Here's a huge topic that continues to swirl around the outdoors and destination marketing sectors: How can people leverage their online voice to influence a community of followers/fans/readers? From my time on the development team for Whistler Blackcomb's social influencer program to applying for athlete support for myself, I've outlined a clear path to discounting the cost of an outdoor lifestyle and becoming what is known as a Micro-Influencer.
First a couple of terms defined:
- Micro-Influencer: This is a person or small group of people that has a niche or moderately sized social media following and/or a blog. These people will have between 1,500 and 20,000 collective fans/readers/followers.
- Athlete Support: This is typically structured as a brand ambassadorship providing products, gear or services in exchange for promotion on a micro-influencer's online channels.
For marketers, working with a Micro-Influencer is a fabulous way to reach new audiences. these people can establish deep credibility and the cost to marketers is very little other than hard goods aka products or services.
Because this is an emerging form of marketing, we're still in the wild west when it comes to establishing the rules of working with Micro-Influencers. There is still so much to learn on both sides of the social media influencer coin. It's such a great opportunity for athletes and adventurous people alike, I'm surprised more of my peers don't take advantage. Not all Micro-Influencers have to be at the top of the podium. I regularly encourage my friends that are simply in love with being active in the outdoor community that have an eye for video or photos to reach out to brands they use for a partnership.
Keep these things in mind, future Micro-Influencers:
- It can't hurt to try, as long as the brand you are reaching out to is a natural fit for your channels.
- Evaluate your ask: Think of yourself as an advertising outlet. If you have a smaller following, promise a longer term of consistent coverage on your channels.
- Clearly outline what sort of coverage you will provide. For example: 5 brand mentions per month on social media, regular use of company hashtags and handles according to brand standards. Plus you might want to offer to feature the brand in one blog post per month.
- Don't get cheesy. Try to insert branded content as naturally as possible into channels. This maintains trust in both your following and the brands following.
- Show them the data. I always want to see numbers of followers, monthly blog readership and a percentage of how engaged fans and readers are. If you can provide some demographic data that's great too, but not mandatory.
- Wrap report - If you are looking to make this relationship long term, I highly suggest sending over a report including screen grabs of the brand's exposure on your channels, along with collective reach at the beginning, middle and end of each season as a constant reminder that investing in you as a micro-influencer was a great plan!
Destination and Outdoor Marketers - Have anything you would add? Tell me us the comments: