When used thoughtfully, influencer marketing campaigns can help PR efforts flourish.
Cision’s recent Social & Influencer Guide for PR outlines social media takeaways for communicators to research current industry trends and competition, along with ways to sharpen their pitches.
Along with research and pitching, PR pros can also take advantage of influencer marketing to boost their communications efforts.
Follow these four steps to effectively use the power of influencers in your upcoming campaigns:
1. Research your audience.
If you don’t know who you’re targeting, you cannot select the social media users who influence them.
Many organizations have customer personas, which can serve as a starting point. Review the personas to ensure that they encompass the audiences that will help you achieve your goals and refresh your understanding of your audience.
What your audience looks for, who provides that information and how they enjoy receiving that information can change over time—or even throughout a sales cycle.
2. Study the influencers who your target audience love.
Just as you must understand your audience, also understand the influencers with whom you want to partner.
In its report, Cision wrote:
It’s a better bet for brands and the PR and comms pros behind them to find the right influencer with a highly engaged following than betting on just anyone with big numbers.
B2B influencers look much different than B2C influencers, creating different types of content and using separate social media platforms. What most communicators think of as an influencer can also exclude powerful brand advocates: “Micro-influencers” (those with followings around 10,000 people) and “nano-influencers” (those with smaller follower numbers, but often highly engaged communities) might be a better fit for a particular campaign or your budget.
3. Craft the right content and measure for your goals.
Examine the type of content that the influencers you’re considering publish and compare it with what you know about your audiences’ preferences and behaviors. This can help when deciding which influencers to employ, but also can give you valuable insights into how to hone your own branded content, so you can attract the most eyeballs.
Set the right metrics to evaluate if your influencer strategy is working, too.
This should combine elements such as reach and share of voice. There is no one right set of metrics for all PR pros. Instead, match them with your overall campaign and PR goals, so you can truly examine if an influencer is making a difference.
4. Build relationships and regularly engage with your community.
The driving force behind the content you create and share, along with the influencers you choose to spread your messages, should be building and strengthening relationships with your followers.
By providing valuable content and answers to consumers’ questions, you show followers that your organization’s social media profiles are a great tool with which to regularly interact. By partnering with the right influencers and sharing messages in ways that appeal to your target audience, you show that you care about their preferences and desires.
Ignoring these social media best practices can quickly designate you as another brand manager shouting into an already noisy digital media landscape.
Building relationships has become increasingly more important as social media platforms’ algorithms have shifted, placing an emphasis on engagement with friends and family instead of branded accounts. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and other platforms have become a “pay to play” endeavor, but not all communicators have the budget to spend on social media ads or boosted posts and promoted tweets. In a similar manner, influencer efforts should only be one element of your social media strategy.
Increase the probability of your content and news entering your followers’ timelines by regularly interacting with them. Consumers that click on your content and leave reactions and comments will see more of your updates.
The more you do this, the better impression you leave with your followers, persuading them to share with their communities long after the influencer partnership has ended.