How to Successfully Use Influencers in Your Next PR Campaign

Written by Claire Rosenwinkel, Trident Intern

Today, one cannot go on the internet without seeing influencers at the center of countless campaigns. Influencers are valuable for public relations campaigns and advertising, and they deliver results. Sixty percent of marketers shared that influencer-generated content performs better and drives more engagement compared to branded posts.Unfortunately, as the novelty wears off, habituation sets in, and an ad that might have once grabbed your attention becomes invisible – or, worse, annoying. The question becomes, how do you successfully utilize influencers in your next PR Campaign and avoid becoming another branded post for 30% of consumers to scroll by?

To make sure your campaigns are not overlooked, it is essential to first ask yourself if an influencer can contribute to reaching your goals. When you plan your next campaign, refer to these next points to ensure you are getting the best use of the influencer component of your PR campaign.

Authenticity is Key

Just as you would never pitch a reporter outside of their beat, you should not approach an influencer if they do not have a background in the subject at hand. An influencer with insufficient background knowledge will produce disingenuous and awkward content.

When looking into what influencer to use for a specific campaign, it is crucial to make sure they match the messaging of the campaign. This is a partnership between campaign and influencer, another core part of your messaging, which needs to be cohesive and seamless. The more authentic the collaboration, the more authentic the content, as they will be excited to showcase your campaign to their audiences.

One of the partnership goals with an influencer is to bring credibility to the campaign you are promoting. Consumers continue to trust the opinions of other consumers (either people they know, or consumer opinions posted online) more than paid advertising. Without ethos, the influencer’s branch of the campaign will be moot, allowing doubt and disinterest to creep into the minds of the consumer. The goal is to not have anyone question why they were chosen for the campaign.

Micro Influencers Run the World

Influencers, like PR agencies, are not one size fits all. Their followings can range between 10,000 and 1,000,000 plus followers. Contrary to what you may believe, some of the most successful influencer campaigns start in the middle of that range rather than at the top end. These influencers with between 10,000 and 100,000 followers are known as “micro influencers”.  Studies have shown that Micro-influencers on Instagram boost an average engagement rate of 3.86%. This declines for every level of influencer before hitting 1.21% for mega-influencers. Micro influencers are valuable because they have a following, but their platform is intimate enough the consumers can see themselves in that person, therefore see themselves also being interested in your campaign.

Another advantage of using a micro influencer is their affordability. Often, they will boost your campaign with accepting no monetary compensation; instead, they will accept products, free subscriptions, or merch from your company. This allows for the influencer piece of your campaign to be fully effective while also creating flexibility within a campaign budget for other areas.

Influencers are People too

Throughout the whole process of vetting, pitching, and collaborating with the influencer, they will want to add their personality into their final product, and you should let them! Again, this is a partnership, and it is not worthwhile for an influencer if they feel they have no creative say or voice in the process. Explain your goals with them and hear what they have as an idea to promote your campaign.

Influencers can be very helpful in PR campaigns, if utilized correctly, keeping in mind the importance of authenticity, outside reputation, utilizing micro influencers, and creative freedom within the process will lead to major success with your next PR campaigns. Remember, investing time early in the campaign process for heavily vetting influencers will allow smooth navigation around the potential pitfalls that come with influencer partnerships.