Influencer PR: 3 tips to ensure success in social engagement & brand sentiment

by | Apr 30, 2021 | Analysis, Public Relations

Could Influencer PR be the key to your brand’s success?

In the digital age, social media and PR mesh together perfectly. Both solutions help to spread the word about your brand and develop a positive reputation. The connection is so close that many people count social media marketing as a form of PR.

Influencer marketing is one particularly valuable form of social media PR worth looking into. Traditional PR places your message into the hands of reputable publications and forums, helping to establish your credibility. Influencer PR allows you to connect with your customers on a more informal range of channels through people they already trust.

Here’s what you need to know when building your strategy for influencer marketing and PR:

Influencer marketing and public relations: the connection

Marketing a company successfully in today’s competitive landscape isn’t as simple as it once was. There are thousands of organizations online today, all competing for the same audience’s attention. To actually achieve results, many companies are beginning to rely more heavily on a multi-faceted approach.

Public relations is a strategic strategy for communications that focuses on building mutually beneficial connections with organizations and their audience. PR helps to strengthen a brand’s reputation by giving that company a voice on the correct media outlets.

Influencer marketing is a social media strategy that involves getting endorsements from people your customers trust. Influencer marketing is successful because it places your brand in alignment with people that your customers consider to be both authentic and trustworthy.

How are influencer marketing and PR connected?

PR strategies involve using authoritative companies and platforms as a soapbox for your brand’s message. You can work with a dedicated PR company to find the newsrooms, media environments, and forums that are most likely to speak to your target audience.

The fundamental idea behind PR is to generate credible word of mouth. While anyone talking positively about your company can improve your status with your target audience, the impact is greater with some entities. For instance, it means more when a well-known company like Forbes describes your SaaS company as a “ground-breaking solution” than it does when one of your friends on social media says the same time.

Influencer marketing is very similar to traditional PR. Once again, this process involves finding authoritative figures who can help share your message to a wider audience. However, while traditional PR used to focus on publications and newsletters, influencer marketing is situated in the social media space.

Through Influencer PR, you use the same brand-building techniques to positively influence sentiment towards your brand. You can even work with a variety of different influencers to improve your chances of success.

How are PR and influencer marketing different?

PR has endless potential, particularly in a world where there are countless publications willing to showcase your brand. Publish the right story, and it could even go viral, earning even more attention. However, there’s a downside too.

In PR, media outlets control everything that gets released, so there’s no guarantee you’re going to get the right placement at the right time.

With influencer marketing, you pay to get the results you want. You can choose to work with a larger influencer if you know they’re going to have a positive impact on your company, or you can work with multiple smaller (micro-influencers) at the same time.

Influencer marketing is also better suited for creating social engagement. While people can “comment” on PR posts, influencer marketing strategies actively encourage interactions from your target audience through likes, shares, and mentions, which spread brand reach.

How to ensure success in social engagement and brand sentiment

Adding Influencer PR to your brand reputation strategy is an excellent idea.

A PR campaign should give you many different ways to reach out to your audience through the power of word of mouth. While you can use traditional publications and media outlets to demonstrate your expertise and credibility, your influencer strategy can begin to build an emotional connection.

Influencer PR is perfectly positioned to drive positive brand sentiment in social engagement.

Customers already have an emotional link to certain influencers in your space. If you work with the correct influencers to increase your brand reach, that emotional connection transfers to you. It’s the same effect as having a celebrity endorse a product in an ad, but much cheaper.

The key to getting the most out of your Influencer PR campaign is in understanding how to use your influencer connections to your advantage, and how to choose the correct influencers.

Let’s start by looking at how you can use influencer marketing to get the word out about your brand.

1. Using influencer PR for brand reach

Influencer marketing is the perfect tool for building brand awareness and reach.

One of the biggest challenges that most companies have in today’s digital world is connecting with their audience. SEO and PPC campaigns can help your customers find you on the search engines. On social media, you can pay for ads to reach out to the correct customers. However, few things have an impact quite like influencer marketing.

Influencers share your content and brand with their existing audience on social media. If you’ve done your research, that audience should be the same target market you’re trying to connect with. Once your influencer gives your brand that all-important “shout out,” their customers can also further expand your reach.

Sponsored content from an influencer is a fantastic way to get instant recognition for your company or product. The right influencer gives your company a seal of approval that makes clients more likely to trust you.

Influencer PR: 3 tips to ensure success in social engagement & brand sentiment

Sony Mobile in France created the account @SonyXperiaFR to help promote their new product, the Sony Xperia Z5, with the most powerful camera the company had ever released. Sony took highly detailed zoomed-in photos with the phone, and cut them into smaller shots, then created more Instagram accounts, where people could find “hidden surprises.”

To expand on the impact of the campaign, Sony worked with 30 influencers to spread the photos as part of a competition where people could zoom in on photos to find secret codes. It was a huge campaign, earning the company 17 million potential contacts!

2. Using influencer PR for social engagement

As mentioned above, perhaps one of the biggest benefits of Influencer PR is its ability to earn engagement from your target audience. Many of the most effective influencer marketing campaigns are based on encouraging activity from customers.

After all, when you’re building a reputation for your brand, you don’t just want people to “know” your company, you also want them to have an emotional connection to it. Influencer marketing is perfect for creating these meaningful moments of interaction that make advertising feel more natural.

Competitions and giveaways are some of the biggest components of Influencer PR. They’re excellent for engaging a target audience and getting people excited about a new brand. Influencers can encourage customers to engage with your brand through:

  • Liking a post
  • Commenting on a post
  • Sharing the content with friends
  • Responding with a hashtag and photo
  • @Mentioning customers

All of these activities improve your engagement levels, while also giving your brand reach a boost, too. You don’t even need to promise anything big. An influencer competition could simply involve telling customers they have a chance to be “featured” somewhere.

For instance, multinational travel company TUI wanted to gain more brand reach with their “Discover Your Smile” campaign; thirty-four influencers worked in the campaign to post two or three pictures from holidays that made them smile.

Influencer PR: 3 tips to ensure success in social engagement & brand sentiment

The influencers involved encouraged followers to share their own holiday pictures and reminisce about happy moments. The TUI account gained more than 3,800 followers in a month as a result. On top of that, more than 5,540 customers on Instagram submitted pictures suitable for a user-generated content campaign.

Not only did this campaign help to expand brand reach for TUI, but it also got people excited about the brand, without relying on traditional advertising campaigns. By selecting highly focused influencer groups, the company was able to increase its access to new potential travelers.

3. Using influencer PR to improve social media sentiment

Influencers aren’t just a great tool for getting your voice out there as a growing brand. The right influencer can also help to improve the way your customers react to your company. As mentioned above, working with an influencer allows you to tap into some of the sentiment that their audience already has towards them.

Influencers help companies connect with their target audience, by giving them a more personal image. This is particularly true when you choose to work with an influencer that already has a huge impact on their audience.

When Uber Eats, Hinge, and Chipotle wanted to improve their relationship with younger customers, they partnered with Rebel Wilson, a well-known celebrity and influencer.

To make the campaign even more attractive, the brands offered 10 people who ordered from an exclusive menu a chance to win dating advice from Rebel Wilson, too.

Influencer PR: 3 tips to ensure success in social engagement & brand sentiment

Rebel stood out as the perfect influencer for reaching a young adult audience, thanks to her relatable and authentic nature. The campaign was a massive success and an insight into how the right connections can really make a difference to your brand’s reputation.

You don’t necessarily need a huge celebrity to reap the rewards associated with social media sentiment, either. Many companies have found that building campaigns with micro-influencers has a great effect, too. Usually, the more relatable and human the influencer is, the better the outcome should be for your brand.

How to identify the right influencers

Learning how to use your Influencer PR strategy effectively is a crucial step in developing your brand’s image. However, the strategies above will only work if you choose the correct influencers to work with in the first place.

To ensure you’re targeting the right influencers, start with the 3 R’s of influence:

  • Relevance: Make sure your chosen influencer is relevant to your business, industry, and target market. They need to have a connection with the audience you want to reach.
  • Reach: Reach is the number of people you can connect with through your influencer. The bigger the reach, the more you’re likely to grow.
  • Resonance: This is the level of engagement an influencer can create, and link back to your brand. Resonance is important for creating positive sentiment.

With those three concepts in mind, the easiest way to find your influencers is to use the right platform. There are tools that can help you search TikTok users. You can search on these platforms for influencers while focusing on things like number of followers, or what kind of industry the influencer is connected to. This makes it much easier to find someone who should work for your brand.

Some of the other ways to find influencers for your campaigns include:

  • Checking trending hashtags: Checking hashtags that are trending on sites like Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok should bring you face-to-face with popular content made by influencers. Focus on the tags that are most connected to your brand and company.
  • Visit the “Explore” section: Instagram has an Explore section where you can find popular content, as well as interesting people that you might want to follow. There are similar options on most social media platforms, making it easier to find new people who might be relevant to you.
  • Check the competition: Look at your competition’s social media pages and find out what kind of influencers they’re collaborating with. This should help you to find professionals who are also relevant to you.
  • Search on Google: Looking on Google for blogs from market leaders can sometimes help you to track down influencers, too. You can even visit other social media networks like Twitter to see who’s trending on different platforms.
  • See who your customers are following: Look at your customers and find out what kind of people they’re most likely to follow. You can also look for collaborators that your influencers regularly work with by checking their posts.

Make the most of influencer PR

Influencers are playing a crucial role in the development of brands all around the world. As the social landscape becomes increasingly important to buyer decisions, an influencer could be an excellent way to enhance your brand reputation.

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Rebekah Carter
Rebekah Carter is a dedicated marketing specialist and freelance writer, specializing in business development, marketing, and technology topics.

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