Influencer Marketing and How to Make it Your New PR Best Friend
By: Samantha Elliott
You noticed last week that your childhood best friend’s hair has been looking so sleek and healthy lately in her Instagram post. Your own hair has been feeling pretty dull and frail so you reach out and ask her what magic shampoo she’s been using and where on earth you can find it. She recommends you a new shampoo line and a coconut oil hair mask to put on once a week and thank goodness, all the products were at Target and under 10 dollars! You trust your old best friend’s word and you’ve SEEN her hair looking visibly better, and thus you’ve been influenced to try the same products as her. This is the entire premise that influencer marketing operates and capitalizes on.
If your business or company is considering moving into any kind of influencer marketing, there are three ingredients to a successful influencer interaction to keep in mind.
TRUST. Trust should be first and foremost in your search when considering which influencers to work with. If your influencer was the bad guy on this season of the Bachelor and made a persona from being a liar, the people following them probably won’t trust anything they have to say about your product. If you are marketing a new line of ethically sewn tank tops, you will want to do some research into influencers who have already started the conversation about ethical clothing practices or caring for the environment. Their audience most likely trusts them and what they have to say about products. This is critical, because you don’t want to market a product that doesn’t resonate with the influencers online following.
CLOUT. Obviously, you need to take into consideration the size of your influencers following. Some questions to ask yourself are: Will the current number of followers on this account help my company reach our interaction goals? Is this influencer someone who is growing more followers, or losing followers as time goes on? Often, with the rise of reality TV shows, someone who sees one month of screen time will gain hundreds of thousands of followers during that month. But as time goes on, if the influencer isn’t engaging with their audience, referencing the original thing that brought them fame, or just doesn’t have an aesthetic feel to their Instagram, they will lose followers. If you want to create a new relationship with an influencer, think about whether they are already glowing, or if they have places that they need to grow.
INTERACTIONS. Interaction arguably is the most important of the three ingredient recipe to a successful influencer marketing relationship. Interactions can be a number of items on a social media platform: comments, likes, sliding-up on a story, reposting, etc. One influencer that I have personally followed for a long time on Instagram is Indy Blue (@indyblue) and she has nailed the interaction piece of her Instagram strategy. She asks questions on her story every single day, and she will re-post tons and tons of people’s responses. This means she is listening, and that makes people want to engage. If an influencer seems like an omniscient, floating aura that is untouchable from an Instagram comment, the likelihood of people finding value in trying to interact with them on social media is low.
So what this means for you if you are scouring the internet for an influencer to rep your brand, is to read the comments on their photos and watch their Instagram stories. Are they speaking back to their followers? Does their Instagram model follow a two-way communication idea?
Influencer marketing is a powerhouse tool of today’s PR, advertising and business successes. Whether an influencer mentions a product on their podcast or wears a brand in a TikTok video, the circulation that can be generated by users clicking, commenting and sharing content is stronger than most outdated marketing plans. Whether it’s feta pasta going viral overnight and completely wiping the entire country of Norway’s feta stock or that darn red swimsuit that broke Instagram back in 2014, people are looking to social media to find the next best thing. Use influencer marketing to be a part of this conversation, and you might just set off the next viral trend.