Tag Archives: bloggers

ColectivaLatina, A new Latino Division of Collective Bias

Written by Paula Bendfeldt- Diaz

This past week, 1,500 Latino bloggers, journalists, marketing professionals, entertainment figures and innovators came together in Miami to attend the 5th annual Hispanicize conference.  Created by Latino influencers and founded by Manny Ruiz who envisioned it as a “Hispanicized” version of South by Southwest.

The energy and passion could be felt everywhere as the Hispanic community came together in a city that gets Latinos and understands Spanglish. By now, most of us are aware of the numbers and know that the Hispanic market, with a buying power projected to reach $1.5 trillion by 2015, is significant but few realize how powerful the Latino influence really is. For those brands and agencies that have caught on, Hispanicize served as the perfect place to connect with those influencers. For both influencers and marketers, Hispanicize provided a wealth of information about the Latino market and how to connect with it. Numerous examples were presented on how successful marketing decisions are being led by the Hispanic market.

For Latinos sharing comes naturally:  As a Latina I have always shared, los Hispanos queremos compartir, and sharing has only gotten easier thanks to technology. Latinos are using social media to share more than any other segment, including branded content!  The key for companies is to understand that we share things that we find valuable and identify with and that Latinos’ behavior online is a reflection of their behavior offline. Something that we have come to realize through Collective Bias’s new division, ColectivaLatina, is that for Latino influencers, sharing branded content is easy as long as the brand understands that the messaging needs to be culturally relevant.

Latinos are changing America:  Not only are Hispanics over-indexing in mobile, they are also early adopters of technology. However, the Latino influence is not just about technology, we are simultaneously changing America’s color and flavor. From influencing shopping trends and the American palate, to playing a major part in the 2012 presidential elections, the Latino influence is strong.  “Latinos are opening palates to hotter and more nuanced flavors and traditions and influencing the New American food dynamics,” says cultural researcher and curator Barbie M. Casasus.

Latinos are empowered: At panel after panel, the same sentiment was shared both by marketers and influencers: Latinos are leading the way. What was even more interesting to see and feel during Hispanicize was that Latinos are becoming aware of how powerful that influence makes us. “Technology can democratize social innovation to diversify and ignite big ideas that can change the world,” said Eliana Murillo, Head of Multicultural marketing at Google.  Latinos’ empowerment has evolved and we know it. We feel a social responsibility, which was made even clearer by trailblazers like Maria Hinojosa, Joany Sanchez and Carlos Vives, whom all received Latinovator Awards during Hispanicize.

Latino Millennials are the new generation: 65 percent of all U.S. Hispanics are Millennials, making up 21 percent of the entire Millennial population. In key markets like Los Angeles, Miami, Houston, New York and Chicago, they represent 25 to 50 percent of all Millennials. Latino Millennials are flexing their influence by driving family decisions regarding everything from healthier food choices to technology. Marketers are looking to Hispanic Millennials to see what marketing will look like in the coming years.

The Total Market approach:  For marketers targeting Hispanics, the notion of the “total market” approach is one of the most important developments in multicultural marketing (a concept that is still causing some confusion).  Instead of targeting particular ethnic consumers, companies are focusing on strategies that will appeal to a multicultural nation, driving relevance across all of the segments without alienating anybody. During the Total Market Debate panel at Hispanicize, Nydia Sahagun, the Senior Manager of Storewide Marketing/Multicultural at Target, shared why this approach is increasing among advertisers. “The general market is now the multicultural market. Everyone needs to be a multicultural marketer because that is today’s reality,” Sahagun said. “Cross cultural also still exists and this helps you. The important thing is to let the data and insights guide you to your objectives. The key is understanding the product and the category you are working in,”  she added.

ColectivaLatina, a Latino influencer community powered by Collective Bias, is providing that multicultural approach for brands. Launched during the Hispanicize conference, it was received with excitement by the Latino blogger community because, unlike other blogger networks, it lets Latinas participate in both campaigns where the messaging focuses on the Hispanic culture and also in general campaigns they can “hispanicize” by adding their own flavor and nuances. ColectivaLatina understands that while the total market approach can be efficient for both brands and agencies, in many cases, a more culturally relevant approach is required to drive deep relevance.

2 Ways Bloggers Can Help Your Brand, 1 Way They Can’t

Back in the day, word of mouth marketing meant that a product would gain popularity solely on its own merit. Consumers would purchase it, and based on their experience, share and encourage their neighbors and friends to buy the product as well. Brands would conduct focus groups with psychologists to assist them in making sure their packaging was appealing, and their product was as good as they claimed. After all of that was done, they’d hire a PR company and an ad agency to help get the word out to their targeted demographic. That type of paid media was the only expected source of promotion. Getting attention through positive consumer recommendations, or word of mouth marketing, was like icing on the cake, but it certainly wasn’t expected.

We’re living in the digital age now, though. Instagram photos show millennials at their favorite coffee shops, and new moms pledge allegiance to a specific diaper company on their Facebook pages. Brands are starting to anticipate earned media, and await word that their latest commercial or marketing campaign has gone viral thanks to their loyal customers dutifully sharing, for free, about their favorite product on all of their social networks.

That “cross your fingers and hope for the best” approach might work for a small (very small) percentage of companies, but it isn’t the most savvy way to create a successful marketing plan. There is a way, however, to extend the reach of your advertising efforts and increase the potential for your campaign to go viral. Hire bloggers.

Here’s what you can expect when you work with Bloggers:

Positive Exposure

When you hire Influencers to create content for you as part of a marketing campaign, you can absolutely request that their material is positive. Bloggers know that a sponsored post is very different than a review. An unpaid review is their honest account of their experience with a product. The goal of a sponsored post is to highlight how great a product is, and to show how it fits into their lives. You don’t have to worry about the Blogger’s audience questioning their true feelings towards a product that they’re getting paid to write about, though. Most Bloggers will only accept an assignment if it truly fits their lifestyle and beliefs.

Evergreen Content

When a brand purchases an ad in a magazine, it sits on a page. A consumer can discover it when they are browsing through and reading it. Once they flip through, finish the magazine, and recycle it, that’s it for the ad. When a  blogger creates a piece of content around a product, whether a recipe, a craft, or a tip for living better, that content lives forever on the internet. When someone types “chocolate caramel cake recipe” into a search engine, and a post pops up that is created by a blogger who used your chocolate caramel candy, that’s the type of long lasting effect you can expect for every blogger that you hire!

Here’s what you should not expect when you work with bloggers:

Sales

There are a lot of factors that go into helping an item sell. The price, the placement of the product in stores, the availability of the product, customer service, the time of year, etc. bloggers create content that help bring awareness to a product, but it isn’t their job to sell. You may not see a lift in sales immediately after a blogger posts, and you shouldn’t expect it. What you can expect, however, is that the blogger is helping to plant the seed of interest in their audience. Watering that seed and helping it to grow into a sale is up to you.

 

Brandi Jeter Riley is Sr. Manager, Community Relations at Collective Bias. She is passionate about community, and loves encouraging women to tell their stories online. In addition to that, she blogs at Mama Knows It All, and leads Blogger Education for the multicultural content creator group,  Pushing Lovely. Brandi is a newlywed, and mama of an incredibly adorable 4 year old daughter.

To Catch A Blogger: How To Hire The Right Blogger For Your Campaign

Want a piece of the new media pie? Bloggers are a great place to start. They are professional, knowledgeable, influential and for hire.

How do you land a blogger that is both a great fit for the campaign and will deliver the goods?

There are three main phases for ethically snagging a great blogger: Investigation, Communication and Compensation.

Investigation

Investigation, or “Stalking” is time consuming but a necessary step of the blogger hiring process.

First, identify your niche. Bloggers exist in every niche, ever. Try to think of a niche that a blog is unlikely to be written on, and google “(unlikely thing) blog”.

Exhibit A: the taxidermy blog http://www.ravishingbeasts.com.

No matter the blog niche, use your stalking skills to find a cache of bloggers. Search twitter, twitter lists, industry conference hashtags, google.

When you find a blog that resonates with your target audience, stalk the people who are following it.

Like begets like.

Once you have identified a blogger who you think might be a good fit for your campaign, stalk them more.

Read a variety of their most recent blog posts, the content of their tweets, the amount of followers on each platform, the comments on their blog posts, Google their blog name, their name, check out the Instagram feed and  their Facebook page.

Make sure there is no controversy surrounding the name of the blog or blogger.

Check that their content is at a level that you think could represent your brand to their audience in a way that is in line with your goals.

Communication

Now you are ready to contact the blogger. Time for Communication!

Bloggers are self-employed. They are used to working by themselves and they cannot read your mind. Bloggers appreciate clear and concise communication regarding

·      What exactly it is you want them to do

·      How exactly will this benefit them

Do you want them to write a blog post? How many words? How many photos? What are the key messaging points to be included in the blog post? Should they write a tweet? What about a Facebook post? Use a certain hashtag or keywords or phrases?

Lay it ALL out in a logical manner. Don’t make them guess. Bloggers are far to busy to do your job for you. The most successful bloggers are in high demand and are selective about who they choose to work with.

Give them every reason to say YES to you!

Compensation

Gone are the Wild West days when bloggers worked for free, for link swap or for coupons.

As someone providing a service to you (amplifying your brand message on their carefully cultivated social channels), bloggers expect to be compensated.

When contacting the blogger to propose the partnership, make an offer. They are free to accept, reject or counter.

Do not contact a blogger and ask them to spam their audience.

This is an example of a real PR pitch that was ignored by bloggers everywhere. Names changed to protect the innocent:

Hi CanCan, Just wanted to share a few the latest family-friendly deals and happenings from A Cool Tourist Place Out West! I thought you may be interested in sharing them with your Mom’s Most Traveled readers. In addition to the deals, below is an image of the mountains At The Cool Tourist Place, so you can get a feel for how breathtaking the scenery is.
I’m happy to answer any questions or provide additional information, images and video, if interested!
Thanks!
PR Minion

This pitch offered no compensation and no communication. What do they want the blogger to do? Something like this:

Hello readers! Look, the mountains of the west!

NE WAYZ! Back to blogging! LYLAS!

By sticking to the formula of Investigation, Communication and Compensation, you can avoid pointless exercises like the above pitch and land incredible reach and impressive impressions with top-notch influencers!

The Brand and Blogger Playbook

A few weeks ago Crystal Duncan from IZEA, Cristy Clavijo-Kish and I discussed our views on the rules of engagement between brands, bloggers and blogger networks at the Niche Parent conference in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.  We wanted the bloggers attending to leave the session with ideas on how to become more professional in their approach and brands in attendance to know how to better interact and partner with bloggers.

Bloggers are Publishers and Brands are Advertisers

Bloggers need to start thinking of themselves as publishers and treat brands like advertisers. A blog is just another place to publish content and advertising. It bridges the gap in the long evolution of publishing from printed word to streaming video.

When brands sponsor content on a blog, they become advertisers.  When a brand allocates their marketing funds, they decide how, when and where to market their products.  They will typically spread their marketing dollars across different types of media, allocating dollars to social, television, radio, magazines and other traditional forms of media.  Advertisers should diversify their spending, but they should also make sure to save a big chunk of marketing dollars for social.

Demographics Are Important to Advertisers

Just like they target content to readers of traditional media, advertisers have started making very specific requests around the demographics of the bloggers chosen for campaigns.

Publishers need to think of their blog platforms as online magazines. An advertiser should clearly understand the topic and focus of a blog from the moment they land on the site.  An advertiser wants to make sure the right audience sees content about their product.

Ask your friends or family (ideally ones that don’t know much about your blog) to describe your site just from perusing the home page.  This will help you decide if you should change your header, blog name or navigation bar to make your goals and messaging clearer.

How Advertisers and Blog Networks Choose Publishers

When Collective Bias chooses publishers for one of our content programs, we look at three criteria.  We analyze the publisher’s site and relevance to the advertiser’s goals and objectives.  The advertiser gives us very specific types of people they want to reach.  Sometime it’s a specific geographical region, age group, gender or income level.

Consequently, we must make sure we are spot on when choosing the publishers for their advertising campaign.  You may have noticed that blogger networks are asking for very specific information in your profiles.  One of the most important things you can do is accurately fill out profiles for the networks and communities you join. Missing or inaccurate data could keep you from getting an advertising opportunity perfect for your blog and your readers.

Once we identify a good publisher/blog fit, we look at the balance of original content versus sponsored content on the blog.  We don’t want to see post after post of sponsored content, nor do we want to see stock photos.  Publishers should create original content on their blogs.  Original content helps with your site rank and SEO.  Balancing sponsored content with original, organic content is a key piece in being chosen for campaigns.

Traffic alone won’t get you chosen for a program, but it does play a big part. Just like any media buy, the advertiser pays for views to the content they sponsor.  Publishers need to realize that their content is an advertisement.  Advertisers buy ad space on your blog in the form of a sponsored post written in your voice.

We choose you for the reasons I mentioned above, niche and audience, creative content and as many eyeballs as you can get on the advertisement.  This is a business. You are the magazine owner, and you are hired to create the advertisement.

This is a Job, Treat It Like One

Once you agree to participate in a program, you are entering into a work agreement.  You have contracted to do an advertisement on your blog. If you do not complete the job as instructed, you will need to edit your advertisement until it is complete.  When you complete the job as entailed in your instructions you receive payment for your work.

Communication is Essential

Lastly, we all know life happens.  If you cannot complete your assignment, communicating with your primary contact is key to keeping the relationship.

If you communicate, your spot can be replaced with someone else so that we can deliver the promise made with the client, the advertiser. Just like the deadlines we give you, we also have committed to a deadline shortly after your due date.  Failing to communicate will tarnish your relationship much more than letting us know you’ve hit a bump as soon as you can.

What Bloggers Really Want From Brands

by Brandi Jeter, Manager – Community Relations

BlogHer is an annual blogging conference for women that marked its eighth year this July. In addition to tons of education, the conference also offers an opportunity for bloggers to meet with representatives from brands and start conversations about how they can work together. In these conversations, the objectives of the brands are usually clear and measurable. They want to drive traffic to a site, increase sales or syndicate a brand message. With bloggers, their needs aren’t that easily determined. Bloggers want respect and consideration, for sure. They want to be fairly compensated. At BlogHer, I had the chance to attend sessions and speak to attendees about what they really want, and these three desires came up most frequently.

What Bloggers Want: Deeper Relationships

Most bloggers can remember the first time they received payment for working with a brand, usually in the form of a sponsored post. As bloggers grow and become more savvy with technology, marketing and engagement, they are looking to build more substantial relationships with their favorite brands. Bloggers want to be a part of shaping marketing campaigns, and are willing to bring their personal and professional expertise and insider info to the table. Bloggers want to be more than just hire work, they want to be partners.

What Brands Can Do: Make Bloggers Your Partners

At BlogHer, I saw several instances of brands and bloggers engaging in a cohesive and mutually beneficial partnerships. One example was by utilizing bloggers as representatives in their booths. Social Fabric community member, Xenia Galaviz, works with Turning Leaf Wine as an ambassador, and was at BlogHer helping to educate other bloggers on the brand. Even before the conference, she was authentically advocating for Turning Leaf in online blogger groups, people were seeking her out on the expo floor. Bloggers can be your biggest advocates. Find ways to collaborate beyond just the blog post.

What Bloggers Want: More Information

There is a large number of bloggers who started their sites on a whim, and later became aware of opportunities to partner with brands. For those bloggers, as well as folks may have come from unrelated careers, having detailed information about the industries they’re being asked to promote is extremely helpful. That’s the reason they’re willing to spend money to travel and attend conferences like BlogHer. They’re hoping to meet PR representatives and pros to get insider information.

What Brands Can Do: Take Time to Educate

Two words. Content marketing. When brands or public relations companies write about what they are looking for when they do blogger outreach, or when they are seeking ambassadors, bloggers pay attention. Share about your processes. What does it take to pitch? Who are the decision makers, and what do they do? What are your firm’s overall objectives and goals? Educating bloggers outside of the scope of a marketing campaign is a great way to make sure they have the information they need to ensure they’re successful when you do finally tap them for a project.  Speaking at conferences, and hosting blogger meetups are other ways to give bloggers the information that they crave, while helping you to develop well-informed partners.

What Bloggers Want: Balance

One common theme that was prevalent throughout the entire conference was balance. From conference sessions to individual conversations, influencers at every stage of their blogging careers are trying to find a way to have it all without losing it. It makes sense, too. In order to excel and stand out in the somewhat saturated social media space, there is a great need to be timely and first. Trying to fulfill that need often comes at an expense.

What Brands Can Do: Acknowledge that a blogger’s time is valuable.

The easiest way that brands can help bloggers achieve balance, is by acknowledging that a blogger’s time is valuable. Not only is it beneficial to the blogger, but it establishes a foundation of respect that the blogger is sure to reciprocate. Some of the ways that brands can do this is by sending thoughtful, personal emails, rather than big blasts, gathering as much information about a campaign as possible (including due dates and payment) before pitching, and reaching out via telephone rather than email.

The partnership between bloggers and brands has added a rich new dimension to shopper marketing. A little bit of nurturing on both sides will guarantee even more successes to come. And isn’t that what everyone really wants?

 

Content, Engagement, Numbers? What’s Important in Selecting a Blogger?

Written by Holly Pavlika, Mel Lockcuff, Brandi Jeter, Kristin Wheeler and Courtney Velasquez

It’s all about the numbers.

People tend to believe bloggers with huge numbers are the ones to seek.  But you can’t look at numbers alone. A blogger with 3,500 followers can get the same if not more engagement as a blogger with 35,000 followers. It’s all about relationships and trust that has been built with their audiences.  It’s much harder to maintain relationships with 35,000 fans than it is 3,500. Facebook recently did a study and discovered an average post only reaches 16% of the fans.

The Social Studies Group and V3 Integrated Marketing conducted a study in 2012 with some 300 moms in the U.S. in 2012.  They found that the most valued bloggers were those with a presence across multiple social channels. Those with 2,500-9,999 visits per month are the most varied with their social media usage with the 10,000 or more visits next may be the most effective.  They said, “Obviously marketing campaigns need to play across platforms, but most importantly you need to provide strategic guidance, direction and content, tools and visuals that will help the influencers be successful across all channels.”

So what numbers are important? It’s all about retweets, comments on a blog posts, shares of content, “likes” for a product, repins of a photo or +1’s of content, which we have found indicates a preference for the product and a greater likelihood of purchase.

It’s all about the quality of the followers and the relationships.
There are all kinds of tools for growing followers, but there are none that help you build relationships simultaneously. People are more apt to share, tweet or comment on posts from people they know or have a relationship/acquaintance with. So again, bloggers with high numbers have the potential to reach more people, but bloggers with smaller numbers may have closer relationships and therefore drive more engagement. It’s important to look at a blogger’s engagement with their fan base across each channel and the quality of their followers. Anyone can essentially buy followers to get their numbers up. “Likes” and “Follows” don’t necessarily equate with loyalty. The valuable blogger is one who has built their following over time and through conversation and quality content.

It’s all about content and channel.
Without quality content, there isn’t engagement, but it’s different courses, for different horses. Each channel is different, lending different kinds of engagement. Each blogger has their favorites and there is value in any social channel that has engagement. One of the most valuable bloggers today is one with great content across a variety of channels. Audiences are fickle and not singularly channel focus. Content needs to be everywhere to provide opportunity for discovery.

Blogger selection for any brand should reflect synergy with the brand and be of quality. Quality means well-written, informative, has personality, includes proper links and grammar. And let’s not forget expertise and passion for the brand. And the blogger’s voice: are they authentic?

 It’s all about engagement.

There are over 170 million blogs online between WordPress and Tumblr alone so how do you choose? It’s all about engagement. Remember there are “lurkers” on any channel. Some content gets seen, but not engaged with. Potential impressions are important. A study by the Nielsen Norman Group showed that 90 percent of a social media community’s members do not participate in online conversations but read the content and observe conversations. Only 10 percent are engaged in conversations with nine percent occasionally engaging and the other one percent actively participating.

It’s all about numbers, engagement, quality of followers, relationships and content.

The truth is you cannot look at any one thing singularly. It’s all of the above. There are so many factors that play a role in what makes a great blogger selection.

 

Look for the follow up post to this one, “What Bloggers Really Want From Brands” 

Shopping Begins Online

More than ever, the shopping process begins online. Average people search Google to find product reviews before ever leaving their home. They go to retail websites, blogs and ask their online friends looking for opinions about the product they are looking to purchase.

The other day I received a text from a friend who is not a blogger and is typically very un-techy. She had gone online to research and read product reviews on a blog before choosing a particular makeup product. She thanked me profusely and said that without my influence she would have not known to do that.

That incident reinforced everything I believe about shopping today; modern consumers value information about products before they purchase and not just information provided by the company.  They look for real reviews by real consumers and see bloggers as a trusted source.

Although the consumers reading blogs may not know the blogger personally, the relationship cultivated through the blogger’s product reviews, recipes and personal stories become real to the consumer. Bloggers interact with their readers either through comments, email or social media outlets. (Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest are primary traffic drivers today.) When a consumer connects personally with a blogger, they become loyal to what the blogger promotes because of a relationship built on trust.

Brands have become increasingly aware of content marketing and are scrambling to keep up with this change in consumer behavior. Recently, the Harvard Business Review did a piece on this sharing, “…today consumers are more promiscuous in their brand relationships: they connect with myriad brands, through media channels beyond the manufacturer’s or retailer’s control or even knowledge”.

This market shift benefits the consumer, but many brands have been slow to respond to it. Brands that have succeeded during this change have gotten on board with blogging and the social world, reaching out for honest opinions to be shared with these micro-publishers’ loyal consumers.

Want to Scale Social Messaging? Get Your Customers’ Help

Writteb by Ted Rubin

The social space is getting so crowded that brands have to work DOUBLY hard to achieve any kind of traction in social messaging. How do you develop awareness around your product or service when the stream is so busy you can’t get a word in edgewise? Here’s one often-overlooked resource in amplifying your message online—consumers.  And not just any consumers, your own customers!

Whether you are a retailer or your market is B2B, your consumers are always on the lookout for validation, especially if you’re selling the same thing as the brand down the street. Why should they buy from you versus them? Believe it or not, the customers you already have can help you out with this—and all you have to do is ask.

But this is where a lot of companies fall down when using social. They get so tied up in the parameters of the platform that they forget to think outside it. They sink money into platform advertising, contests, and mobile apps to attract new followers, but forget completely to tap the one source that could exponentially increase their reach… the people who have already bought from them!

Brand advocacy doesn’t come from advertising spend or buying followers via any other social mechanism, folks. It comes from people sharing their experiences with your brand via their networks. So how do you get them to do this?

The brand Zaggora does it by going after “ambassadors” of their HotPants™ women’s exercise clothing and rewarding them for sharing their stories. If you take a look at their website, you can see that they’ve got some press going, a magazine they share with their growing email list, and also a healthy Facebook presence, all of which is focused on leveraging the customer’s story. Zaggora understands that their market wants to hear how others have achieved success, lost inches or gained strength before they plunk down their money—so they’ve pulled out the stops to create a great customer experience and reward their ambassadors for spreading the word. It works like magic.

B2B companies can tap into the same power. In fact, according to customer advocacy data from the Zuberance.com blog, 50% of B2B customers are highly likely to recommend a service or product to their networks, 30% of advocates recommend the first time they’re given an opportunity, and a whopping 70% of those advocates’ contacts respond to recommendations.

So how do you dig up potential advocates among your followers? Here are three tools to help you find influencers who are active on social channels and are already sharing your content:

  • Traackr – This app shows you who is influential in your space, as well as what content they’re sharing and how they share it
  • Tweet Reach – Use this tool to find out who is sharing your tweets and who they have touched
  • ReFollow – Peruse your Twitter followers, identify influencers and engage them

Once you find these folks, reach out to them! Think of ways you can thank them for sharing your content or recommending your brand. Remember, your customers have a wide array of networks, so look for potential brand evangelists wherever you have a connection, not just on social channels. Mine your email list, tap into the influence of bloggers, speak to customers (god forbid) in your place of business… find them wherever you can!

At the end of the day, making it your policy to develop good relationships with your customers will differentiate your brand from the others. Make that your priority. Create conversations that matter, to those who matter to you. Think engagement, not media. Perform for the promises you’ve made before making new promises. Strive to make every experience with your brand… not routine, but remarkable. Remember… an initial purchase does not make a shopper a customer; repeat purchase is what makes a customer.

Then find and take care of your advocates in social channels and they’ll shout your message from the rooftops!

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” ~Maya Angelou