We live in an information-overloaded online world. As consumers, we’re bombarded with messaging intended to sell us something. As a result, we have become quite savvy in recognizing advertisements and automatically diverting our attention away from them. This has only elevated the need for brands to have an effective PR strategy, especially when it comes to influencer marketing.
PR tells a brand’s story in a way that is organic and non-promotional, and (when done right) does not elicit the adverse reactions advertising can evoke at times. A public relations agency leverages relationships with editors and writers from respected publications, to place clients in front of relevant and engaged audiences AND provide value to those outlets’ readers. In today’s PR climate, social media influencers can effectively offer value to their followers, similarly to the way major newspapers and magazines have done it for years. People trust influencers and consider their content beneficial; therefore, influencer marketing is quickly becoming one of the most efficient and effective ways for businesses to reach and connect with their target customer in a meaningful way.
By focusing marketing activities around key individuals known to have influence among a target customer market, brands can deliver a more authentic message that’s more palatable to consumers than classic advertisements. Influencers know how to build human connection on a level that can be very difficult to achieve through traditional forms of advertising, and can significantly increase brand awareness and help grow sales.
That said, working with social media influencers (unlike traditional media) can still feel a bit like unchartered territory.
Having worked with a number of established and startup brands over the years, below are our top recommendations for the best ways to collaborate with influencers to give your brand the boost it needs:
Align with the Right Influencers
Aligning your brand with the right individuals is a crucial element of every influencer campaign. It is important to select a person who matches the brand’s values and authentically believes in the product, as well as reaches your target market and has a highly engaged audience. TIP: You may be better off choosing an influencer with a smaller reach but a dedicated audience rather than working with an influencer with a huge reach but only casually-connected fans. Target audience is everything. Also, it’s important that the relationship being created with the influencer is mutually beneficial.
Give Influencers Creative Control
Social media influencers produce their best work when you give them creative control. They know what their audiences want. Allow them to introduce and promote your brand in a way that is authentic to them. While it might be tempting to tell influencers what to do and how to do it, remember why you chose to work with them in the first place. If you want them to do something specific, make a suggestion, but be open to them saying “no” or doing it in their own way. Treat them with respect and courtesy, and you may be surprised how your influencer marketing efforts will contribute to your bottom line.
Influencer to Brand Ambassador
Sending influencers to sponsored events to act as reporters is an impactful marketing strategy for new products and launches. While people know that influencers are usually compensated for their work, it’s uncommon they promote products in which they don’t believe, so they’re trusted far more than advertisements. But just like content, the event and the influencer must align.
Sponsor Influencer-run Contests and Giveaways
Brands can garner a lot of attention by sponsoring exciting contests and prize giveaways which influencers mediate. Giveaways and contests allow a brand to reach new audiences that they may have not tapped into before, and get rewarded with new and engaged followers and authentic content.
Create a Written agreement of Goals and Expectations
Having an outline of actionable goals and what you’re trying to accomplish by collaborating with the influencer is very important and sets them, and you, up for success. Be clear, concrete, and direct about what you want to achieve together, as you’ll get better results when influencers understand your goals and convey them to their audiences. Depending on the influencer, this can be as informal as spelling expectations out through a simple email exchange.
By Olga Walsh, Account Director at Crowe PR