Tips for Successful Influencer Relations

Although it’s been around for decades in the form of celebrity endorsements, influencer relations is the latest craze in public relations and integrated marketing and is only going to continue to grow in relevancy. Rightfully so, too, because if done correctly, partnerships with influencers equate to a more personal approach to telling your brand story and thus generate brand loyally over time.

 

If you aren’t already incorporating influencer relations into your strategy, you are missing out on a huge opportunity. Working with an influencer can result in a number of things, including increased website traffic, social followers, new subscribers, brand recognition, and hopefully product or service sales.

 

First things first, though: Spend time identifying your goals and objectives for a social influencer campaign, as well as a clear understanding of your target audience. Once that is set, you can build your list of influencers – researching to find ones that align with your brand, have an engaging follower base, manage a presence across more than one platform, and showcase the ability to tell a story with each post. Influencers come in many forms – from celebrities to bloggers to creatives – so look far and wide to find those that are most likely to positively impact your brand and convert into engaging customers.

 

As PR pros, we have been bred to run successful media relations campaigns. We understand the research and creativity it takes to consistently secure our client’s a spot in the headlines. Whether earned or paid, successful influencer relations campaigns require just as much thought, strategy, and personalization.

 

There is not a hard-and-fast equation to follow when engaging with influencers. Instead, ensure that these relationships are specific to both the influencer and the brand you represent based on the desired target audience, deliverables, and outcome.

 

Here are a some of our top tips for your next social influencer campaign:

 

Lay out partnership expectations up front. Social influencer partnerships are often set up as an exchange of product and/or payment for social or blog content. Proposing a clear list of expectations – timeline, number of and type of posts, etc. – will set the partnership up for success from the very beginning.

 

Take the relationship beyond transactional. This rings true in media relations, too, and it’s just as important with social influencers. Treat them as professionals but don’t forget to be personable. Engage with them on their core channels and build a relationship before, during, and after the partnership.

 

Do your research. As previously mentioned, the personal brand of the influencer should align with the brand of the company you’re representing. Spend time reading their blog, scrolling their Instagram, or watching their videos to understand what content performs well for the influencer before proposing a partnership. Every relationship and partnership should be customized.

 

One post is not enough. Work with the influencer to build a partnership that extends beyond one post on one platform. Opportunities that engage with an influencer’s audience repeatedly are going to have a higher ROI by gradually creating better brand recognition and by extension brand loyalty. In other words, consider monthly partnerships with options to extend based on the success of the campaign.

 

Create a social media budget. These days, most social influencers require compensation, so be prepared to offer more than just a product exchange. Set aside a percentage of your marketing budget for influencer relations if it’s an important medium for your business. There is always room for negotiatian but be careful not to discredit an influencer’s work.

 

It’s not about the follower count anymore. Influencers worth working with should have an engaging and loyal audience. Also deemed as micro-influencers, those with fewer followers may have a higher ROI than those with tens of thousands of followers. Analyze how their followers engage with their content – such as comments and likes – and the type of content that performs best for their audience.

 

We’re no strangers to successful social influencer campaigns. Need assistance? Contact us for a consultation.

 

Changing for the better, Instagram goes corporate

Four new features on Instagram you need to know about (and six tips you should consider!)

 

With major changes hitting Facebook’s News Feed soon, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Facebook-owned Instagram is getting some snappy updates as well. Whereas the Facebook changes may have induced anxiety is some social media managers, these Instagram updates are more tactical in nature. By incorporating the following updates into your Instagram plan, you’ll start seeing positive results sooner rather than later.

 

Putting the “social” in social media

Instagram can give your followers an intimate look into your brand – whether that’s your life, your business, or your product. Naturally, this means you’ll want to build a strong relationship with your followers, and one of the best ways to escalate this connection is by engaging with social influencers.

Collaborating with social influencers is like a really good TV crossover episode. Arguably, “Grey’s Anatomy” had a little extra oomph during the “Private Practice” days, and “Arrow” improves every time Barry Allen speeds into town. This is the same sensation your followers will get when a social influencer pops up on your channel or some of your own insiders see their favorite Instagrammers using your products.

Start connecting with social influencers in your city and industry today. Checking out local blogs (like your local theCityMoms blog), or even just following hashtags (like #VisitIndy) could provide great insights into the people making a splash around town. (We’ll revisit following hashtags below.)

 

Make the switch

If you haven’t already, now is the time to switch your Instagram account from a personal account to a “Business Profile” to gain access to analytics, scheduling, and paid advertising options. Just like the tools you already use on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to see best times to post along with most successful content, the same is true through Instagram business profiles. Are you looking to promote posts or know who is looking at your content? Use demographics such as age range, gender, and cities to your advantage.

 

This is particularly important with the new algorithm Instagram is using. Instagram now gives priority to business profiles over personal profiles, plain and simple. Will your account show up more on the explore page? Yes. Will you be able to see if your posts are reaching more than just your current follower base? Yes. With so many advantages it’s negligent to not make the switch and start generating successful results for your brand.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Follow the leader

Since the creation of the hashtag, users have been able to search, piggyback, and explore others who use the same phrases on their photos and videos. This has been a great way to connect with like-minded influencers and brands while also building up your profile. Instagram’s new feature allows you to now follow hashtags so they show up in your timeline, even if you don’t follow the account that used the hashtag in its caption.

Instagram recognizes when business profiles follow hashtags and ranks them higher – increasing your likelihood of popping up on the explore page. These hashtags can be as simple as the name of your brand or cities or regions where your target audience resides. For example, as an Indianapolis Instagrammer, good hashtags to start following would be #DowntownIndy, #LoveIndy, or #VisitIndy, and for those on the sporty side, #GoColts and #GoPacers.

 

Spontaneity is king

If you’re not already using Instagram stories, now is the time to dive in. Instagram just launched new fonts and a searchable gif library to enhance every story, and Instagram supports live broadcasting, too. As we know from Facebook, live video where users can interact in real time with your account significantly increases your views. Instagram is the perfect medium to experiment with this.

If you prefer Snapchat over Instagram for your spontaneous content, it’s time to rethink that strategy. While Snapchat offers clever filters, Instagram has more than four times as many daily active users than Snapchat. With a larger audience pool and Instagram’s efforts to continuously launch new features, if you’re going to invest your time into one real-time story-sharing app, you should invest in Instagram.

 

Quick fixes

In addition to the top four updates above, here are six more tweaks you should start incorporating into your posts immediately:

  • Use no more than five hashtags per posted photo.
  • Include the hashtags in your caption, not as an additional comment.
  • Do not edit captions within 24 hours of posting – yes, even if you make a typo.
  • Tag accounts in the actual photo rather than using the account’s handle in a caption.
  • Use geo-locations for specific areas/restaurants/businesses – this is great for stories, too.
  • Respond to comments within an hour.
    • We know “response” can mean two different things on Instagram. Is it just a like? Or do you need to write a response to every comment? We’re still not clear on that just yet. It’s safe to say that you should acknowledge every comment. Some will be replies, some will be likes. The important thing is that you respond.

 

Want help navigating Instagram? Request a consultation with us today and find your way to social success!

Top PR Trends for 2018: Part 2

If you’re like most busy marketers or entrepreneurs, you barely have time to get through your own to-do list, let alone research and stay on top of the latest PR trends that can help your brand increase its visibility and attract more customers.

We’re here to help.

Today, we’re continuing our two-part series on the top PR trends for 2018. My colleague Megan Custodio shared some incredibly valuable insight on the continued rise of influencer marketing and the evolution of the press release in her blog post last week. This week, we’re diving into two other big PR trends shaping the industry this year: the role of media coverage in social media and the rise of thought leadership.

 

The role of media coverage in social media

Social media has not only changed the way we interact with our favorite brands, friends, family and celebrities. It’s also drastically changing the way we get our news.

 

More Americans than ever are getting their news from social media. According to a Pew Research Center study, two-thirds of Americans get their news on social media.

 

We are already primed to consume our news and stay informed through stories our friends share on Facebook. If you aren’t constantly sharing your media coverage on social media – and positioning it in a way that provides tremendous value to your audience – you’re missing out on a big opportunity.

 

You can no longer simply post your media coverage on the news section of your website and hope a potential customer reads it. You must take your media coverage where your audience is – social media.

 

One important fact to remember about social media is this: people don’t spend time on social media to be “sold to.” They want to be entertained, connect with others, as well as find and share interesting news, blog posts, videos and pictures. Sharing your media coverage on your social media platforms provides you with a perfect opportunity to provide interesting, valuable news with your audience.

 

However, you must position your media coverage in a specific way to get the right type of engagement from your audience. This is where many brands miss the mark.

 

As the old adage goes, everyone’s favorite radio station is WIIFM (What’s In It For Me). You must apply the WIIFM principle to everything you create for your audience, and a social media post sharing one of your pieces of media coverage is no exception.

 

Instead of publishing a Facebook post that simply says, “We are in The Wall Street Journal! Click the link to read the story,” analyze this piece of media coverage from the WIIFM standpoint of the customer. Ask yourself what interesting ideas or knowledge your customers can gain from this story that will make their lives and/or business better.

 

Then, find a way to pique the interest of your audience with attention-grabbing copy that tells them exactly what they’ll learn and how it will help them if they read this story. For example, “Struggling to reach enough talented people to hire and grow your business? Learn why text interviews can help you screen more job candidates in a shorter amount of time than traditional phone screening interviews. Discover what our CEO Aman Brar has to say about this topic in The Wall Street Journal and learn how Canvas is helping employers improve their interview process with the first enterprise-grade text-based interviewing platform.”

 

The rise of thought leadership

With smaller staff sizes struggling to produce enough content to satisfy the needs of their readers, media outlets are more open than ever to receiving contributed articles by outside subject matter experts.

 

And who are those outside subject matter experts, you ask? They are our clients – and experts like you.

 

Right now, there is an unprecedented opportunity for brands to position their team members as trusted thought leaders in their field through contributed byline articles that demonstrate their expertise. While it may sound counterintuitive, one of the best ways to attract new business is to stop talking about your business.

 

Instead, find ways to share your experience and knowledge of the industry through contributed byline articles. Whether it’s sharing best practices, trends, or other educational topics that provide value to a media outlet’s readers, you can establish yourself as a trusted, knowledgeable expert within the field. Becoming a published author in a media outlet your ideal customers read gives you instant visibility and credibility.

 

There’s a fine art to pitching and securing this type of thought leadership media coverage, and at Dittoe PR, we help our clients share their expertise, get in front of their ideal customers and establish themselves as valued thought leaders within their industries.

 

Are you ready to take your company’s media coverage and social media to the next level in 2018? If so, let’s discuss how we can be of service to you. Click here to schedule a call or meeting with us today.

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