clear message

Brands working with social media influencers

In the last month I got to attend two fairly big conferences in Toronto geared at women online.  She’s Connected and Blissdom Canada.

I have a long list of post ideas that have come from both of those conferences. This first one is about the brands trying to work with women in the social space at these conferences and what I think works, what I’m left wondering, and where I would love to see brands ultimately end up when trying to build relationships. (there is a short recap at the end, because this blog post is way longer than I like my posts to be!)


Cheesy fun

People like to have fun.  If you can have them have fun and then share that fun with their network you just spread your brand.

What’s important to note here:

- Your brand needs to be well represented in the gimmick.  If you had me dress up in a funny costume, took my picture on a red carpet and I can’t remember what your brand is or what you sell - you missed the mark.

- People will do silly things, and spread those silly things, for the right incentive.

I doubt I would have taken this photo or tweeted it if I hadn’t had a chance to win grocery money. Also, I won :)

- If your fun is “fun enough” you won’t need the incentive - but that’s hard to predict.

This Fisher Price bouncy seat big enough for adults (multiple!) to climb into for photo opps was a huge success.  SO many people wanted to do it and we had a blast while posing in it!

I loved what Kellogg’s did with this cereal box posing.  You can certainly see the value in having something professionally done instead of us using our cell phones for photos and they emailed the photo to you IMMEDIATELY which meant we were sharing them right away.

This  booth was my favourite of both conferences. They were displaying people’s photos as you walked by and it made me want to do it.  I don’t even eat corn flakes and I went to this booth by myself so I could have a cereal box photo.

And then I went back to make it even more fun with friends!


I also walked away with an awesome vintage cereal box tshirt which is a lot of fun, and some samples.  You’re all thinking about corn flakes now, whether or not I said I liked them.  That’s a good push in my opinion.

Yummy and delicious

Kraft had a great suite decorated for Halloween with all kinds of holiday specific treats, a cupcake decorating station, and qr links to the recipes for the treats you were eating.  At the end they gave you a sampling of a few of the treats.

It was fun, unobtrusive and gave ideas for things you could do later on. I could see some people who like to blog about cooking with kids and activities for doing with kids making some of those treats and blogging about it.


Ford was a sponsor of She’s Connected and they had all kinds of information booths set up about their different features. I’m not sure I’ll ever own a Ford, but let me tell you - I know A LOT about some of the really cool technologies they have in their vehicles! My favourite is the Mykey technology which allows you to lock down things like speed and stereo volume for the teen you’re lending your car to! Me (and people like me) knowing this stuff about Ford and talking about it online in the right context could prove valuable to them in the long run.

Jane’s told me about their toaster chicken.  I admit that when I first found out toaster chicken existed (essentially a frozen chicken patty you heat in your toaster to eat) I was a bit…. alarmed.  They handed out an information sheet that compared toaster chicken to other convenience snacks.  I’m not going to pretend toaster chicken is healthy for you - but it’s not so bad compared to french fries and frozen pizza and I’m willing to admit my kids get those sometimes and they could potentially eat toaster chicken one day too.


- What do the brands who give out big bags of product but no guidance expect from those receiving it? Are you thinking we will blog about a loaf of bread or are you hoping that when we use the products we’ll tweet about them or are you hoping that we’ll eventually become brand loyal and blog about you? I don’t know what you’re trying to do.

- What a big company expects when they are at a conference as a big company representing multiple smaller companies.  If I talk about big huge company nobody knows being great - is that helpful?


- more companies working with bloggers in long term ways.  Make them your brand ambassadors.  Have them write content (and pay them) that you can use on your own web site, in your publications, etc.  I can almost guarantee that if people are writing this kind of content for you they will link to it from all of their channels, and then you’re getting the audience you want to your own site.  Makes more sense!

- create experiences that make sense.

I was invited to a Mark’s Over a year ago when Mark’s Work Wearhouse re-branded.  I was their audience (woman, 30+ years old) and they did my hair, my makeup, gave me an outfit (chosen by a stylist) and then took awesome photos of me.  They wanted more women like me to realize they could shop at Mark’s. Since then I not only have continued to shop at Mark’s, I used that photo for a long time on Twitter and Facebook, I bring my friends on shopping trips to Mark’s and I have been able to continue that relationship with Mark’s to help keep promoting their clothing to my demographic (have I mentioned how much I love my Inspiri jeans.  LOVE). They created a relationship with me that made sense and that I WANTED to continue.

If you want moms to talk about your food products, maybe invite them to a day where you teach them to meal plan, freezer cook for a month, describe how to make healthy meals for your kids that they will eat, and then send them home with food for a week that they can keep talking about. Don’t just give them a box of cookies and expect much in return.

I could go on for hours with ideas of what I think would work but instead I will recap (because this post is LONG)


If you want to target socially influential people at events here are my top tips:

- make it fun (but don’t expect follow up)

- make your message clear

- make sure people have the information to share your message

- don’t expect much in exchange for a bag of free stuff

- your chances of getting mentioned on Facebook and Twitter are for more likely than being blogged about.  That’s not necessarily a bad thing.

- build relationships

What do you think? Are you a brand working with people in the social space (I am avoiding saying bloggers for a reason, I don’t think that should be the target)? Are you working with brands? Share your thoughts on what works on this topic!


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