Gifting licenced medicines to bloggers and other social influencers in return for a feature is illegal. It could get you and your client into some seriously hot water.
But even if you could send product, would it really inspire the influencer to feature it, and if so, in a positive light? Taking an example of meaningless blogger outreach these days, the same principal applies…
Look at many parental bloggers these days (as an example) and you’ll see waves of posts talking about a certain cereal brand or perhaps a Supermarket’s finest range – is sending out product really proving a worthwhile exercise by simply getting mentioned and a photo shown? We’d argue not. There’s simply no value here, with most readers zoning out reading about ‘yet another freebie’. Brands and their marketing teams need to ‘add more value’ – so, instead of simply offering a box of cereal worth £2.49, run a campaign challenging mums to come up with a cake recipe that the product can be used in, and inspire entries with a much sexier prize… hell, why not even a trophy and a year’s supply!
Anyway, I diverse… let’s get back to the licenced medicines issue.
So what’s the alternative when it comes to encouraging social influencers to get behind a licenced medicine?
Follow these simple guidelines, get round the issue of sending out product and enjoy far more exposure, and more importantly, a lot more fun achieving it!
- A little creative thinking goes a long way here. Firstly think about your campaign, its core message, the product values and what you want to achieve (nope, it’s definitely not just product placement). How could your key message translate into a campaign that makes social influencers feel like they are giving value to their readers and even better, inspiring them to get involved
- Avoid paid posts like the plague. To me this is a sign that you have failed ‘creatively’ and not captured the imagination of your outreach targets. Politely decline and remind them of the campaign, the offer and the value to their readers, then move on!
- Social influencers will obviously want something, they know all too well what you want (coverage), but why should they simply give it to you for free, unless it’s an issue that is close to their heart? A ‘goody bag’ always works well. BUT take warning that the contents need to reflect brand values, reflect the quality of the brand, offer something the recipient will obviously use and enjoy, and supports the message you are driving the outreach campaign with. Try to use branded goods where possible, we suggest using amtmarketing. who are the authority on branded corporate products
- Create a degree of secrecy around your goody bag… by this we mean that you shouldn’t necessarily divulge exactly what is in the bag, perhaps a few teasers. Goody bag cost is something you need to establish early on, but work to around £25 per social influencer. This should encompass P & P too
- Make sure you get the right size box otherwise you could end up with a horrendous postage bill!
- Remember, it’s not just about bloggers! Find the most prominent, relevant, independent social communities on Twitter, G+, Facebook and perhaps a few forums and include them in your hit list
- Get your goody bags out and chase to make sure all have received after a week.
Example – Infacol’s Virtual Colic Centre launch
We recently conceptualised, designed, built and launched the world’s first Virtual Colic Help Centre for Infacol. Check it out Colic Help..
Obviously as a licenced medicine we couldn’t send out product to mummy bloggers, but why would we want to anyway – with colic only affecting babies up to the age of 4 months, most parental social influencers would be out of this stage. The opportunity was to enforce the values of the site and encourage them to share them with their readers. In most cases the bloggers were all too happy to get involved.
But, you need to inspire and reward coverage. We did this with the Infacol Goody Bag as you can see below.
The results were outstanding, with over 50 pieces of unique coverage, leading to a reach of over 1m parents in the UK. More importantly, the ‘right’ social influencers were all inspired to get involved and very happy to get involved in future campaigns. Everyone’s a winner!