Influencer marketing

5 simple steps to incorporating influencers into your PR strategy

Influencer marketing expert Adrian Ma outlined how to incorporate social influencers into your earned media strategy in five simple steps in yesterday’s Cision webinar.

The Fanclub PR founder and MD joined Emily Barnes, account manager at Fanclub PR, and Philip Smith, Gorkana’s head of news and content, to discuss how businesses can harness the power of influencer marketing in their comms strategies.

“Use audience insights like a media planner,” Ma said. “Brief like an ad agency. Feedback like a digital magazine editor. Create terms like a lawyer – and, react like you’ve always done, just faster!”

To help you apply this five-step approach in your own PR and comms, here’s a breakdown of the key takeaways from the webinar.

Audience demographics are more important than reach

In today’s fragmented media environment, micro-influencers with loyal followings can be just as important as traditional publications.

“I witnessed this first hand through Susie Bubble,” explained Ma. “My wife is a fashion designer and she runs her own fashion label. I helped her launch the label, and we had a great launch.

“We got some coverage in Grazia and in Vogue. But it wasn’t until we got a piece of coverage on Susie Bubble’s blog that we really saw it take off.”

Ma stressed that when choosing influencers to work with, targeting is important. He said communicators should use data to ensure their influencer partnerships are helping them connect with the same audiences your other marketing channels are going for.

“Whatever you’re doing to reach customers, the influencers should be reaching the same customers,” he explained. “You’re using influencers as part of a mix to create as many different touch points with the same customer as possible.”

The Gorkana Media Database is the largest ever global media influencer database, and is now integrated into the Cision Comms Cloud, understand how you can harness our breadth of data to power your campaigns by requesting a demo.

Every business can benefit from influencer marketing

As the pool of social media influencers is expanding rapidly across a huge range of niches, Barnes and Ma agreed that today virtually any brand can benefit from influencer marketing, provided they collaborate with the right people in the right way.

Ma explained: “When people think about social media influencers they do tend to think about YouTubers. But actually, there are a load of technology, comedy and educational influencers that have much older audiences.”

“If you think about influencers in its broadest sense, we do a lot of work with technology companies in the B2B space,” he continued. “Influencers there tend to be analysts, so you have the Foresters and the Gartners of this world.”

Barnes added: “While there are definitely some industries which have become quite famous for influencers and influencer content, that pool of influence is growing much bigger. And with that, you’re getting influencers covering really niche topics.”

The influencer’s brief and negotiation are both essential

Barnes stressed the importance of creating a detailed brief for each influencer you commission. While the creative process should be led by them, it’s still important to provide guidelines and feedback to keep the project on track.

“When you list the content deliverables, this should include dates and perhaps a rough timeline,” she explained. “It’s really important to include how many rounds of feedback you require.”

It’s also important to consider campaign period and ownership, said Barnes. The campaign period is how long the client owns the rights to the content – and the longer it is, the more an influencer will generally ask for.

She concluded: “When negotiating a fee, there is no set or recognised process. Generally, influencers don’t have rate cards. They don’t have a set amount of costs. It’s more a case of outlining the deliverables and them coming back to you with a price.”

Performance should be measured using hard business metrics

With any earned media initiative, data is the key to measuring performance. But when measuring influencer marketing campaigns, Ma argued, you should be using it to calculate metrics like views and social engagement.

“Traditional PR metrics just don’t cut it when it comes to influencer marketing,” he explained. “We definitely need to take inspiration from digital marketing here if we’re going to align the work that we do with our clients’ goals.”

The specific metrics you use should be determined by the objectives of your campaign, continued Barnes. Whether you’re sharing a key message, increasing brand awareness or driving sales – the right data can help you maximise the impact of your campaigns.

“Depending on the objectives of your campaign, some other useful metrics you can use include tracking links,” she added. “That’s a really hard metric to just say, ‘Look, this amount of people have seen this, clicked on that link and gone to the page.’”

The Cision Comms Cloud’s integration with marketing platforms including Google Analytics lets you measure your campaigns using hard business metrics. Find out more about the technology and request a demo now.

Watch the webinar in full:

  • Pictured: Popular YouTubers Joe Sugg (left) and Caspar Lee
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