The rise of online shopping has seen a huge shift in the way that consumers seek information, meaning that traditional PR is not the only way to run a successful campaign.
Think about when you purchase something online, where do you go for further information? Rather than trusting what a company says about their own products, most of us look to reviews, social media and people whose opinions we trust for further details before we make a purchasing decision.
Word of mouth marketing – or influencer marketing – has become the marketing medium of the digital age. As an easy way to build trust in your brand and reach potential customers, it should be an essential part of your next PR campaign.
Figures from TheShelf.com
Research from TheShelf.com, a market place bringing together influencers and marketers, has revealed that 92% of consumers trust recommendations from other people – even someone they don’t know – over brand content, while 70% of consumers reported online customer reviews as the second most trusted source.
With consumers placing more and more trust in influencers and their blogs, over brands themselves, influencer marketing provides an effective way of amplifying your content and, as the above figures demonstrate, directly reaching potential customers.
For most people, if you mention the word influencer, a host of celebrities might spring to mind. However, an individual doesn’t have to have tens of thousands of followers on social media to be classed as an influencer or to become a brand ambassador.
Bloggers are trusted by audiences because they enjoy reading the content they produce and trust their opinions on the products they review, potentially giving them greater influence.
So where do you start with identifying suitable influencers?
Know your audience
The key to finding influencers lies with knowing who your audience is. Consider who buys your products and where they look to for further information on similar products. What type of bloggers do they look to for advice and information? These are influencers your audience already trusts, making them a useful resource for your campaign.
Who are your followers?
You might not have to go far to start identifying influencers. Examine your existing following on social media. Do you have any bloggers following you already? Using individuals who are already engaged with your brand is a quick win, as they already know who you are and what you do.
There are a wide range of blogger chats and related hashtags that bloggers use to share their content and communicate with the wider blogging community, from beauty to weddings, gardening to food. Research hashtags that your brand could be linked to examine influencers within your particular niche. Who is has a prominent voice within the community? Don’t just look at individuals who have the biggest following, consider how other interact with them and whether their content is something your brand could sit well within.
Once you have identified your influencers, you will need to start building relationships. Check back for part two of Introducing Influencer Marketing into your PR strategy for hints and tips on approaching influencers.