Spotlight on Syracuse Student, Juwan Thompson: Syracuse University and PAN Communications continue to partner and support the growth of the PR industry. President and CEO of PAN Communications, Phil Nardone, has been an adjunct professor at the Newhouse School’s public relations department for more than 15 years. The PANportal is an ePortfolio program to support Syracuse students in preparing for their first PR job. Now, PAN is proud to feature the following Syracuse student guest blog post:
Effective influencer marketing can lead to big gains for a company. For example, businesses on average generate $6.50 for every $1 invested in influencer marketing. Consumers are more likely to go online to seek information about doctors, medical facilities, insurance providers, health products and beneficial programs first. This is also a result of patients becoming more comfortable posting reviews online and sharing their experiences with others who would also find it helpful. Why not create an influencer program that can amplify awareness of healthcare programs and products, influence patients’ health choices and create a more informed healthcare community?
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Influencer marketing utilizes key brand advocates to drive and amplify your brand’s message to a larger market, in an organic way. This form of communication can be much more effective to market to a specific audience, instead of traditional marketing to a large group hoping that they catch on. Seventy-one percent of consumers are more likely to make a purchase based on a social media reference.
A recent study found that identifying the right influencer to work with and measuring ROI on the campaign or project as the two biggest challenges brands encounter. The third challenge was approaching and engaging influencers, with about 59 percent of respondents struggling with this issue. Return on investment from influencer campaigns can be measured through: web traffic generated, number of times content was shared, revenue generation, press coverage received and number of mentions in articles or blogs. Successful influencer marketing campaigns attract high engagement and can generate as much as 16 times more than paid or owned media. Critically assessing the relationship brands have with influencer partners can have a direct impact on overall business performance. Therefore, a weak relationship with influencers can be ineffective and result in low performing campaigns.
To build a genuine relationship with influencers, it is important for brands to view the relationship as a long-term mutually beneficial bond. A recent article introduces “Influencer Relationship Management,” connecting the phrase to the concept of “Customer Relationship Management,” which is fundamentally about building lasting relationships with customers. About 44 percent of influencers note that the highest motivating factor in working with brands is if the opportunity is relevant to their specific audience. The second, about 17 percent, is if the opportunity allows them to provide an exclusive or new experience for themselves or their audience.
Treat influencers as collaborators by personalizing emails and communication correspondences to fit that particular influencer. From the beginning, this helps set the tone of the relationship and creates an understanding that there are things your brand appreciates and admires about the influencer’s brand – because they are an established brand as well. This approach also allows brands to work with those who truly believe in the products or services the company offers, rather than just working with someone who has a huge following.
Brands are reaching out to influencers all the time, and these users are receiving several messages regularly. Influence.co is a good tool to find the right influencers to fit your program’s needs. Just like a brand would invest the time and energy when reaching out to reporters for special stories, marketing executives should also be creative when reaching out to influencers.
Brands should want to cultivate a genuine relationship with their influencer partners. Ingenuine messaging will be obvious, especially if it isn’t in the organic language of the influencer. This leads to the last recommendation for building genuine relationships with influencers – allow influencers creative freedom.
A study found that about 39.4 percent of influencers are not provided the creative freedom they would like. Instead, they are bound by overly restrictive content guidelines that leaves little to no space for creativity. The influencer knows themselves and their audiences better than you do. Similarly, they know the type of content, language and tactics to engage their followers the most. These B2B relationships between brands and influencers require careful and strategic planning, and with a genuine relationship, can lead to growth for both everyone.
If you want to refine your influencer marketing program, start by building a genuine relationship with them that is mutually beneficial. Also, create additional programs to enhance your existing program such as adding nano-influencers into the mix. Brands have the ability to tap into these small-knit communities that have a more targeted following for more meaningful engagement. What are some other ways you think this can be achieved?
About Juwan Thompson
Juwan Thompson is a public relations Master’s student at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. His work explores sports and entertainment public relations and utilizing emerging technologies to enhance marketing communications.