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The State of Influencer Engagement: Online Influencers Are Key to Increasing Brand Visibility—and PR Should Take the Lead

by | Jun 22, 2015 | Public Relations, Social Media

84% of Marcoms Professionals Use Influencer Engagement Strategies

The evolution of company PR outreach to online influencers such as bloggers, social media users, online journalists and other experts is showing many signs of maturity—in fact, this growing influencer engagement trend has been reaffirmed for the current year: According to new research from software provider Augure, 84% of marketing and communications professionals surveyed say they use influencer engagement in their campaigns—an increase of 24% compared to 2014.

Furthermore, 81% of those surveyed considered influencer engagement to be effective or very effective for meeting their objectives, while 74% of those surveyed want to increase (33%) or maintain (41%) the budget allocated to influencer engagement activities.

Influencer Engagement: The Most Effective Brand Building Strategy

Influencer engagement is particularly effective for increasing brand visibility and equity—93% of communicators consider it effective or very effective for meeting this objective. The report includes surprising new objectives that are more centered on generating business such as lead generation (75% of those surveyed claim to have attained results through their influencer engagement strategy) as well as building customer loyalty (effective or very effective for 76% of those surveyed).

Other results related to the effectiveness of influencer engagement online:

  • Industries where influencer engagement is most effective are healthcare, fashion, cosmetics, energy, tourism, education and in non-profit associations.
  • Influencer engagement is plays a prominent role in SMEs, or small businesses with less than 50 employees, where 85% of those surveyed consider it to be effective or very effective.
  • Identifying the most relevant influencers for the brand strategy in question is considered the main challenge for 75% of those surveyed; getting influencers’ attention is a challenge for 69%; and having the right performance indicators to measure the effectiveness of campaigns is a challenge for 53% of the professionals surveyed.

Content is “King” in Influencer Engagement Strategies—and Twitter is the “Queen Bee” Platform for Launching Them

Content is once again considered the star when working with online opinion leaders. When asked which they considered the best scenario for working with influencers, 67% of marcoms pros mentioned content promotion. Content creation (co-writing blog posts, webinars, whitepapers, etc.) came in joint second place along with product launches for 59% of those surveyed.

Worth noting in this second annual report is the appearance of SEO as one of the most advantageous scenarios for working with influencers (for 23% of those surveyed).

In terms of platforms, Twitter (68%) is confirmed as the best channel for influencer engagement campaigns. Blogs take second place (54%), followed by Facebook (51%), although the latter takes first place in the U.S. Surprisingly, LinkedIn is down in sixth place, with 20% of professionals using it in their influencer engagement strategies.

To Pay or Not to Pay Influencers

Marketing and communications professionals who have carried out campaigns with online influencers defend once again this year (they did so in last year’s report) that monetary payment was not among the main motivations for influencers—55% of those surveyed consider that gaining visibility and reaching new audiences are what influencers seek; 45% believe influencers’ key motivation is to create quality content for their audience; monetary payment, meanwhile, takes fifth place (24%).

However, 31% of those surveyed say they always or frequently pay influencers they work with, this figure increases to 54% for Americans.

In terms of content, events are considered to be the best format for working with influencers for 70% of professionals; followed by guest blog posts (69%) and video content (44%). Press releases are relegated to last place with only 26% claiming to use them for influencer engagement.

Heads of PR Lead Influencer Engagement Strategies

While the current trend is for press relations and communications departments to fuse with digital and online marketing, according to 28% of those surveyed, the heads of PR should be in charge of influencer engagement at companies. Joint second place is taken by community managers and CEOs (according to 17% of those surveyed). The latter takes on this role particularly in small and medium-sized businesses.

Augure recently released this second report on the State of Influencer Engagement with the participation of over 600 communications and marketing professionals from the U.S. and Europe. Download the complete report here.

Source: MarketWired; edited by Richard Carufel

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Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 12 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richardc@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter

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