Benefits of Leveraging Influencer Relations in Your Social Media Strategy

I’m guilty. I follow a ton of influencers. I read their microblog captions, like their photos and videos, and check out the products they promote. I’ve even purchased a product, or three, after seeing my favorite influencers post about them. Instagram reached over 1 billion active users nearly a year ago, and it’s already recognized as the fastest growing social network of 2019. So, it’s no surprise that nearly a third of my newsfeed is influencer-related content.

Influencers aren’t a new concept, though. Back in 1931, Coca-Cola launched one of the first “influencer” campaigns, getting Santa himself to represent the refreshing taste of Coke. Over the years many other brands leveraged celebrity endorsements, but marketers soon realized that leveraging even the most popular names in Hollywood did not correlate to engagement.

Instead, consumers became more reliant on peer-to-peer reviews (thanks, Amazon), and non-celebrities proved they could bring home the bacon drive conversions. Now we’re living in a world ruled by influencers, and brands both large and small are seeing results from leveraging these types of relationships.

Below is a breakdown of the benefits your brand receives when leveraging influencer relations successfully in your social media strategy.

Reaching a larger audience.

One of the biggest benefits of working with social influencers is the opportunity to reach a larger audience with your message. This works especially well if you do your due diligence in making sure the influencer’s followers match that of your target audience. As increasing brand awareness is often one of the main goals for brands, the opportunity to reach users in a more organic way is valuable.

Street cred.

Not only do influencers provide a wider audience for targeted messaging, but they lend additional credibility to your brand. Users recognize influencers as experts in their field, whether it’s beauty, travel, tech or anything in between, so if they’re repping your brand it’s more likely the message will be well-received.

In fact, in a survey by Fullscreen, consumers aged 18-24 are more likely to trust influencer posts (54.8%) than consumers aged 25-34 are (36.5%). However, this older demographic is more likely to trust what an influencer says about a brand (44.3%) than what a brand says about itself (20.8%).

Influencers are storytellers.
Scratch that. Good influencers are storytellers. And by blending your brand’s messaging seamlessly into the influencer’s story, your business will be seen as more authentic. Rather than talking AT your audience, use influencer marketing to start a conversation about your brand and talk WITH them.

Higher earned media value.

So now you’ve reached a larger audience and your brand has gained additional credibility. What about the effect these relationships have on your company’s bottom line?

According to the 2019 Influencer Marketing Report, “businesses who understand influencer marketing gain impressive returns, up to $18 in earned media value for every dollar they spend on influencer marketing. Even average firms achieve impressive results, with an average earned media value of $5.20 per dollar they spend on influencer marketing.”

It’s one thing to follow influencers and consume the content they share. But working directly with influencers on a regular basis to create engaging content for your brand is an entirely different beast. Before getting started, make sure you know what story you’re trying to tell, then outline your goals, KPI’s and expectations of deliverables from the partnership.

Interested in adding influencer relations into your social media strategy? Contact Lauryn Gray at lauryn@dittoepr.com and set up a consultation today!


Dittoe PR Takes On Swell of New Wisconsin Clients

2019 has gotten off to a great start for Dittoe PR, as we recently added two new clients to our roster – and they both happen to be based in Beloit, Wisconsin! In January, we kicked off partnerships with Geronimo Hospitality Group, the hospitality team behind award-winning boutique hotels, restaurants and clubs in Wisconsin and Indianapolis, and Beloit College, a private liberal arts college and the oldest continuously-operated college in the state of Wisconsin.

While we will be developing and executing very different PR strategies for these two clients, our mission is the same: to proactively shape narratives that influence behavior and invoke change.

Geronimo Hospitality Group
Geronimo Hospitality Group owns and operates seven restaurants, four hotels, two golf facilities, two fitness centers and one event center. The properties are located in Beloit, Delafield and Janesville in Wisconsin and Indianapolis.

We first began working with the Geronimo team in April 2017, tasked with promoting and securing media coverage surrounding the grand opening of Ironworks Hotel Indy. Our partnership has lasted long beyond the hotel’s grand opening, and our team has since worked on a variety of projects to keep Ironworks Hotel in the news consistently, including media relations, content creation, social media operation, event planning and more. Ironworks Hotel has been covered at the national, trade, local and regional levels through our various media relations efforts, which include events, retail tenant updates, seasonal happenings at the hotel and much more. We also oversee all social influencer relations for the hotel, working with local and regional influencers to help promote the hotel and its unique amenities.

In the last year and a half, we have worked to develop strong personal relationships with both the Geronimo Hospitality Group team and Ironworks Hotel Indy staff, which has enabled us to secure consistent, ongoing and impactful media coverage for the hotel in outlets such as the Indianapolis Business Journal, Indianapolis Star, USA Today, Condé Nast Traveler, Hotel Business and many others.

Going forward, Dittoe PR will manage public relations for all 16 of Geronimo’s properties, including their boutique hotels and restaurants throughout Wisconsin. A few of the Beloit establishments we are focusing on in Q1 include Hotel Goodwin, Velvet Buffalo, truk’t and Ironworks Golf Lab. Our team will also continue to oversee media relations efforts as needed for Ironworks Hotel Indy.

Dittoe PR’s top priorities for Geronimo Hospitality Group will be to generate media and social influencer coverage that leads to increased exposure and brand awareness of its properties so the local community and residents in regional cities and neighboring states keep Geronimo’s hotels, restaurants and clubs at top of mind for lodging and dining options.

The Geronimo team is made up of extremely talented, creative and hardworking individuals and we are proud and excited to grow our partnership with them in 2019.

Beloit College
Since its founding in 1846, Beloit College has been committed to providing students with a cutting-edge curriculum and has shown a continued dedication to innovative and experimental curriculum practices. In fact, Beloit College is often cited as a “Best Value” in higher education, and was ranked No. 19 on U.S. World & Report’s list of “Most Innovative Schools.”

As an institution, Beloit College prides itself on meeting students where they are and imagining futures for them that they may not have yet considered. The college offers students a multidimensional approach to higher education that focuses on personal, academic and professional growth.

Media relations and thought leadership will be the heart of our PR strategy for Beloit College. We want to generate consistent local, trade and national media coverage for Beloit College to increase awareness of the school, its unique experiences and world-class educators, and the benefits of a liberal arts education.

Our team is beyond thrilled to lead media relations, influencer relations and thought leadership efforts for Geronimo Hospitality Group and Beloit College. Think your business or organization could benefit from public relations? Or interested in hearing more about our full list of services? Contact Lauryn Gray at lauryn@dittoepr.com today.

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.