Companies and brands are discovering a PR secret: working with influencers is cost-effective and delivers excellent ROI. A recent Tomoson study shows that businesses are making $6.50 for every $1 spent on influencer marketing and that influencer marketing is the fastest-growing online customer-acquisition channel, outpacing organic search and email marketing. And more than half (51%) of marketers believe they acquire better customers through influencer marketing.
Influence is a Core PR Strategy
This strategy has been a part of PR since the advent of mass media. It was first thought that the media alone would be influence enough. Just putting out a message in the mass medium – newspaper, radio or TV – would be enough to influence the readers or viewers. But PR folk soon realized that this was not the case. In any group of people there are leaders and followers.
Remember high school? All those different groups with specific interests: there were jocks, cool kids, smart kids and nerds. And in each of those groups you had the leaders and the followers. Think Grease, if you will. Danny and the Pink Ladies changed the way Sandy dressed and behaved. They definitely influenced her.
There is always someone who is clued-in, has the latest info and is on the cutting edge of that group. And the others listen to and trust that person’s opinion. That’s why they were originally called opinion leaders.
Digital PR Opens the Door to Influencers
The digital world has brought many more of these opinion leaders to light. The ease of publication has opened the door for them, but they are still in the minority. They’re the content creators with a point of view and something to say. Whether they’re young and posting videos on YouTube, or serious business bloggers, they attract an audience. A large part of Digital PR is about finding and working with these content creators with a relevant audience to discover who has real influence.
What is Influence?
By definition it means to cause change or action in another person or thing. Say you plan to go to the beach on Sunday, but when you wake up there is a cold wind blowing so you dress warmly and stay home. The weather influenced your behavior and your choices.
When someone has a following they have reach and a potential for influence. It doesn’t mean that they’ll have influence on every topic or cause. Or that they’re the right influencer for your brand or campaign. If they can cause members of their audience to take an action, or think in a certain way, or support a cause, they have influence. So you really only know whether someone has influence that’s right for your brand once you start to work with them.
The Biggest Challenge in Influencer Marketing
Marketers say that their biggest challenge is finding the right influencers to work with. And I quite understand that.It does take skill.
There are several tools available now to identify people with reach and engagement on a certain topic. But you need to start with a list of people based on topic, reach and engagement. Then track results of every interaction or piece of content shared, so you can see who actually moves the needle.
These are some of the Digital PR skills needed today. Check out the 15 Digital Skills email course.
Master these skills – or find someone who already has them to help you – and join the ranks of marketers reaping the benefits of influencer marketing.
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