How to make influencer outreach work for your brand
Friends and family have always had an influence on our purchasing decisions. But as consumers spend more time online, word-of-mouth recommendations from digital influencers are playing their part in driving sales too. In order to develop successful PR and marketing campaigns, brands should now consider influencer outreach as part of their strategy.
Who are digital influencers?
Influencers are present in lots of interlinked places online. Some may have a weblog or ‘blog’, others may be video bloggers or ‘vloggers’ on YouTube, or specialise in a particular social media platform. Increasingly you’ll see digital influencers use all of these online tools to promote what they have to share with the world, be it about fashion, technology, food or parenting.
These bloggers, vloggers and social influencers can be celebrities from the worlds of TV, sport or film. However, influencers aren’t limited to the rich and famous. Many have come from obscurity and grown a large or dedicated niche following based on their guy/girl-next-door likability.
Why brands should work with bloggers, vloggers and influencers
Research by Twitter found that 40 per cent of its users have made a purchase based on an influencer’s tweet. That’s not far behind the 56 per cent of people who bought something because a friend recommended it.
The fact is people are more likely to trust a personal recommendation than they are advertising spin and influencers have got their followers’ ears. They do this by being authentic and speaking to their audience as an equal.
Why does this matter to brands? Essentially, there’s an influencer or group of influencers on the web who share your audience. Working with them could make them a trustworthy ambassador for your business and help you to reach your customers in a mutually beneficial way.
Five ways to work with digital influencers
If your interest has been piqued, your next steps are to research and connect with these bloggers, vloggers or social influencers. It’s important to make sure your audiences and values align. You also need to be clear about what you want to achieve, whether it’s to boost engagement with a social media campaign, generate reviews for a new product or create fresh content to share across your own communications channels.
Here are some of the ways that brands can work with digital influencers that might spark an idea for your own influencer outreach campaigns:
Send an influencer a product in the hope they will share it with their followers. But be aware that unless you’ve agreed how an item will be featured the influencer may or may not choose to use it. Do your research well and ensure your target influencer will love what you are gifting them.
Ask an influencer to review your product, service or experience on their blog, vlog or social media. Agree on the amount of coverage you expect in advance and have a budget set aside to compensate them for their time or out of pocket expenses.
3. Sponsored content
Ask the influencer to partner with you on a campaign to help share your key messages. This sponsored blog post, video or social media post is essentially an advertisement and should be disclosed as such. However, if you give the influencer the freedom to present your key message in the way that they know will resonate with their followers, it will come across much more naturally.
4. Brand ambassadors
Agree on a long-term partnership with an influencer where you gain some kind of exclusivity or commitment to regular coverage in exchange for a paid contract or valuable experience.
Offer a product, service or experience as a prize for an influencers’ followers to win.
Importantly, before you work with an influencer be clear in your own strategy what a successful relationship would result in for your brand. This is the best way to gauge whether your influencer outreach campaign has been a success and how you can adapt your approach in the future. It’s also important to familiarise yourself with the Advertising Standards Agency’s guidelines for influencers so as not to put yourself or the influencers you are working with on the wrong side of the law.
If you would like to find out more about working with bloggers, vloggers or social media influencers we have run successful influencer campaigns – give us a call or drop us an email to chat.