Why influencer relations need to be part of your PR strategy
Working with influencers and bloggers is a great way to tap niche markets and get people talking about your brand. But you knew that already, right?
Unlike major Hollywood celebrities, influencers are often just normal people you might see at the gym or bump into at the supermarket. They also have large followings on social media or in “real life.” For this reason, and many others, their content has an organic and authentic feel to it. A post from a popular local influencer can strengthen a brand because it feels more trustworthy and genuine. It’s for that reason that our agency routinely works with influencers as part of public relations campaigns. Whether we’re reaching people in Manitoba, Saskatchewan or across North America, we frequently find ourselves targeting social media mavens.
This quote comes to mind:
“If a young man tells his date how handsome, smart and successful he is – that’s advertising. If the young man tells his date she’s intelligent, looks lovely, and is a great conversationalist, he’s saying the right things to the right person — that’s marketing. If someone else tells the young woman how handsome, smart and successful her date is — that’s PR.”
– S. H. Simmons
Reason #1 — Their audience listens.
Influencers and bloggers often share their opinions on products, services or things in their everyday lives. Influencers with high levels of engagement and a strong following can have an big impact on their audiences’ purchasing patterns. There are many instances where an influencer has been the reason a product has sold out or they’ve created a surge in online sales. For example, when Tim Ferriss, bestselling author and podcaster, initially endorsed Four Sigmatic (a mushroom coffee) on his podcast they totally sold out despite the fact that it was a paid sponsorship.
They know their audience values their viewpoint, and typically they take that pretty seriously, reserving positive words and paid partnerships for companies and services they truly love.
Reason #2 — They make creative content (if you let them).
In our experience, the more creative liberty you can give an influencer or blogger with your partnership, the better. Guaranteed they know their audience better than you do, and they will know how to deliver messages that their followers will actually care about.
That being said, if you have ideas or requests you need to bring to the table, make sure you are very clear about stating them and explaining what’s expected. Be prepared for them to sometimes come back with their own input. If you can’t agree on what the content will look like, it might not be meant to be and that’s ok.
See the photo below that a local blogger, Shayna (@shayna_apopofcolour), shot for one of our clients, St. Vital Centre, to promote their upcoming Behind Closed Doors event:
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*CLOSED* Shopping for a good cause? Count me in! 🛍 Two sets of tickets are up for grabs to go to @StVitalCentre Behind Closed Doors shopping event on Nov. 18! * To enter, make sure you follow @stvitalcentre, and tag who you would bring in the comments below. Proceeds from tickets to #BCD2017 goes to various charities, visit St. Vital’s site to see which charities are being supported in this year’s event. In 2016, Behind Closed Doors raised $42,500 for local charities. Good luck! *Winners must be able to pick up their tickets at St. Vital Centre guest services before 6:00 pm on Nov. 18 . . . . . #stvital #stvitalmall #shopping #winnipeg #manitoba #igerswinnipeg #winnipegcontests #winnipeggiveaways #ywg #winnipegfashion #winnipegbloggers #winnipegevents #winnipeglocal #winnipegcharity #charity #giveaway #canadablogger #winnipeginfluencer #shoppingevent #winnipeglocal #winnipeglife #fashion #flatlay #flatlaystyle #flatlaynation #candles #sparkle #glitter #bossbabes
Reason #3 — Their true endorsements are priceless.
Even if you didn’t send them your products or sponsor a post, sometimes bloggers or influencers will get a hold of something, love it, and share those feelings with the world. Money can’t buy that kind of PR because it’s truly based on the quality and merit of your product.
Building on this, nobody wants to follow somebody who is just a walking advertisement for whoever will pay them (especially if they endorse things they don’t believe in). Pay attention to how genuine their endorsements are, because if you feel like everything they do is an ad, then usually their followers will pick up on that as well.
Reason #4 — They help generate sales and introduce new people to your brand.
Bottom line, this why we pursue any marketing endeavour. They introduce people to your brand, and if their followers don’t outright buy, they’ve now moved from having no knowledge of your brand, to the awareness stage. If your website is well-engineered, there’s a good chance they are in your sales funnel now, and you can be prepared to hit them with retargeting ads and e-blasts. We’ve seen the return on investment, in terms of both social media and profit. The potential is huge, and we always make sure to have a system in place to track our efforts.
Reason #5 — They are experts in their category.
The best bloggers/influencers know their category or niche really well, and have the education to give great advice. People often look to them for guidance, and they tend to be responsive and give the people what they want. This is why when they launch their own products or services, people tend to scoop them up (some of the hottest new brands right now launched with influencer endorsements). We love leveraging this and getting their input on things.
A recent campaign we did for our client Ford of Canada paired local influencers with a Ford Explorer for a weekend of wellness.
Check out the posts below:
Amanda & Tom, co-owners of Coal & Canary Candle Company
Amber Baclean, Nascar driver and entrepreneur
Something to keep in mind when you work with bloggers and influencers: depending on the person, this might be their day job. While influencers can often offer a more cost-effective option than advertising, you don’t want to take them for granted. Don’t undervalue their time and effort.
If you don’t know who you should be working with, or where to start, we can help! We research and create custom partnerships and programs that allow our clients to meet their campaign objectives. We have built relationships with many of Winnipeg’s top influencers in many different categories.