If you are as highly engaged in the world of all things “digital” as you should be, you will be aware of the ever-changing trends. Technology moves faster than a blink of an eye and the best thing you can do to stay ahead of the game is to evolve ahead of everyone else. With all the hype around digital influencers, how do you know if these influencers are going to be effective with your audience? Some may have fudged their follower numbers or created a fake or unqualified audience to fool brands into handing over free stuff in exchange for brand advocacy.
We are not named Sphere Public Relations just because we liked the sound of the name! Our philosophy is to expand our clients’ Sphere of Influence and to move them out of their comfort zone. Influencers, particularly the digital ones, are even more important today than they were in 2005 when we created our communications agency.
The good news is, good content still is good content, and a good message is still a good message. The only difference today is that the delivery mechanism has changed. Information is immediate and now the digital influencer has a prominent voice through social media. It used to be the case that old school radio stations, TV stations, newspapers and magazines were regarded as being the pinnacle and carried more leverage with clients, but nowadays, media is fractionalised to all forms of delivery.
Smart brands must understand all the tools available and how to use them efficiently and within their budget to deliver the highest impact. It’s also highly important to understand who all your influencers are. It’s even more important to know how to reach your influencers and then the next step is to understand; is how to influence them positively regarding your brand.
Let’s look at The Sphere of Influence to gain a better understanding of the influencer PR concept.
Different Types of Influencers
Your online influencers can be anyone, including an internet celebrity, an industry leader, or even one of your fans with a significant social media following. They include any of the following:
Activists are the kind of influencers who believe in your product. In other words, they will promote your product only if it fits their beliefs and principles. Partnering with them is a good idea as they will not endorse your product unless they genuinely like it.
Influencers who can create a healthy debate about your brand to get attention are called agitators. They are one of the best kinds of influencers to engage with your audience.
Analysts can make people understand the implications of buying and using your product or service. The different types of analysts include technical analysts, financial analysts and management analysts, among others.
Authorities are also experts on a specific topic. However, unlike experts, they have a less academic personality. They can speak the common man’s language. That’s why they may provide better engagement and reach compared to industry experts.
Celebrities are the most common type of influencers. They usually have a large fan following, which is why they are popular among brands. However, they are expensive!
People who can connect your brand with their followers are connectors. They bridge the gap between your brand and your target audience by creating links through content creation.
They are the influencers with in-depth knowledge of a subject or field. Usually, they have several publications such as books, research papers, and articles to their credit. In short, they are thought leaders in a industry.
As the title suggests, insiders are the people who can shed light on inside developments. They can be your employees who have a considerable following. However, they can also be authorities having extensive networking and connections with industries.
Journalists have the power to talk about new products and services from a newsworthy point of view. Usually, they won’t publish a story unless there is sufficient evidence to support the claim. As a result, their word carries a lot of weight.
When people leverage their personality, knowledge and career as a brand itself, they are said to have a “personal brand”. Their name is credible enough to gather a huge following. They are usually highly successful people such as motivational speakers, management consultants and writers. The term is overused these days though and people with not much of a following and little credibility claim to have a personal brand.
The Upshot for Brands
If well executed with a clear strategy developed in advance, influencer PR can generate impressive results. However, this communications technique is still relatively new and few really understand how to do it. The lack of clear-cut guidelines, rules and processes makes it difficult to harness the potential of influencer PR.
Don’t be concerned though, as you are not alone in trying to decode influencer PR. Let me put it simply to summarise; influencer PR involves collaborating with online influencers to increase the reach of your brand.