Instagram, influencers and cross-promotion partnerships? Yep, we've come to the last part in the ‘what still works on Instagram' for hospitality brands series.
Why the two together? Because influencers, in essence, are also cross-promotion channels. And with the huge increase of the so-called influencers in general, cross-promotion channels generally deserve some more attention.
What are influencers and what are cross-promotion channels?
To prevent any confusion I'd like to make clear what I recall as an influencer and what a cross-promotion channel is or could be. An influencer is a blogger, vlogger, Instagrammer or other platform related person that has a relatively big and active following in a specific field. Like fashion, food, traveling, or even more specific, like ‘train-model-building', ‘watercolor-cartoon-drawing' or whatever.
A micro-influencer, in my eyes, starts at an active follower-amount of about 2000. Why I set the number to 2000? Because even my little cousins nowadays have about 1000-1500 ‘active' followers and I wouldn't necessarily consider them influencers.
A cross-promotion channel could also be another brand, an organization or business. Cross-promotion is a 2-way promotion, where both you and the other promote each other. An example could be a barista magazine promoting De Koffieschenkerij and De Koffieschenkerij promoting the magazine in return, by, for example, placing a picture of their article and referring to the magazine in the caption.
Why and how to use them?
There are a couple of reasons as to why you should consider using (micro)influencers and cross-promotion options. First of all: they're either cheap or free. I wouldn't recommend any hospitality brand to work with an expensive blogger, vlogger, Instagrammer or likewise person.
Why? Because by focusing on cheaper (micro)influencers you'll get more reach for less money. Look for those who are happy to promote or review your restaurant, café or hotel in exchange for a meal or stay. Let them bring a friend – but don't offer more than that. Are they up for the job? Great. Then set some rules! (Read more about working with influencers here).
The same goes for cross-promotional channels. As a café you might be working with a certain baker or other F&B provider. If you are working with small/artisanal partners? Then propose to do some cross-promotion. You give them a shout-out on your social media channels and so do they.
As a hospitality brand you can also look into some other partnerships. What about local museums, exhibition rooms, music venues, tour operators? And ever thought about the shops in your neighborhood?
If you really would like to invest, then one of the best ideas is to create a custom map of your neighborhood that you'll be giving to your guests. In this map, you'll promote nearby brands and organizations that you think your audience will enjoy. Put the map at the reception or bar for your guests to take away. In return, ask the promoted brands and organizations to put a flyer of your hotel/restaurant/café at their reception or shop counter and make sure they promote you on their social media channels.
This is a tremendous way to get your name spread. However, do make sure to only work with brands that you feel like fit your brand and audience. Are you a small-town café with mainly young families visiting? Then you don't want to be promoting the local hard-core music shop or casino. A chic hotel may not want to promote a budget pizza place. And so on.
Think about your brand and strategy, then make the map. And don't use simple software. Be serious about this and ask a designer to create it. Make sure the map's visual style represent your brand.
Need some more cross-promotion ideas? What about:
- Combined merchandise. Like a tote bag with a fun quote that fits both your brand and a local fashion store.
- Meet-the-locals video series. A branded video series where you, as a representative of your own brand, visit nearby hotspots and promote them. Videos go up on your channel, the hotspots promoted link towards your channel.
- Promote art. As a hospitality brand, you've got space. Why have the same art up on your walls all the time when you can rotate and get free promotion from the artists in return?
Oh pleeeease help me some more!
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