Four Keys To Successful Influencer Relations
There was a time when the main goal for a PR agency was to get the client some media coverage, but those days are long gone. Media industry consolidation and layoffs mean there are fewer journalists covering wider beats and earned media coverage, while still highly coveted, can no longer be the main PR objective for companies and brands. Enter the new online influencer: ‘someone just like you’.
For companies and brands looking to build relationships with online influencers, here are a few tips:
- Do your research
It’s important to work only with influencers whose values and beliefs align with the brand. Misalignment can really backfire. Earlier this year, Maker Studio, owned by Disney, found itself partnering with YouTuber, PewDiePie who, it turned out, had published some anti-Semitic jokes. Disney ended the relationship only after a report in The Wall Street Journal exposed the offending videos, which at that point already had more than six million views.
- Be authentic
Influencers build trust among their followers by being authentic. They are open about their opinions and beliefs and invite followers to join the discussion. A poor brand alliance risks having followers question the partnership. Mercedes recently partnered with Instagram’s famous Loki the Wolfdog for a two-minute video. The story had Loki’s owner driving a Mercedes into the mountains for a snowboarding and running adventure. Though Loki’s followers love watching his adventures, they questioned why someone would let a wet and dirty dog in the luxury car. Some commented that “there is no genuine connection between the story, the influencer and the brand”, stating “it could be any car”.
- Understand performance metrics
Reach is a numbers game that doesn’t measure engagement or impact—two of the most important metrics in influencer relations. In fact, some of the most influential people on social media don’t have millions of followers, but instead have a tight-knit, loyal community built on trust and shared opinions. GiGi New York, a handbag company, has successfully partnered with ‘micro-influencers’, because smaller blogs’ followings are often highly engaged. GiGi New York’s previous partnerships with celebrity influencers just didn’t have the desired impact because their followers where not loyal nor engaged.
- Be entertaining
Snickers recently partnered with three Twitch influencers (live streaming video gamers) to bring its slogan “you’re not you when you’re hungry” to life. Similar to the storylines of brand’s TV commercials, which feature Hollywood celebrities, this initiative saw the Twitch influencers start to make mistakes in their game play and their appearances gradually changed until they were totally replaced by alter egos. Followers, familiar with Snickers TV commercials, enjoyed seeing their favourite game players transformed into hippies, grandmas and bikers. They fully embraced the experience, because it was relevant and entertaining.
PR agencies aren’t just for media relations. Influencers come in many guises and communications professionals are experts in finding the right ones and devising partnering strategies that work. Click here to find out how Thornley Fallis can help.