If you haven’t noticed, the media landscape could not be more volatile than it is today. From layoffs at several traditional media outlets, the decline of print, social media and fake news, it’s hard to say exactly how everything will shake out over the next few years. How are people, let alone brands, supposed to navigate the ever-changing media landscape across all the possible channels to reach their audiences?
While traditional outlets such as The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times will most likely always have their place in the media, it’s not the only place people are getting their news. More and more, people are turning to social media, particularly social media influencers, for news, reviews and opinions on the latest products and services.
So, how can you leverage social media influencers to promote your brand? We’ve rounded up best practices when looking to engage influencers for promotion.
Know Your Audience, Know Your Brand
What type of brand are you and what product or service are you trying to sell? Are you looking to target 18 -24 year old gamers, baby boomer tech enthusiasts, or teen fashionistas? Depending on your audience and brand category, you may want to consider prioritizing specific social media platforms. For example, Facebook users tends to skew older so if you want to target 30 – 45 year old people with families, that may be your best bet. If you want to reach more business-focused individuals, tapping a LinkedIn influencer could help tell your story.
While some influencers may promote a product or service they don’t believe in if the price is right, followers are usually quick to catch on and it can often hurt the reputation of the brand and influencer alike. Make sure to not just focus on the number of subscribers when looking for an influencer to partner with – the type of audience they attract is just as, if not more important for your brand.
When choosing an influencer and social media platform, what business goals are you trying to achieve? Do you want to drive clicks to your website, increase sales for your product or just increase overall awareness of your company? Sometimes a YouTube video review or sponsored video could drive more sales than a profile piece of your CEO in a respected publication. Many influencers will be open to using trackable URLs when linking back to your company, which can help you measure the true ROI – something that can be difficult to track when just relying on earned media placements alone
“Control” the Message
Since most influencers require some sort of compensation, brands will have a bit more say over the content created compared to traditional earned media. While I don’t advise trying to provide a word-for-word script for these influencers, most are willing to abide by some general guidelines around positioning and messaging while still giving them creative control to match their audience.
Consider Sponsored Content
Even if the content is sponsored by a brand, the influencer’s reputation is on the line and they take a risk when supporting a product they are promoting. Because of this, users tend to trust influencers a bit more as they often portray themselves as a person who appreciates honesty and transparency.
Sponsored content and influencer campaigns have grown rapidly over the past several years, and can be a strong component of your media relations strategy. They may not be appropriate for all products and brands, but if it does work, it can be a great way to create a steady cadence of brand visibility during slower times.
Whether it’s on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat or YouTube, thousands of influencers have turned their passions into their own voice and brand, with millions turning to them for their valuable insights and opinions. This is why these campaigns are valuable for promoting your brand to your target audience in a meaningful way.