This past weekend, the Wellevation team had our first official speaking gig at Natchcom, a 2-day event held in Boulder, CO designed to connect the power of digital and e-commerce with the $180 billion Natural Products industry. We loved connecting with past colleagues in the natural foods industry and meeting new brand marketers making a splash with innovative products and marketing tactics. Here are our key takeaways:

  1. Meet your consumers where they are. Facebook is still an incredibly powerful tool for brands; it’s not only the largest social network, but it has the most sophisticated advertising platform that’s growing and changing everyday. They can help you reach new customers, engage past ones and build brand loyalty. These stats stood out to us the most:
    • 70% of consumers use online sources to search for food
    • 31% of consumers cook something for a meal after seeing it on Facebook
    • 28% of consumers use Instagram and/or Facebook at the grocery store
  2. Relationships beat algorithms. We were especially inspired by George Bryant of the Civilized Caveman. He spoke about the powerful but simple idea of caring for your customers. When someone asks a question on social media, respond to them. Encourage two-way communication and you will be rewarded with brand advocates.
  3. As a business specializing in the health and wellness industry {much of which involves food}, we found the following Top 10 Pinterest Food Trends for 2018 to be particularly interesting:
    • Air Frying
    • Plant Protein
    • Healthy Coffee
    • Peas
    • Sweet Heat
    • Cleaner Cocktails
    • Souping
    • Better Butter
    • Vegan Desserts
    • Korean Condiments
  4. Another session that validated our perspective of integrating influencer work into an overall marketing plan, rather than using it as a bolt-on tactic, examined the ups/downs of brands of all sizes seeking to convert online communities into customers. Each panelist agreed that the lifetime value of customers brought into the organization through an ambassador or affiliate was higher {which is exciting news for influencers/experts with engaged audiences}. That being said the big question remains – how do we get new people into the brand’s marketing funnel? Content viewers, email subscribers and social media engaged users all play a role.
  5. During our own panel, it was interesting to note how much mystery still surrounds the brand-influencer relationship, even from the brand perspective. A few questions asked:
    • What is the best way to reach an influencer? Email or social media?
    • How do I effectively build a relationship if the first thing that’s shared with me is a media kit? And also, is a media kit negotiable?
    • How do I respond to an influencer inquiry when we don’t have paid work available, but want to preserve the relationship for future opportunities?
  6. We all agreed that transparency and honest communication is the key to success. Be open-minded about brand’s current goals, share how you are currently working with influencers/experts and how you expect that to evolve in the future. Don’t give false promises or expectations of future work if there may be none, but focus on responding to and encouraging the individual as well as celebrating them wherever you can. This is just good customer loyalty practice and can absolutely be applied to influencer work!

In summary, relationship and ROI are key priorities for brands when it comes to engaging influencers. Are you applying equal weight to both?

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  1. Monica says:

    Thanks for keeping this topic of conversation available to your readers! It makes me question how I approach my streams of revenue as an influencer but more so how I can hone in on great relationship building. I love supporting individuals when they are working on something inspiring (like developing a delicious new food product or earth-friendly skin care!).

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