Social Media Influence on consumers is becoming more and more relevant with consumers and not just hype. Which means more influencers will be working with brands than ever before in 2012. If you haven’t pitched a brand before, chances are you will this year. But before you do that you will need to make sure you know who you are. (Refer to my earlier post about researching yourself here.) Once you know who you are you can formulate a plan for your brand pitch. Here are my six top suggestions to get you going.
1. Research! Research! Research! Know who your talking to. Know their history of working with social media influencers, reviewers, bloggers, ambassadors and spokepeople. The joy of the internet is the easy accessibility of information. Search out the brand objectives, mission statements, slogans, past and present. See what other social media campaigns they have engaged in. Read the disclosures on influencer posts, do they mention being compensated? This will give you some insight into what the brand is used to, and what they might be open to entertaining in your proposal. The more you know the smarter, and ultimately more effective your pitch can be.
2. Show your reach. Even though Social Media is all about relationships and conversations, PR is still about numbers and ROI. Don’t make the brand reps search out your reach, give it to them plain; stats, Klout, friends, followers, pins, circles, shares. If you are nervous that your numbers are too low, don’t embellish, exaggerate, or flat out lie, it will come back to haunt you. Instead talk about how mighty your community is. Give examples of your success. Share some community feedback. Remember, just because brands get hung up on numbers doesn’t mean they don’t understand quality over quantity. Respect their intellect, and they will respect yours.
3. What makes you successful in social media is your ability to communicate with your community creatively. Inspiring interest and loyalty. In your pitch identify your original idea for furthering the brands’ objectives for interaction with their targeted consumer base. Now, I realize that some influencers have experienced unfortunate situations where they have shared ideas only to be cut out of the loop going forward. It’s happened to me too. It happens in every industry, especially when people are just getting started professionally. In the beginning you have to give more than you receive. But that’s okay. This will not be your last best idea, I promise you. But even though that is true, you don’t need to give the cart and the horse with every proposal. You can identify your idea, but you don’t have to include every dimension in your blueprint. If you have a network of influencers you intend to work with you can talk about their number s and areas of expertise, but you don’t necessarily have to identify them by name. If you have a slogan you intend to use, you can talk about it in general terms without giving the exact wording. There are legal ways to hold onto your intellectual property such as an NDA, (Non-Disclosure Agreement). However, when you are cold pitching that’s not a reasonable expectation. Remember, you are a creative thinker and wordsmith. You can perform your magic without letting your audience see behind your curtain. Trust your communicative ability.
4. Consider making a targeted private video to accompany your pitch. Video is the new black for 2012. If you want your pitch to cut through the din add some video talking directly to your brand audience. Show them, don’t just tell them, what you propose to do for their campaign. Be sure to keep the video under 90 seconds. (For additional suggestions about making good videos refer here.)
5. If your proposal has been requested it is best to give a very detailed idea of your fee. Hopefully you have asked for, or have been given an idea of the campaign budget. Stick to it in the front of your proposal, but don’t be afraid to give them a glimpse of additional items that could be produced down the line in the form of an “option” to be picked up as an extension to the original agreement. If you are pitching unsolicited, you don’t have to be exact, but you do have to be clear about your parameters. Do you blog in trade for product, gift cards, ads, trips, consideration,? Is there a monetary target that “trade” has to be comparable to? Don’t be vague or shy. If you don’t value your work, why should they. (Still trying to establish your rate? Refer to my previous post about how to find it.)
6. I tell my actor clients that when they audition they are not only auditioning for the immediate project, but for future projects as well. The same goes for social media pitches. You may not be able to close the deal on this particular project, but your pitch can put you in line for future opportunities down the pike if you are clear, concise and relevant. You want to tailor your pitch to the brand you are interested in, but make sure that you accurately paint a picture of your talent, focus and reach. That way a brand rep or PR leader will be able to imagine you on future campaigns, or with their other clients.
These six suggestions are just the start. There are many more details I can share with you as you navigate the World of brand social media influence for hire. If you are in need of a coach, strategist, or idea creator please contact me about private consultation. Together we can make 2012 a social media firestorm of opportunity.