The primary aim of public relations is to create, redeem, and bolster reputations. To achieve these goals, PRs reach out to a whole host of people who can both directly and indirectly influence your success, whether they be opinion leaders, ambassadors, creators, celebrities, activists, community spokespeople or industry professionals.
The term “influencer” has crept into PR vocabulary over the last few years, primarily relating to people with an online following. Public relations is effectively evolving from media relations to influencer relations. Each new form of media from Instagram to Twitter, Snapchat to YouTube, has given rise to a new breed of influencer.
Influencers can be incredibly important part of the decision-making process. According to Twitter, almost 50% of people of people rely on influencers for product recommendations. Choose the right influencer, and not only can you increase sales, but your brand will gain credibility and awareness, and a boost in Google rankings.
Don’t let the word ‘micro’ fool you, because these seemingly teeny tiny influencers pack a powerful punch. Micro influencers are typically ordinary people sharing authentic experiences with their loyal, but relatively small community of followers. As their following isn’t as great as other types of influencer, they are often overlooked and underestimated. While on the surface, such influencers appear ineffective, research suggests that the more followers an influencer has, the less engagement their posts receive (Markerly).
At the other end of the spectrum are celebrity influencers. It is no coincidence that brands capitalise on features such as ‘As Seen On…’ and ‘Celebrity Style’ to sell their wares. Celebrities sell, fact.
Celebrities, by their very nature, are well known. Exploiting a celeb’s following is a quick and effective was to expose your product or service to a wide audience. To keep your finger on the pulse of the top celebrity influencers, check out their social media following in real time.
Celebrity endorsement doesn’t come cheap- top celebs, such as Kylie Jenner, charge an estimated $1 million per sponsored post (CNBC)!
Marketers are beginning to question their impact. A new report from social media software management provider, Sprout Social, has found that only a third of consumers would research a product or service when recommended by a celeb.
Celebrities dip in and out of popularity. While a certain famous face may be what your brand needs right now, if they are involved in a scandal further down the line, your brand could, through association lose favour.
Industry experts such as journalists and academics, and multimedia content creators such as bloggers and vloggers, can be valuable brand advocates.
This group of influencers are masters of their craft, able to showcase your brand through their carefully crafted words and entertaining videos.
They have a niche and targeted following.
Due to their position, reputation, and experience, content creators and industry experts are trusted. According to a survey conducted by affilinet, ‘bloggers are the third most trustworthy source of information, behind family and friends’.
While many content creators will be happy to incorporate certain key messages, you will never have complete control over what they write/say.
To achieve more impactful results, the chosen influencer should align with your brand- does their website, content, and tone of voice resonate/marry with your own?
Before choosing an influencer, ask yourself how many people you want the campaign to reach and what kind of engagement you would like to achieve. While an influencer may have hundreds of thousands of followers, if engagement with their posts is low, you may consider another avenue.
It’s one thing for an influencer to be able to captivate an audience, but could they be offering you more? When it comes to bloggers, an influencer who can offer a well-written piece of SEO-optimised content with backlinks is more valuable than an influencer who simply writes a stellar review.
Does the influencer really know what your brand is and what it represents? If the answer is no, you should steer clear.
If you pay an influencer to write, say something, or share a picture of your brand, it is called a sponsored or promoted post. Thanks to the FTC, all influencers must indicate whether a post is sponsored in one way or another. Depending on the influencer, a paid promotion could cost anywhere from £150 to £23,000.
Whether it’s an invitation to an event or a selection of your latest products, everyone loves a freebie. The downside? You can’t write the influencer’s review for them, only hope that they love your product as much as you do.
Guest blogging works in one of two ways: either you write something to feature on an influencer’s website/blog, or you publish something an influencer has written on your own website/blog. If you’re interested in pitching a guest blog to an influencer, be sure to consult their list of guidelines first to maximise your chances.