Building our software platform has taught me so much about the power of social media. Three months ago, I thought Twitter was a waste of time. Now I think it’s a gold mine – especially for entrepreneurs. It’s not Twitter exactly, but a group of incredibly influential and smart bloggers who use Twitter to communicate. I love these women! They are loyal, honest, and helpful and they enjoy what they do.
My Discovery Process
I started using Twitter to find panelists for QuestionMoms.com. I searched for moms who are active online, working at home, and looking for extra income. I’d follow them, they’d follow me back. Many signed up to be panelists. When I ran statistics on our panel, I discovered many were bloggers and product reviewers. I realized that was the perfect match for the panel, so I started searching for mommy bloggers on Twitter. I followed them and learned how they interact. Meanwhile, my panel grew quickly. Looking at Google Analytics, I noticed Twitter accounted for about 10% of my traffic and that there were some other sites bringing even more traffic – bloggers who were sharing with each other about the opportunities on my site. Very cool!
As I started to communicate with my community more, I learned these bloggers are hungry for great products to review and additional income opportunities. So, for the price of your product and shipping it, you can get incredible exposure. In most cases, you can get more exposure than through paid banner ads, email blasts, etc. Why? These women have formed a real network. They know who to trust and read one another’s reviews.
All Blogs are NOT Equal
When I analyzed my site traffic on one specific busier-than-usual day, I saw that I had 83 visits from 1 source – a mommy blogger who had joined my panel. With only a 26% bounce and an average of 6:38 minutes per visit on my site, this one superstar blogger provided me with about 60 new panelists in ONE day.
Not all bloggers have that power. In November, I ran a contest asking existing panelists (many bloggers) to recruit friends and followers. Most of them were able to recruit only 3 to 20 over the month. So, you have to find out who has the influence in your product space. Most pro bloggers post site statistics such as number of followers and site traffic. Look for bloggers who blog daily, are active on Twitter, write quality reviews (not all positive), and have an honest reputation.
Connecting with Bloggers/Reviewers
Find the ones you like. Send them quick emails expressing your interest in having them review your product. Be sure to include a link and brief description of what you’d like reviewed. Offer to send them a free sample if they are interested. You’ll notice on many of these sites, they have information about how to get your product reviewed. Be sure to read that first to see if they have specific policies or instructions about contacting them.
Be sure you are running Google Analytics or other site stats that show where your traffic is coming from. Have several bloggers provide reviews and then watch the traffic from those sites. If it is an effective market strategy for you – do it again. There is no shortage of great bloggers out there to provide reviews. Let them be your virtual sales team (if it is a good fit for your business).
Don’t Know Where to Start?
Maybe I can help. I’m compiling a list of bloggers who are moms and review products. I’m providing a Profile for them to complete stating the information about their blog, what kinds of products they review, ages of children, etc. for QuestionMoms.com, and I’m sure others have compiled similar lists. Also, I have made some great contacts with superstar bloggers who would also be happy to distribute your request to other bloggers. So, if you’d like your product reviewed, just contact me and I’ll connect you.
It’s always in your best interest to post the reviews of your products. Be sure to support that blogger over time. Forward links to their site, retweet their links on Twitter, etc. I think this is an incredible – and honest – way to market. I’d much rather hear from a trusted “friend” blogger about a product than from a huge a marketing organization paid by the company. The big companies are doing it, so as entrepreneurs, maybe you should too.