You may have heard the term “influencer” thrown around online and not really understand what it means or how it can help your business. I’m here to give you the low down, explain the power influencers have, and how they can boost your PR strategy through PR & influencer marketing.
An Intro to Influencers
Let’s start by looking at what an influencer is. It’s still a relatively new term and many people haven’t a clue what these people do but it is certainly one of the most popular PR trends in recent years.
If we look at the basic dictionary definition then an influencer is “a person or thing that influences another” – this doesn’t really help.
In terms of marketing, an influencer is someone who promotes products and services on various platforms such as social media to their audience. They form reciprocal relationships with brands known as brand deals or sponsorships and people follow them on social media because they might enjoy the lifestyle they promote or what they do.
How Can They Benefit Your PR Strategy?
We now have a definition, but how can influencers help your PR strategy and marketing? The following are a few of the main benefits:
- Increased brand awareness.
- Positive brand image.
- Improved website traffic.
- Improved sales.
- Improved social media following.
You have to realize that the most popular influencers have millions of followers on social media. Their audience is immense and their followers are usually fully invested in what they do and really are influenced by the content the influencer shows.
You can tap into that huge audience and loyalty to boost your own brand awareness and image. This then results in improved website traffic, more sales, and less tangible benefits like an improved social media following.
It’s essentially marketing and PR but with a pre-built audience (i.e. the influencer’s followers) which is incredibly cost-effective too compared to traditional marketing methods where you have to work to build an audience.
Incorporating Influencer Marketing Into Your PR Strategy
With the benefits clear, how do you make a PR influencer strategy? It’s actually easier than you think and the hardest part of your PR & influencer marketing campaign is selecting the right person(s) to work with. Below, I have created a simple 5-step guide to create your first PR strategy with influencers.
Step 1 - Research influencers who are relative to your industry
As I mentioned, you need to pick the RIGHT people to work with. Ideally, you should pick influencers who have some type of relationship with your industry or the types of products/services you sell. This means the audience is more likely to interact with your business.
Start by researching the different influencers and make a list of potential people who you could work with. Make sure you check their socials and look for things like followers, other brands they work with, and their reputation.
Step 2 - Create a budget and determine how you will pay them
Next, you need to create a budget for your PR influencer strategy. This involves deciding how many people you want to work with, and how much you are willing to spend. With influencers, there are generally two “payment” methods:
- A set fee for their endorsement.
- Free products in return for their endorsement.
The second method is preferable as this results in a purer relationship and seems less like you are buying their endorsement. It helps greatly if they actually love your products too and have a genuine interest in using them. Either way, set a budget, and create an outline of potential payment methods that you can show to the influencer when you make contact.
Step 3 - Decide on how the relationship will work
You then have to consider how the relationship will work. Perhaps it’s a one-off endorsement where you give an influencer a free product in return for them using it in their social media content X number of times.
Alternatively, perhaps you want to work with them on a recurring basis (results dependant) and create something like an ambassador program. You can put forward both options to the influencer when you reach out to them.
Step 4 - Reach out to the influencers
Now comes the crucial part – reaching out to the influencer. There is obviously no guarantee that they will want to work with you so be prepared to reach out to multiple people and allow for some failure.
When you reach out, make sure that you are as detailed as possible in your expectations and what they will receive in return. Don’t leave any room for misinterpretation.
Step 5 - Build solid relationships and seek mutual benefits
If you are successful, the work begins and you can start creating a positive relationship with the influencer(s) for mutual benefit.
It’s ideal to monitor the progress of your PR & influencer marketing strategy and make sure it’s having a positive impact. Also, monitor the content they produce to make sure they are representing your brand in the way you intended. If this sounds like a lot to take in, you may find online PR agency services useful as this often includes influencer marketing strategies.
Influencers Represent a Powerful New Form of PR
While some remain skeptical, I am an ardent believer in the power of influencers for PR and marketing. This is mainly driven by the popularity of social media and the sheer volume of people influencers can reach.
By forging relationships with influencers you essentially gain access to a ready-made audience and can use that for mutual benefit to promote your products and services, and to bolster your public image.