The currency on social media is attention and exposure. And since influencers hold the attention of loyal followers—with a trend of smaller micro and nanoinfluencers having an impact on their audience—making them a part of your brand’s social media marketing strategy is crucial. But to catch an influencer’s eye, brands must wow them not only with a high-quality product but also by paying attention to the details and cultivating a meaningful connection. We’ve put together a few strategies and tactics to help take hospitality brands’ influencer marketing to the next level.
First, Ensure Brand Alignment
Before focusing on the details of maximizing influencer impact, it’s important for brands to spend time making sure they are building the right relationships. A spike in social media attention is wonderful to have. But the interest you cultivate is infinitely more valuable if the influencers—and more importantly their audiences—are aligned with your brand.
TINT’s Content Aggregator solution is a fantastic way to surface UGC from social accounts that are influential in a given field. But after analyzing social posts and identifying prospective influencers, the hard work really begins. You’ll want to comb through a prospective partner’s social media profiles and online comments to see if they are in alignment with your brand. Look at the tone of how the influencer interacts with their audience—in particular, try to ascertain if they are on social to build community or if they’re in it just for themselves. Those true community builders are strong candidates to align your brand with.
Do Your Research
Macro- and microinfluencers alike have many brands courting them to gain access to their audience. The sheer volume of offers and requests from marketers means that many influencers can be unmoved by pitches for coverage from hospitality brands.
Instead of offering the expected bottle of bubbly and handwritten note, take the time to find out what really moves the targeted influencer. Find out if they are doing a specific challenge on their channel or have a new product launching soon and find a way to incorporate that into their stay. That could mean a banner in their room congratulating them on their sold-out product launch or 10 boxes of cereal and a mini-fridge full of milk for their cereal tasting series on YouTube. Note that the actual act here matters less than the specificity of your intent: it proves you’ve spent time spent learning about the influencer and their interests and passions.
Be Present in Their World
The brands more likely to get a response from sought-after influencers are the ones who treat the relationship as important and personal and not simply transactional. A willingness to form a genuine connection with an influencer’s brand can make the difference and earn you valuable awareness from a high-converting audience.
This can be as simple as becoming a consistent presence in their social media world by commenting on their posts, mentioning them in your content, sharing their content and interacting with followers in the comment section. Be sure to make these types of interactions meaningful and more open ended—don’t leave it at “Love that!” or “Wow, what a cool video!” Instead, be thoughtful, start a conversation and build rapport. This is a longer game strategy but will be a welcome relief for influencers who operate in the largely superficial and fast-paced world of social media.
Collaborate with Them
Influencers often produce, create and ship all their own content, which means they are accustomed to having 100% creative control of their material. Their content is their livelihood. So, instead of only asking for space on their highly curated channels, give the influencer a platform and invite them to have a space in your brand’s channels.
- Ask Them to Guest Post on Your Blog. Invite influencers to share a guest post about a topic that overlaps with the brand’s message. Working with a travel YouTuber? Ask them to contribute a best-of list of restaurants or activities surrounding a property. Maybe there’s a lifestyle influencer based in the same city as the hotel; invite them to give a “Local’s Tour” of the neighborhood. This can amplify the profile of the influencer as well as bring new eyes to a brand.
- Partner with a Social Media Takeover. A takeover allows a brand’s followers to hear praise directly from an influencer, creating powerful word of mouth. Additionally, cross-posting content to the influencer’s channels makes it that much more likely that their audience will closely follow the content.
- Use TINT’s Experience Builder Influencer Collaboration Tool. Our Influencer Collaboration tool gives influencers their own private page for submitting content that they haven’t yet published on social media for use in your brand’s campaigns. This gives them the power to submit only the content that they feel comfortable sharing, allowing them to maintain a sense of control while providing the brand with a wealth of high-quality UGC for use across marketing channels.
Upgrade Their Stay
Brands want influencers’ attention, but what are influencers getting in return? Comp nights or free upgrades may seem obvious but are worth pointing out because they are a hospitality brand’s most valuable offerings. Even if your property can’t give a full comp or significant upgrade, make sure influencers are spending time in the most preferable rooms and “Insta-worthy” spaces.
This tactic tends to be more effective with microinfluencers. These accounts may have smaller followings (think between 25,000 and 100,000), but those folks and their followers are often fiercely passionate and loyal. While a comp night might be expected and even old hat for a macroinfluencer with millions of followers, a microinfluencer might really appreciate that gesture and pour on the love.
Create a Relationship, Not a Transaction
The big takeaway here is that you need to focus on creating a meaningful connection and demonstrate shared values with the influencers you want on board. This is where many brands fail: social media celebrities have seen many attempts by brands to gain notoriety or increased sales from their massive audiences without giving any value in return. As influencers become increasingly protective of their recommendations, the transactional approach will become less and less viable.
Interested in boosting your brand’s influencer marketing program? Contact us to schedule a demo and see how TINT’s technology can make the difference in bringing huge influencer audiences to your brand’s channels.
This post was contributed by Chrissy Chavez. Photo by Aw Creative on Unsplash.