I just got off the phone with a excellent journalist in the outdoor recreational markets. He is writing an article about how specialty retail and smaller brands can get traction in the social media space. He is writing it for the Outdoor Industry Association Newsletter called WebNews, and I encourage you to look for it. The general feeling in the industry, apparently, is that specialty retail and the smaller brands are at a disadvantage compared to the larger retailers and brands when it comes to engaging with the likes of Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc.
I don’t agree with that assumption, but we will stay focused here.
Small specialty retail is, by definition, local or regional. So, they should focus on the local and organic way of doing things. And that means attract the local athletes that have local influence. And that means these folks show up at the local races and events, compete and generally do well. They are the “go to” people locally when consumers have questions about bikes, hiking shoes, climbing gear…you get the idea. Now, if these people have a blog, are on twitter, or publish in some other way…all the better.
The focus for specialty must be on local…local events, local athletes and creating local buzz.
Now, for the smaller brands. They should attract Influencers, but here is the criteria at Channel Signal. If a person:
2. Has substantial Followers or Friends
3. And is Authentic, meaning that his/her followers are authentic and the content is wanted/needed…
then these are true Influencers. Now, who else are Influencers. Retail salespeople. Published media. And national blogs. Why? Because consumer traffic is either driven to them, in the case of retail salespeople, or people read them because they are in big daily or weekly publications.
Now, both specialty retail and small brands can attract Influencers by publishing useful, interesting content. And that means “how to” pieces on being better at road biking, mtn. biking, climbing, hiking, trail running, minimalist running…and the list goes on. Consumers are excited. They want to learn. They want the best equipment they can afford. And they want guidance.
Retail specialty can do all of these things through their web sites, by publishing content that appeals to consumers (and therefore) to Influencers…and is then picked up by Influencers and gets widely distributed within the region. And it drives consumers into the store.
Small brands must also publish great content, attract genuine Influencers, engage them by asking questions about how to improve the content, how to get better, and how they would like to engage with your brand. Do not try to sell them. Repeat: do not try to sell them.
So, that’s my two cents on Influencers. Have much more to write, but that should do it for now.
Oh, and one more thing. I too want to throw my hat into the ring, already crowded with every imaginable politician, and proclaim that I too believe that Moms work really hard.
Peace and out.