Written by Holly Pavlika, Mel Lockcuff, Brandi Jeter, Kristin Wheeler and Courtney Velasquez
People tend to believe a professional blogger with huge numbers is the ones to seek. But you can’t look at numbers alone. A blogger with 3,500 followers can get the same if not more engagement as a blogger with 35,000 followers. It’s all about relationships and trust that has been built with their audiences. It’s much harder to maintain relationships with 35,000 fans than it is 3,500. Facebook recently did a study and discovered an average post only reaches 16% of the fans.
The Social Studies Group and V3 Integrated Marketing conducted a study in 2012 with some 300 moms in the U.S. in 2012. They found that the most valued bloggers were those with a presence across multiple social channels. Those with 2,500-9,999 visits per month are the most varied with their social media usage with the 10,000 or more visits next may be the most effective. They said, “Obviously marketing campaigns need to play across platforms, but most importantly you need to provide strategic guidance, direction and content, tools and visuals that will help the influencers be successful across all channels.”
So what numbers are important? It’s all about retweets, comments on a blog posts, shares of content, “likes” for a product, repins of a photo or +1’s of content, which we have found indicates a preference for the product and a greater likelihood of purchase.
There are all kinds of tools for growing followers, but there are none that help you build relationships simultaneously. People are more apt to share, tweet or comment on posts from people they know or have a relationship/acquaintance with. So again, bloggers with high numbers have the potential to reach more people, but bloggers with smaller numbers may have closer relationships and therefore drive more engagement. It’s important to look at a blogger’s engagement with their fan base across each channel and the quality of their followers. Anyone can essentially buy followers to get their numbers up. “Likes” and “Follows” don’t necessarily equate with loyalty. The valuable blogger is one who has built their following over time and through conversation and quality content.
Without quality content, there isn’t engagement, but it’s different courses, for different horses. Each channel is different, lending different kinds of engagement. Each blogger has their favorites and there is value in any social channel that has engagement. One of the most valuable bloggers today is one with great content across a variety of channels. Audiences are fickle and not singularly channel focus. Content needs to be everywhere to provide opportunity for discovery.
Blogger selection for any brand should reflect synergy with the brand and be of quality. Quality means well-written, informative, has personality, includes proper links and grammar. And let’s not forget expertise and passion for the brand. And the blogger’s voice: are they authentic?
There are over 170 million blogs online between WordPress and Tumblr alone so how do you choose? It’s all about engagement. Remember there are “lurkers” on any channel. Some content gets seen, but not engaged with. Potential impressions are important. A study by the Nielsen Norman Group showed that 90 percent of a social media community’s members do not participate in online conversations but read the content and observe conversations. Only 10 percent are engaged in conversations with nine percent occasionally engaging and the other one percent actively participating.
The truth is you cannot look at any one thing singularly. It’s all of the above. There are so many factors that play a role in what makes a great blogger selection.
Look for the follow up post to this one, “What Bloggers Really Want From Brands”