you can do to help accomplish those goals. I've found my most successful influencer marketing campaigns are those that have clear objectives from both parties right from the start.