So you are a company and you sell Product X. You have heard about social marketing and using bloggers/online publications to review said product. Obviously, you expect only but raving recommendations of this product – seeing as it is yours and you believe in your wares. How do you go about doing this, what happens if you get bad reviews, and most importantly, what should you avoid?
There is a very thin line between engaging bloggers and spamming the web. This is the first rule to keep in mind when taking on bloggers as part of your online marketing strategy. Like with traditional press, you need to source out which blogs and online publications are relevant to your product. Let’s say you sell egg-cozies. You will send a few of them to Good Housekeeping which is aimed at your target market, but not to Look magazine. So, you do the same with online platforms. If you sell beauty products, you need to interact with beauty blogs, not blogs about car rallies.
Ideally, you want your product to go viral, but that is the hardest part and something you have no control over, especially if you are a small company that does not avail of the same massive budgets like – let’s say – Old Spice, who can target every single medium, from newspapers, to television and online. Like with anything else, the key to succeed is courtesy and common sense. Send a nice message or package with an introduction of your product and how to purchase it. If your product is liked, more than likely a positive mention or review will be published, in the same fashion the printed magazines would.
Do not spam the blog every day with emails, requests and follow-ups. Also, when you do get a bad review, do react to it by offering feedback to improve and showing that you are serious about quality care and customer service.
A friend of mine works for an online beauty company and she often engages bloggers by sending them goodie-bags of the products, resulting in several positive reviews and link-backs to the website, therefore increasing sale revenue. That’s a perfect example of how to have bloggers participate in your digital marketing campaign. She recently told me her boss was so impressed with the results, he had come up with a new strategy which he thought was brilliant. When she told me, I shivered. She nearly considered resigning from this position because her boss would not budge over this idea and did not see how it was going to be harmful.
He wanted to “hire” those same bloggers to sell the products on commission. Gah. Cue shivers and despair. The beauty of blogger-relations is that they feel important enough to review your product. Both my friend and me could see that, when sending the email with the proposition, only bad reactions could follow, as it would entail ‘stealing’ away the bloggers independence and free speech. A big No No.
Another bad example involves another friend. She writes for a very big online magazine and regularly reviews CD’s. She had written a rather bad review of one album by a very prominent artist. Cue the record company getting in touch with her editor, demanding a review and herself being blacklisted to ever again write a review about one of their albums. Luckily her editor stood by her side and told them quite frankly that a review was not going to happen. So now, they no longer review any albums published on this label. Their loss.
To end, I’ll provide your with 2 other good examples.
You all know my little (Dis)Like stamps, which I was made aware of on another blog and prompted me to buy them. After blogging about them, I also got a few people inquiring where I had found them, so I happily directed them to their online shop.
The last example are the yummy crisps from Ed O’Donnell. He got in touch with Irish PR-Guru Damien Mulley who declared on Twitter that they were giving away free crisps. So, I got me some and boy, there are yummy. And Irish. So of you go to Centra or SuperValue and buy them!