Blog This, Not That: Engaging Online Influencers

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Information about Blog This, Not That: Engaging Online Influencers
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Published on February 27, 2014

Author: mkershner



This presentation will outline strategies for engaging the online influencers community, hosting a successful blogger event, and measuring success. The presentation will discuss leveraging resources, repurposing and integrating content, and how to make the most out of your user generated content.

Blog This Not That: Engaging Online Influencers Michelle Kershner Visit Frederick Brittany Diehl Downtown Frederick Partnership

Two Case Studies •Frederick Restaurant Week Sneak Peek Tour •Instagram Photo Walk

What is Influencer Marketing? •Focus is placed on specific key individuals rather than the target market as a whole. •It identifies the individuals that have influence over potential buyers, and orients marketing activities around these influencers. -Wikipedia Examples: Bloggers, consultants, industry analysts, celebrities, active community members, social media enthusiasts — people who influence your buyers’ decisions. A Word on Journalism “Usually if it's newsworthy, I'll cover it. But it's not a favor, or in exchange for anything (such as money or a gift). It's because I'm a journalist and it's my job to cover newsworthy information.” – Journalist, 2013 Frederick Restaurant Week Tour

Go Ahead, Talk About Us! Twitter @TourFrederickMD @DwntwnFrederick @FredRestWK Instagram @VisitFrederickMD @DwntwnFrederick @FredRestWK

What IS Instagram? “Instagram is an online photo-sharing, video-sharing and social networking service that enables its users to take pictures and videos, apply digital filters to them, and share them on a variety of social networking services, such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Flickr. A distinctive feature is that it confines photos to a square shape, similar to Kodak Instamatic and Polaroid images, in contrast to the 16:9 aspect ratio now typically used by mobile device cameras. Users are also able to record and share short videos lasting for up to 15 seconds.” -Wikipedia “When it’s hard to communicate in words, sometimes photos make the task easier, especially when you're bumping up against Twitter character limitations or struggling with self-consciousness as you attempt to express yourself fully on Facebook, where everyone and your distant aunt is on your friends list.” -Zohra Ashpari, PC World

Instagram: The Basics • • • • • 150 million active users 16 Billion photos shared 1.2 Billion likes daily 55 Million photos shared daily Mobile platform- available via Apple App Store, Windows Phone Store & Google Play Nitrogram, 2014 MediaBistro, 2014

Enhance, Optimize & Share • • Enhance & adjust with filters, extra darkness & frames Create catchy captions & make photos searchable by using hashtags What’s a hashtag? Fun Fact: The most popular hashtag on Instagram is #nofilter (TrackMaven) The # symbol, called a hashtag, is used to mark keywords or topics in a Tweet. It was created organically by Twitter users as a way to categorize messages. -Twitter

Instagram Handle, AKA, username Instagram can be accessed on a phone, tablet or computer, however photos can only be posted using a mobile device.

Measuring Results on Instagram • • Trial & Error: what does your audience respond to? Observe likes, comments & gained followers to help determine the types of photos your audience is interested in. Track statistics with Statigram

Instawalks, Instagram Meet Ups & More! • • • Instagram events are everywhere - some are formal, some are informal; some large, some small. The concept has gotten so popular that Instagram has paired up with Meetup to help facilitate Instagram Meetup’s all over the world Most are organized casually and with just a few steps- why not host your own?

Instagram Walk Tips from • • • • Meet at a bar or park: Start casually and discuss your favorite filters and photo techniques with other Instagrammers Photowalk: Pick a route in your city and spend an hour or two snapping photos with other Instagrammers Scavenger Hunt: The NYC Instagram crew organized a photo scavenger hunt — over 50 people participated, snapping photos of everything from “someone eating a hot dog” to “5 or more strangers in a conga line.” Keep it simple: The goal is to get other Instagrammers together to meet one another, so meeting in a bar or park is a great option for your first meetup. There’s always time to organize more elaborate meetups! Organized Instagram Meetups happen in more than 575 cities worldwide. #instawalk is tagged over 44,000 times on Instagram!

The Art of Marketing: Artomatic @ Frederick

Inside Artomatic • • • • • Month-long exhibit Over 300 artists occupying more than 40,000 square feet Featuring art of all kinds using every medium imaginable (including silkworms!) Live performances Tourism Council & Downtown Frederick Partnership charged with marketing the event Artomatic@Frederick creates community, builds audience and expands economic development by transforming available space into a playground for artistic expression. Unjuried events showcase creative work in visual art, performing art, music, dance and film.

Why Host an Artomatic Photo Walk? • Bring recognition to Artomatic. What better way to showcase 40,000 square feet of unique artwork than with a platform like Instagram? • Create lasting (& “in real life!”) connections. By inviting our Instagram connections, we were able to establish connections that go beyond ‘liking’ each other’s photos. • No-cost marketing. Because we were able to leverage our relationship with an organization who had already organized a sneak-peak event and we used social media and email marketing to target possible participants, our event budget ended up $0.

Implementation • • • • Step 1: Engaged Frederick Gorilla, who was already planning to host a sneak-peak, VIP event to kick off Artomatic Step 2: Invite influencers- we identified Instagrammers who had large followings and were very active and sent them personalized invitations. We also reached out to our followers and invited them to attend. Step 3: Collect RSVPs. By requiring attendees to pre-register, we had an idea of how many participants to expect on event day. Step 4: Hold event! Make it exclusive: by giving your participants a sneakpeak, behind-the-scenes look, or VIP access, you’re adding an extra level of enticement to participate in your event. Make your attendees feel like they’re getting something really special.

The Rules • Encouraged to have a public account. Photos from open accounts are trackable. Since only public photos were viewable to us, only those with public accounts were eligible to win a prize. • Use these hashtags: • #FPWartomatic • #artomaticfrederick • #downtownfrederick • #visitfrederick • We also encouraged participants to tag and followour own handles. This not only help us track photos, but also broadened our everyday Instagram audience and helped us start lasting connections with our participants. Hashtags helped us to easily track participation. Photos tagged with the above hashtags appeared before our eyes as the event began.

Challenges • A user can’t be forced to have an open account, meaning we couldn’t track EVERY photo taken • Photos did not belong to us, so unless we asked participants to send us their photos, we could not easily save them for our own use. Why might someone not have an open account?

Results • • • 168 photos tagged within an hour- photos showed unique perspectives and featured many different aspects of Artomatic 50 participants GREAT feedback- in an informal poll of participants, feedback came back positive. Our attendees had a great time while helping us to promote Artomatic. "I had a great time learning the social aspects of Instagram and the #Hashtag. I felt it made me and my wife more engaged during the event, as we were seeking out more creative ways to capture the exhibits and share with others" -Hunter, #FPW Participant

A Delicious Love Story: Frederick Restaurant Week #FredRestWK

Frederick Restaurant Week Goals Encourage local community to participate in Frederick Restaurant Week Entice DC and Baltimore residents to drive less than one hour to Frederick to participate Establish Frederick as a dining destination #FredRestWK March 3-9, 2014 Fixed-Price Meals at Mouth-Watering Prices Get some buzz on Restaurant Week Build positive relationships #FredRestWK

The Plan “Sneak Peek Frederick Restaurant Week” We provide a sneak peek of Frederick Restaurant Week menu items. Writers tweet, Facebook, Instagram and post to give the scoop to their audiences. Just finished 3rd Sneak Peak Tour. First Sneak Peek tour partnered with GM to bring DC-area food bloggers to Frederick via GM cars. #FredRestWK

The Plan How did we discover and identify influencers? Year 1: Chevy Partnership/DC Only Year 2: Local/regional bloggers, publications’ digital outreach designees, attendees from year before Year 3: All those invited in past, referrals from past attendees, traditional media, additional research What did we look for? •Good fit!! •Credibility •Quality Content •Frequency of Engagement •Professionalism •Passion •Reach •Long-Term/Future Potential •New Market? “I am very picky about choosing other brands that I want to represent. I only ever promote or work with brands that I would personally buy or believe in and have the same ethical standards as.” – Anonymous #FredRestWK

Party of 3 Courting the Influencers: What they bring to the table •Geographically Targeted Demographic - DC •Targeted Audience - Food •Y1: 42,925 - Cumulative Unique Monthly Views (UMV) •Y2: 12,880 - Cumulative Twitter Followers Look at Year One Attendees UMV: 13,484 1,813 followers UMV: 1,429 UMV: 555 1,042 followers 3,409 followers UMV: 506 UMV: 1,210 1,230 followers UMV: 25,000 3,364 followers 409 followers UMV: 741 1613 followers #FredRestWK

The Details: Setting the Mood •Restaurant participation •Invitation •Dine at 3-5 restaurants •Limited Spots •Swag Bag •Prize: 2 $50 Gift Cards #FredRestWK Adjusting Over Time Divided groups after first year to have diverse posts and experiences. Gathered at beginning and end as a group.

Wooing the Writers 4-5 Restaurants ● Eat ● Drink ● Tweet ● Post ● Blog ● Video “All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.” -Martin Buber Goal: To become that secret destination. We are worth the drive.

Wooing the Writers– What Worked 4-5 Restaurants ● Eat ● Drink ● Tweet ● Post ● Blog ● Video “Everything about the tour was great! We were all treated like rockstars and made to feel very special. “Everything was great, from the way the schedule was organized, to the small groups trying a selection of restaurants, to everyone gathering at the end to eat together.” I loved that each chef came out to tell us about the history of the restaurant, the menu and the dishes we were tasting. There was a lot of attention to detail and we were pampered!”

Wooing the Writers– What Worked 4-5 Restaurants ● Eat ● Drink ● Tweet ● Post ● Blog ● Video Detail-oriented Advanced Information Access to Chefs Chance to network IRL Build Relationships: With Us, With Each Other, With Restaurants. Fun! Year 2 Group

All fun at first…but where is this going? Type Results Impressions Original Tweets 44 124,515 Re-Tweets 13 26,458 Blog Posts 14 70,564 Online News 1 985,062 TOTAL 72 1,206,599 Results: Feel the Love (Year 1) •Over 1.2 Million Impressions •Over 14,000 visitors to the Restaurant Week website •Facebook #3 referrer to website •Strong blogger referrals Content• Relationships• Marketing Goals

Year 2 Results Year 2 Results: •102 #FredRestWK on #Instagram Feed •10 Blog Posts •Reached 5,539 organically via FB during RW (120% increase) •Twitter Reach: 410,949 / @FredRestWK mentions

Year 3 Results Year 3 Results (Short Term): •59 #FredRestWK tags on Instagram in less than 72 hours •800 “likes” on Instagram •Reach=5,352 followers on Instagram •FB Page likes up 7.5% (one week stats) •2,887 Weekly Total Reach via Facebook (one week stats)

“Say That You Love Me” “…the culinary offerings are well worth the 40 mile drive. In fact, Frederick has become one of my favorite dining destinations.” “I left Frederick Restaurant Week with thoughts of returning at least on an annual basis.” “Frederick, Maryland - a beautiful little hidden treasure an hour outside of D.C.” “Frederick has a super cute downtown and some intriguing restaurants, I definitely want to corral a car and head up there again this summer.”

Changing Perceptions One Bite at a Time I just wanted to say thank you so much for hosting me this weekend in Frederick. I must say-- I had never been and you really changed my perception of the quality of food the town has to offer. It was a very well organized tour, and I had a great time. I did go ahead and post about it on my blog today... I hope to nudge a few DC snobs to head out there for Restaurant Week :) – February, 2014

Residual Results & Benefits: Spillover Frederick “reminded me how into the Civil War I used to be, and motivated me to make some trips up to area battlefields this summer.” “All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.” - Martin Buber

Residual Results & Benefits Residual Results • Local & regional press •Invited to DC area foodie radio show •Restaurant sales up 25% 5000000 4000000 3000000 2000000 1000000 0 FY11 FY12

Bring it home. Implementing a blogger event. Budget=$0 Time Setting up Tour & Coordination Show Me the Money (psst…we didn’t have any for this)

Bring it home. Implementing a blogger event Determine: Does it fit into an overall plan? Define Scope Pull in Partners Determine Influencers / Invitees Plan - hashtags, photo releases, MOU, etc. Implement Follow up / Track

Bring it home. Implementing a blogger event Look to Other Audiences Retail Store Tech Products Services Nightlife Families Fun Music History and Heritage Festivals & Events Sports Comp Tickets, Behind the Scenes Tours, New products, etc.

Bring it home. Implementing a blogger event Tips: •Target appropriately! •Ride the wave of success. •Partner with those more influential than you. •Encourage bloggers to disclose what you offered to their audience. •Be specific in your offer Caution: •Can speak negatively •Choose your representatives wisely!! #FredRestWK “The biggest decision comes from whether or not the pitch fits my point of view. I've learned to say no (even to paying opportunities from well-known brands) if it doesn't.” Whether or not they appear to disclose paid relationships (either via money or product/experience). Watch the influencer's activity before pitching. How is the writing? What's the point of view and voice? How is the social media etiquette, and is the influencer *good* at creating conversation online? There are many bloggers that will do ANYTHING for a buck. I would be wary of bloggers that don't show brand loyalty (i.e. will promote 10 different brands of yogurt).

Top 10 Tips Top ten tips via 1. Get their name right 2. Know who you are talking to 3. Suitable content 4. Speak their language 5. Make it simple “Look for bloggers that you feel fit with your brand. It definitely pays to choose bloggers with a large following, but they're not ALWAYS the best to represent your brand. Make sure that they don't contradict your brand and promote viewpoint/products that are opposing.”

Top 10 Tips 6. Be flexible – bloggers have the luxury of being their own editors - let them put their stamp on it and don’t be too controlling. 7. Add value – Share insights, information and content. 8. Provide access – Give them something they couldn’t have got on their own, including audience reach. 9. Listen – pay attention to what the bloggers are saying and be attentive at all times. 10. Cultural sensitivities – be aware of cultural differences when dealing with international markets. “Be a real person. Send an email that has a catch, unique, personal subject. Engage in social media. Be responsive. Understand the blogger/influencer's point of view before pitching. Don't expect content for free.”

When this is done well… Who knows where new relationships will lead? Because that relationship lasts… “Once you have traveled, the voyage never ends, but is played out over and over again in the quietest chambers. The mind can never break off from the journey.” -Pat Conroy Because New Relationships Take You Down New Roads

And those relationships last… “Once you have traveled, the voyage never ends, but is played out over and over again in the quietest chambers. The mind can never break off from the journey.” -Pat Conroy


Michelle Kershner Britt Diehl Marketing and Communication Manager Tourism Council of Frederick County Promotion & Social Media Manager Downtown Frederick Partnership 301-600-4023 301-698-8118 @tourfrederickmd @DwntwnFrederick

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