Influencer relations is a critical component across the integrated marketing landscape as we as PR professionals work to develop key core relationships with brand advocates for our clients. As digital technology continues to evolve, beginning conversations with prominent social names is more essential than ever before. By creating these dialogues, we not only instill credibility and advocacy for our clients’ brands, but also drive increased traffic to their sites – contributing directly back to their ROI.
As PR pros, we are experts at creating long-lasting relationships with media personnel. Every day we work to create connections that translate into key client media placements. But we cannot overlook the fact that media personnel are not the sole critical players in the conversation. As we see millennials and Gen X’ers gaining momentum in the workplace, creating these same conversations over social media is no longer simply a “nice to have” but a “need to have,” as these are the platforms now drawing the majority’s attention.
Think about it this way: You’re in the market for a new car. You go to the dealership and the salesperson explains all of the pros to purchasing a certain model – lining up historical statistics, brand comparisons and customer testimonials. As you learn more about it, however, you still yearn for that direct opinion from a trusted advisor – a friend, family member, neighbor – you name it. This process rings true for the media landscape. Developing relationships with trusted social “gurus” who speak directly to the brand itself across their social feeds – from sharing product updates to highlighting business momentum – is key to projecting your client’s voice to an expanded audience who you may have otherwise missed out on from a specific publication feature.
Social influencers have the power to present your client to their breadth of followers, who then have the opportunity to share across their own networks – truly expanding the entire conversation. This process, in turn, gives clients a leg up in the media atmosphere. By increasing brand presence and starting the conversation amongst audiences specifically interested in the brand’s industry, future highlights in the media can advance the conversation, rather than simply acting as a brand introduction.
As integrated marketing and PR professionals, we must identify core groups of social influencers for our client industries, and start the conversation. Crafting these brand advocate relationships provides the opportunity to highlight client’s core value propositions and position them as thought leaders in their respective landscape with highly interested and persuasive audiences.
Looking for social media influencers to follow? Check out some of our top picks: