For decades, PR pros have mastered the art of building relationships with the media, and in recent years, we’ve extended this to include bloggers and other online conversationalists. Now, however, the industry is on the move once again; this time, we’re talking about ‘influencers’, those people who have the ear of the audience we want to reach.
Historically, brands have concentrated their social efforts on mass, i.e. quantity over quality. The inherent need to judge success against the number of new followers or fans has long been the backbone to most digital strategies. However, this is no longer sufficient.
Influencers need more than this; they are savvy and seek ‘genuine’ relationships with the brands they engage with. For businesses, this means focusing on the most relevant and far-reaching influencers, and targeting quality content towards them.
Assuming you’ve completed your research and identified the key influencers you want to interact with, the hard work now begins. As we’ve said, we’re quickly moving away from measuring figures, to measuring engagement. If your strategy is to fire out 40 tweets or images a day to your selected influencers, but not a single like, love, share or retweet is found, then stop and ask yourself, what’s the point? Analytics and measurement is key, and brands should look to deliver an engaged influencer audience, as opposed to simply looking at the number of fans or followers.
Think long-term, strategic partnerships when you consider influencing your influencers. Who will best represent your brand, and authentically seed your content out to the audience you want to reach? Once you’ve identified them, entice them with trust and a genuineness in order to develop a strong and reciprocal ambassador partnership.
Importantly, an influencer strategy should form part of any long-term PR and communications strategy, echoing the wider organisational objectives to deliver tangible ROI.