Discover whether influencer engagement is a tactic you should be considering for your brand
More than half of the world's population is on social media which means the number of social media influencers is growing rapidly as well. But, does that make it a good enough reason to include influencer engagement in your PR campaign?
Allira Carroll from Tonic PR joins me to discuss the value influencers have, what you should consider before embarking on influencer engagement and why it's crucial to have goals and measurement in place.
“You should be applying the same principles of a media relations campaign to an influencer engagement campaign. Have a strategy in place, identify your goals, determine what your ROI looks like and evaluate the campaign once it's finished to understand which elements were successful and how can you can improve next time”
WHO IS CONSIDERED A SOCIAL MEDIA INFLUENCER?
Anyone with 'influence' in their network or community of followers. You could have two million followers or you could have 2,000. If your followers engage with your content, then you have influence over them.
Listen to the full episode on The PR Pod podcast for more insight on influencer engagement. You'll also find this episode on your fave podcast players, including Apple Podcasts and Spotify, just search "The PR Pod".
WHAT VALUE CAN AN INFLUENCER ADD TO A CAMPAIGN?
Build credibility. If an influencer with an engaged audience and authentic, relevant content is aligned with your brand, their followers are likely to take note and feel your brand/product is also credible through their endorsement
Awareness. It can be hard to get on the radar of your target audience if you're not doing PR or advertising so influencers are a great way to target your niche market
Content. As part of their engagement, influencers will be creating at least one post, potentially more, which you then get to use on your social media channels (crediting them of course). So, that's extra content for you
Sales. By endorsing a product, they can drive sales. Simple
WHAT SHOULD I THINK ABOUT BEFORE ENGAGING WITH INFLUENCERS?
Know who the target market/consumer is of your product/service/offering. Determine if they are on social media and if so, which platforms do they utilise the most? If they don't utilise social media much, it may not be worth your time and investment
Are there social media influencers out there who have an engaged audience, that are the right fit for my brand? If you're not sure whether they have an engaged audience, a simple way to check is to look at how many likes they've had for their last 10 posts. You can do this by hovering over their posts when you look at Instagram on your computer. Add the total number of likes from those 10 posts and divide by 10 to get the average number of likes per post. Divide that number by their total number of followers, and then multiply that by 100. That gives you their percentage of engagement. There's also a number of tools and programs out there that can do this for you but you generally have to pay for them. If that influencer has less than 1% engagement then they are not a good choice for you. It essentially means less than 1% of their followers actually engage with their content. And if they're not engaging, it means the content isn't very appealing. This can be misleading when you see someone who has 200,000 followers and 1% engagement, as that still equates to 2,000 likes on average per post. But likes doesn't equate to meeting your goals, necessarily.
Once you've identified relevant influencers do exist, look at their content. Are their aesthetics and photography of a same standard you'd like associated with your brand? And not just photos, look at their copy, their language and their grammar. Check their last 20 or so posts. How many of those were sponsored/partnership posts and how many were organic content from them? If they are a genuine brand advocate in your sector, then they'll be generating content that is unrelated to partnerships, so that helps build their credibility as being genuine and not 100% focused on partnerships.
Consider the ROI you want from influencer engagement. What goals are you trying to achieve? What does success look like to you from a partnership? How will you measure this success? If you don't know what success looks like, how will you know if that partnership has been worthwhile?
Review your own social media channels and website. If you're getting influencers to direct their followers to your channels, then you want to ensure those people who arrive at your Instagram or Facebook accounts for the first time are met with compelling content. Otherwise they'll leave and you won't see them again. So make sure you have a solid social media strategy in place and there's great content already up there. And it's the same for websites. If the influencer is directing their community to your website to purchase a product and your website is clunky and difficult to use, it's unlikely they will return. Ensure your assets are looking great before you think about influencer engagement. Here's some tips on creating a social media strategy.
HOW CAN YOU EVALUATE WHETHER AN INFLUENCER PARTNERSHIP WAS WORTHWHILE?
Regardless whether you are paying an influencer or providing a contra experience/product in return for a post, you need to put measurements in place prior to that engagement. And those measurements come back to your goals. Do you want to increase general brand awareness in a certain city? Do you want to drive sales for a new product? Once you know that, you can determine how you evaluate the success of the partnership. Here's some results you might want to consider:
Increase the followers of your social media account. By influencers creating content that incorporates your product or offering, you are increasing the awareness among the influencer's social media followers, which will hopefully drive them to like your social media account. This is easily trackable by identifying how many followers you had before you started the engagement and how many you had after. Just keep in mind, if you have multiple influencers posting at the same time, it will be difficult to track which of them has driven the likes. Perhaps look at having one influencer post per week, so you can compare them
Sales of a product. If you provide your influencers with an individual code - e.g KATIE2020 - which entitles their followers to a discount for a particular product, you can easily track which influencer drove the most sales. The ones that proved the most effective are good ones to partner with for longer term campaigns
Increase in website traffic. Give each influencer a tailored URL which they can include in their Insta bio. This allows you to track, via Google Analytics, which URLs have directed the most traffic to your website
Reach/impressions. I know it can look great to have 2,000 likes on an influencer's post that features your product, but the reality is, these are vanity measurements. Just because someone has liked that post, it doesn't mean they have then liked your social media account, or engaged with your brand beyond that one like. Sure, it does help with general brand awareness so if that's a focus then consider it as a metric
Need some extra guidance on managing your social media accounts? You might find some tips in this episode which are helpful - click here.