Maybe you’re a jewelry designer or brand who’s been wary of spending money on traditional advertising. You’re not sure if you’ll receive a return on your investment.
I don’t blame you – some of the ad industry’s most vocal critics believe that “selling” is no longer an effective strategy and that, instead, creating entertaining and engaging content is a preferred method for generating brand interest and loyalty. However, you might not be sure how to generate buzz in a unique way that will be seen and heard by your targeted audience.
In this post, I’ll explain why you should consider hosting a blogger or influencer event for your jewelry brand or store and also how you can execute it successfully.
I’ve been thinking about how this new era of product-driven content created by fashion bloggers and influencers compares with content published by “gatekeepers” in print fashion magazines. If you read a fashion magazine, you can very clearly distinguish between sponsored content and public-relations-fueled magazine journalism: for example, jewelry worn by a celebrity in a red-carpet photo or a product mention in a round up of on-trend engagement rings.
Which do you trust more – an advertisement or a non-sponsored recommendation?
These days, brands are frequently approaching highly-trafficked bloggers and social media influencers with hundreds of thousands to millions of followers. If an influencer agrees to collaborate with a brand, he or she will receive free products, services and/or payment in exchange for exposure: a sponsored blog post, a hosted giveaway, or prominent product placement in a photo or video.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) doesn’t necessarily monitor bloggers, but they do strongly recommend that bloggers and other digital influencers disclose sponsored content to uphold “truth in advertising.”
Finding Bloggers and Influencers to Invite
At this point, you’re probably wondering, who are these magical unicorns making a living by photographing themselves wearing beautiful items that companies send them for free?
With a small time investment and some free tools, you can find the influencers in your niche, whether that be bridal jewelry or vintage brooches. You can see who they’re wearing and what brands are paying them to be spokespeople.
Here are some tools I like to use (all have free versions or free trials) to find influencers:
Followerwork: With Followerwonk, you can search Twitter bios and timelines for keywords related to your niche and then sort results based on how many Twitter followers the user has. More Twitter followers usually (but not always) means the person is influential in his or her field.
Buzzsumo: Type any keyword, and your results (limited with free version) will include a list of influencers in that field.
Bluenod: Bluenod is a very visual platform that displays influencers based on connections and number of followers. Results are presented in a web format that displays a community revolving around your chosen niche and the most influential people within it.
Or, you can simply try a few Google searches to find new blogs.
Why Should You Consider Hosting a Blogger/Influencer Event?
The most influential bloggers and social media stars write about products like it’s their day job – because for many of them it is. They’ve become accustomed to companies approaching them, and they often execute their content in a predetermined format to satisfy their contract terms. Furthermore, readers become accustomed to the sponsored nature of the content, and that content may, over time, cease to influence buying decisions.
Furthermore, these days nearly every blog post, Instagram photo, or tweet by a highly influential fashion blogger has most likely been funded in some way by a clothing or accessories brand. Customers might see a sponsored post and think, “Oh, that necklace is cute,” but chances are that they won’t remember the brand, unless they go out of the way to read the caption and click through some links. Unless the influencer is an official and exclusive spokesperson for a brand, that brand’s product might only appear once or twice among hundreds of posts.
Here’s an idea: what if a blogger or influencer found herself excited and genuinely enthusiastic about sharing her thoughts in regard to your brand because you provided him or her with a unique, unforgettable experience?
Talented and skilled public relations experts strive to surprise and delight influencers by sending samples, hosting events, following up, speaking their brand’s language, and striving ultimately for product placement without spending any more money than the cost of samples and party incidentals.
Approaching brand development with a public relations mindset and making relationship building your goal will excite influencers and help you create long-lasting connections with raving fans who’ll most likely stick around for a while.
Plan Your Event
Now that you’ve found some influencers you’d like at your event, you need to invite them. When you reach out to your designated bloggers/influencers, definitely personalize the e-mail message by noting why you’ve chosen this particular person and emphasizing what he/she will gain from the experience. Be specific and courteous.
Next, you’ll need to decide what form the party will take: will it happen at a physical location or virtually? If all your influencers live within traveling distance of your physical showroom or chosen event space, you can host them individually or as a group! During the planning process, you’ll want to constantly ask yourself: What will the influencer gain from this experience that will make it worth the time?
When it comes to planning a physical event, the sky’s the limit, but here are some tips to consider:
- Provide a VIP experience, whatever that means in regard to your brand
- Pay or reimburse for transportation
- Give a special gift, whether that be free product or something special related to your brand
- Create a photo-op-worthy space, so that your influencer can’t help but take photos of your event and share them online
- Visit a local craft store (with coupons) to search for interesting props and gift-bag accessories
- Follow up with a generous “thank you”
Planning a digital event is more challenging than planning a physical one because some bloggers and influencers might wonder why you’re inviting them to an “event” rather than simply paying them to produce content.
However, a few intrigued influencers might choose to participate in your digital event for the novelty and fun of it. Here are some ideas for planning a digital event:
- Send more than one influencer free product and host an Instagram styling contest
- Ask them to preview new products and provide exclusive feedback – tech companies that launch new apps do this all the time!
- Create a contest and invite them to help you design a new product or feature that will ultimately bear their name
Set Realistic Expectations
When hosting a blogger/influencer event for your jewelry brand, you need to remember: set realistic expectations. You’ll be investing time in preparing for your event, but you can’t expect all your guests to be enchanted by your brand or feature you in some way on their digital channels.
The only way you can guarantee exposure is by paying the blogger or influencer to generate content about you.
Regardless, a blogger event can be the first step in creating long-term relationships with talented, well-respected individuals who take notice of how much you want to please your potential customers. A relationship created at one of these events can lead to a long-term partnership that might transcend one a blogger forms with a brand that hasn’t gone to such great lengths to charm and impress.
So What Can You Expect?
Results will definitely vary. Recently, I hosted an influential fashion blogger for one of my clients. Our goal was to make her feel like a princess for a day, and the result was that she shared numerous photos and videos from her visit on her Snapchat account.
Furthermore, after the event, we published a blog post on my client’s blog about the blogger’s visit. The post contained photos we took during her visit, and it explained why my client was so excited to host her and show her jewelry.
Overall, I believe the post added to my client’s image, which is built on hospitality and customer care. In addition, we were able to use that content for our social media channels, and the blogger retweeted our post to her Twitter followers.
The majority of bloggers and social media influencers are very professional and absolutely deserve to be paid for their work. However, you can also create relationships with these talented individuals without immediately offering them money. At the end of the day, the influencers in your niche are potential customers too.
Have you ever hosted this type of event before? If not, what type of event could you imagine hosting for your jewelry brand or store?