Influencer relations

For the purpose of this blog, we’re going to assume (we know, we know) that you understand what an influencer is. You might not yet believe or appreciate how important they can be for your brand but that’s something we’re here to persuade you of. To influence you, you might say. As well as giving you the lowdown on how to get the most out of these partnerships.

Why bother in the first place?

Great question! The short and slightly uncomfortable answer is that unless you’re planning on going the same way as the dinosaurs, your PR strategy needs to be multi-faceted and suitable for a modern audience. And that means utilising social media. Sorry.

Thinking about it in a little more detail, this means making sure you are giving your brand the best possible chance of being seen by your potential customers, and even franchisees. You need to be where they are – the platform of their choice – at a time that is convenient to them, with authentic content and messaging. Offering a way to connect that feels genuine, relevant and not sales driven. And now we get into it, because it’s nigh on impossible to achieve all of that from your brand platform alone. You don’t have the connections, or the influence. But there are people who do.

What makes a good influencer?

You can be forgiven for thinking that a big follower number equals a good influencer. And it can, of course. But it’s not the number one thing you should be looking for when selecting a suitable partner. In the world of influencer relations, engagement is king. Your research should take into account how many likes and comments posts and reels are receiving, and how that stacks up as a percentage of overall following. Low levels of engagement are a sign that followers are mindlessly scrolling, and that the content isn’t resonating enough for them to take any form of action. Avoid.

But even great engagement doesn’t guarantee a good match. As with any publicity outlet, you need to check that the content being put out aligns with your company’s vision, mission and values. Mixed messaging and contradictions in ethics are damaging to both parties. Thankfully, it’s not hard to do your due diligence but the key is to actually read, listen and watch pre-existing content to satisfy yourself that this person would be a great ambassador for your brand.

Obviously, it goes without saying that the genre of any account and their most-likely audience needs to support your goals. And that the influencer in question doesn’t have a feed scattered with your competitors. But now we’ve said it.

Partnership not dictatorship

Having selected the best-fit influencer, it’s time to think about how to work together. Together. That’s an important word. Many brands make the terrible mistake of approaching influencer relations as though they have all the power. When in actual fact, it’s far more weighted in the opposite direction. An influencer has something you need – a well-engaged community of your ideal prospects. And as such, it’s vital to approach working together as a partnership.

Content creators work extremely hard on their accounts and should be offered the same level of respect as any other creative professional. Good communication, setting of expectations and fair remuneration will support a long-term relationship of mutual benefit.

A few essentials to help things run smoothly:

  • A contract with clearly defined and agreed terms and conditions
  • A thorough brief, with time built in for clarification and feedback
  • A swift approval process for signing off content
  • Regular touch points and check ins as the campaign dates approach
  • Engagement and activity reports at pre-agreed points/dates
  • Treating each other like human beings with thoughts and feelings.

Ultimately, a great influencer will care deeply about their audience and know them, their likes and dislikes, far better than any brand exec. So, work collaboratively with them to produce the best possible outcome. Listen to their ideas and offer them the opportunity to create something that they know will be as valuable as possible for your business.

Will you marry me?

Just checking you’re still here. But in all seriousness, it’s so worth putting time and effort into a relationship with a few great influencers. The age-old ‘Rule of 7’ (that prospects need to ‘hear’ your message at least seven times before they will engage) is still a pillar of PR and marketing. Counter intuitively, the fact that there are so many more platforms and outlets make this harder than ever to achieve.

Once upon a time, consumers and investors were a relatively captive audience. Franchisors had the luxury of knowing that a run of adverts in a particular magazine, or an interview on a specific regional radio show, would yield a strong ROI. But these days, audiences are splintered into the metaverse; tribes and communities co-exist, and old-school demographics are much less reliable. ‘Blink and you miss it’ news feeds and a revolving door of content means that your meticulously curated messaging could pass the average prospect by.

The solution isn’t simply to be in as many places as possible, as often as possible. It’s to be as targeted as possible, speaking to audiences with valuable, authentic and credible content. Direct from your brand, through trusted media and, as you’ve hopefully now come to realise, through influencers whose voices, as consumers, we actively choose to listen to.

If you’d like our help getting started or need some support to build momentum with your influencer relations, we’d love to help. Email or call 07921 572554. We regularly share PR advice and posts like this to help you make the most of your PR activity. To make sure you don’t miss out, follow us on social media: LinkedIn, Twitter or Instagram.

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