Tapping the power of influencers can be a PR agency‘s not-so-secret weapon. It’s also an indispensable tool of good marketing.
Whether it was your best friend in middle school talking up the new boy band or curiosity about the champagne Kim Kardashian, ahem, poured in her ubiquitous photo, there are definitely personalities who can affect decisions. (Although in the case of the Kardashian image, the answer is none, since no champagne wanted that notoriety).
Influential figures who have sway because of their real or perceived authority, knowledge, or position, are of strategic significance when launching or re-launching a product or service. The rules of outreach have changed over the years, but there are some nearly surefire ways to use the power of influence effectively. And not all influencers are celebrities.
Don’t overlook the ones you already have
The most efficient way to start to build a list of potential influencers is by looking at who already likes, follows and tweets about your brand. Examining each individual in your brand or business’s existing sphere of influence will unlock potential additional contacts with a likely chance of sharing some affinity with it. Often you can cement the relationship with special treatment, swag, or insider access.
Don’t be too exclusive to start
Gauge influencer strength by who becomes a passionate and authentic advocate, not just by one’s Klout score or other analytic. Just because someone has a large following or has achieved certain success with content -haring doesn’t guarantee that voice will be the best one for your brand.
Be in it for the long haul
Of course there is pressure to line up influencers quickly and get a campaign off the ground, but true advocacy builds over time. Ensure that your initiative has short-term and long-term goals to maximize the brand/influencer relationships.
Be prepared to invest
For a health technology interested in securing athlete and broadcast figures, we struck up a relationship early on with a respected TV personality who allowed us to use photos and quotes liberally – and gratis. But that was a rarity, and it was important to prepare the company leadership for the reality that most other media or sports personality relationships would come with more of a price tag. The key is to determine in advance how much you are willing to invest and how you will measure the return on that investment.
Let influencers truly influence
The best don’t have to be sold on your product or service. They’ve already organically gotten to know features and attributes and can speak from the heart (not a script) when advocating, so let them. Invite them to give opinions on brand extensions or other ideas on the drawing board that only the privileged few are privy to, and let them know how much they are valued.