Influencer marketing is so hot right now, but what does it actually mean? How should it be managed? Our social media queen Grainne explains all.
Influencer Marketing is not a new concept, it's born out of celebrity endorsement. What's changed is that those with a loyal and large social following, on one or many social platforms, are now the celebrity. However, do these 'celebrities' have the ability to achieve cut-through and reach your target audience?
Nielson recently issued a global consumer trust report detailing that when it comes to communications, 'Recommendations from people I know', performs highest with a staggering 83% trust rate. Trust in brands may have had its day. Now, it seems people trust their peers or the influencers they feel they know on social media far more than than traditional ad formats.
However, simply throwing cash at any influencer to increase sales and drive interest is madness! Here's the method.
1. All that glitters, ain't gold!
Quality of following is more important than mass. An individual with 53,000 followers may be less influential than a blogger with just 5,000 followers. It's important to recognise who inspires trust and has worked hard to be consistent with their followers. Often, influencers that stick to what they know fare far better than those trying to be all things to all people and as channels like Snapchat and Instagram Stories compete with original platforms like Facebook and Twitter, it's becoming more apparent whose 'influence' is falling on deaf ears.
2. YOU BETTER RECOGNISE!!!!!
Put in the work to find as many strong influencers as you can. Prioritise the list in order of perceived influence and monitor these channels for a period, focus your greatest energy on those you determine to be the highest ranking 25-30 names on the list. Take the time to like, to share, and to remark on their materials that genuinely resonate with you. Examine where others commenting are geographically based, what age they are, what posts are getting the most traction and if this influencer has any brand partnerships already in motion.
3. Friends Forever
Build your network and get to know influencers by reaching out to them regularly. Offer them the opportunity to share your news, invite them to offer their opinions or review your brand.
Decide what success looks like and be clear about this when approaching your chosen influencer. Success can take many forms. Be it visits to a brand's website, sales or engagement levels on posts - just make sure you're responding to your business objectives.
5. Content is STILL king
When working on a partnership with a carefully selected influencer, allow them to collaborate with you on content. Remember, you chose this person because they know what their audience responds to. Roadmap the content together, factoring in the tone and time of post as well as the style of photography and videography.
6. If you're going to do something, do it right
Ethics is central to any PR activity and working with influencers is no different. Ireland's leading advertising authority has issued a warning to the country's most popular bloggers that they must be more transparent about what is paid-for content, in order not to mislead their readers. However, PR professionals also have a role to play in ensuring these standards are upheld. If you have exchanged a fee for an activity, then this must be declared via identifiable hashtags – such as #Ad or #SP. Sending a product to an influencer for them to consider reviewing is still a normal part of PR activity and you do not need to provide a fee for a review shared by a blogger. Watch out for the nasty con-artist who could post a review and then approach you for a fee.
7. LOG OUT
Don't forget influencers can carry weight offline. Instead of focusing your partnership to live solely online through blog posts and social media updates, consider if this influencer is big enough for an offline partnership. This could be a new product collaboration or an offline event complemented with social activity.
Some of the influencers we admire are;