Working with Digital Influencers
How PR teams can build online profile, while respecting the Influencer role
The media landscape changed long ago and now even traditional media outlets often have a strong online and social media presence. There are also individuals who have built a large and devoted online following where they engage with their community on a regular basis and share parts of their lives.
Sometimes the influencer is focused on food or fashion, but often its lifestyle or a variety of passions that are unique to their personalities and areas of interest.
Some influencers have a few thousand followers who are loyal and others have hundreds of thousands from various parts of the country, or from around the world.
Working with influencers has become a part of many PR strategies as often the younger demographic is gathering much of their news and other content from social media. What should we remember when incorporating influencers into a PR strategy? Here are some tips to ensure success for you, your client, and for the influencer.
Influencers are often talented professionals who spend a lot of time on their content
Whether it be excellent photography, styling, or strategically planning content, being an influencer often requires a lot of time and work by talented individuals. There will always be the lazy and dishonest influencer, as with any profession, but most online personalities are passionate about their online presence and work hard to make sure that their content is engaging, beautiful and tailored carefully to their online brand and what their communities love.
I have heard horror stories of PR pros sending info on a product or brand and simply asking for an influencer plug, without any strategy, personalized touch or respect for the person’s platform. Get to know the influencer and their personal brand.
Also, as with media, there are never guarantees and there may be times when sponsored content is more appropriate. We cannot expect influencers to work for us, especially when it is not a great fit
There are ways to plan interactive experiences, send special deliveries, and personalize pitches in a way where an influencer may naturally want to post about your product or brand. Consider the best fit before you hit the send button.
Request an influencer’s media kit and consider carefully which online personality is best for your client and their PR goals.
Almost all online influencers have media kits to showcase their focus areas, reach, the demographics that make up their online communities, and other data that can help you to determine who is the best option for your client.
Carefully consider your client’s goals, the stories they want to tell, and who they want to reach, and select an influencer accordingly. Its better to choose one or two great fits vs. trying to engage and pitch every influencer in the market.
An influencer who has a large male following will not be a great fit for a client who is trying to reach females who love fitness, and the influencer with 85% of their online community living in Greater Vancouver is perfect for a client looking to rent homes in Burnaby. Do the research and be strategic.
Paid partnerships, personalized deliveries, or interactive experiences are good ways to involve a top influencer.
Simply sending an email pitch to an influencer is not likely to be effective. Remember that the influencer’s platforms are visual as they show, taste, feel and experience via photo and video. There needs to be an experience, something to see, or something for them to have and hold that is both suitable, and allows them to show to their online community.
Unique and interactive events are also a fun option when your client is willing to invest in something creative. Deliveries with personalized, hand-written notes and an item or two to showcase the story is also a nice idea. There are also times when a paid partnership is the best option. Having the influencer committed to working with both you and your client to create content that is both engaging for their communities, while also helping you to meet your PR goals, is a win-win, and can be worth the investment when done well.
Your plan and strategy for the online influencer is different from the one you are creating for journalists. Take the time to do things right while keeping strategy and fit top of mind, and respecting the hard-working influencer who often produces beautiful visuals and content. Remember, there is a reason for that large online following.