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Communication

Influencer Marketing Strategy: 5-Step Guide For A Successful PR Campaign!

Effective influencer PR goes beyond mere product promotion. It involves building genuine relationships with the help of influencers who resonate with the brand’s values. Read on to learn more.

By Akash Sarkar

1st April, 2024

Image- Generated with Bing AI

It’s not wrong for you to buy a T-shirt of a certain brand that your favourite YouTuber said is their preferred brand.

It’s not wrong, at all, for a content creator to casually say “Oh, and for those who were asking, I buy my t-shirts mostly from ABC, I just like their simplicity” without saying it’s a paid promotion.

There’s nothing wrong. This is how we like to shape public opinion. Silently.

But anyway, the landscape of marketing and public relations has become very dynamic these days, and leveraging the creative expertise of influencers is a common practice now more than ever for brands that want to create a positive public sphere for themselves.

In this long-yet-well-informed guide, I’ve tried to give an organized overview of implementing a well-structured influencer PR campaign.

Understanding Influencer Marketing and Public Relations

Before I start talking about executing an influencer marketing campaign, it’s good to set our perspective on the subject.

Also, I must warn you, if you’re going to jump the gun thinking that you understand what influencer marketing is with the kind of idea like “commissioning famous individuals for brand promotion”, you are on the right path to fail a campaign.

Understand carefully what influencer marketing is and try to align it with the ideas of Public Relations.

One thing I would like to do is give you an example early in this article so whatever I say below makes more intuitive sense to you.

Here you have Mr Akshat Shrivastava and Ms Smita Ram talking about Rang De, a peer-to-peer lending platform, Ms Ram sharing a story of how Rang De has financially empowered a woman.

Mr Akshat  Shrivastava is a content creator and mostly talks about finance and economics.

As you observe closely, one thing you should notice is that there is not a single call for action. This is how the brand image is created.

watch this Instagram post, observe, and read the article then come back up and watch the video again. This way you’ll be able to get the most out of this article.

What is Influencer Marketing?

Influencer marketing involves collaborating with individuals who have a dedicated and engaged following on social media platforms to promote products or services.

Influencer marketing makes use of the credibility and authenticity of influencers to connect with target audiences effectively.

Let me make it more intuitive for you. Many individuals have become role models for a mass audience, and this mass of people likes to engage with these individuals, maybe they like to watch their video content, or they may like to read their blogs.

These individuals are our influencers for their respected audiences, an audience that we want to target.

There are all sorts of influencers like, actors, dancers, public speakers, content creators, politicians, social workers etc. Different groups of people follow different influencers depending on their preferences.

While designing a campaign for influencer marketing, what we are trying to do is use the trust and preference of the audience towards their role model by collaborating with the individual and shaping public opinion about our brand, raising awareness about our products or services.

Think of influencers as spotlights, shining bright on our brand for our target audience to see us in a preferable light.

What is Public Relations?

Public relations is about using strategic communication to create or shape public opinion. It can be something more but the basic idea remains same.

PR councils are responsible for shaping public opinion, building brand reputation, and maintaining positive relationships with stakeholders through various channels of communication.

In more simple terms, public relations involve managing how your customers, stakeholders, or in general your targeted audience perceive your brand.

It’s about initiating activities to let your audience hear as much about your brand as possible and as positively as possible. You want to build a preferable image of your brand in the eyes of your targeted audience.

When you see some brands taking non-profit initiatives like providing educational scholarships, charity, or something for the goodwill of the underprivileged people, you get the image of that brand having high morals and you know that getting their services or products means an indirect contribution towards those non-profit initiatives.

Tata Group, for example, there are a lot of admirers of Tata Group just for their non-profit initiatives.

There are other activities a PR official takes to shape public opinion about their brand such as press releases, community engagements, interviews, conducting seminars and much much more and never limited. No book defines a finite number of ways to create public opinion, it’s about being creative, spontaneous, and persuasive.

Establishing Synergy between Influencer Marketing and Brand Management

people seek a second opinion when considering buying something, they like to ask for suggestions from their best friends or relatives, and the suggestion is even stronger and sought after if it comes from someone who’s well respected in a community for the knowledge they possesses.

A PR council can use this knowledge and advice-based transactional relation between people and an influencer to create meaningful and authentic content.

Now, how is it authentic? See, people can easily notice when they are being pitched to buy something and when someone is genuinely trying to suggest something good. A suggestion coming from someone people trust and regularly follow for more advice makes the message almost 50% authentic, all that’s left is the delivery of the message and it’ll become 100%.

When the message is authentic, there will be a perceived connection between our brand and the influencer, an image of our brand that showcases our success in creating something that is well appreciated by an expert.

People follow their role models, and when their role models follow our brand, it escalates the level of respect for our brand among the target audience.

Crafting Compelling Campaign Briefs

Now you have an influencer, a target audience and a goal. All that is left is to design a well-defined campaign brief to provide influencers with the necessary guidance while allowing them creative freedom to authentically promote your brand.

You need to clearly outline campaign goals, messaging, deliverables, and key performance indicators (KPIs) to ensure alignment and maximize campaign effectiveness.

Follow the guidelines below to create a productive campaign brief,

  • Background: context is the key, what you want to do is write down the context or the market conditions under which the campaign is going to run. Competitor brief, current market positioning, trends, previous campaign insights etc.
  • Campaign Goals: I hope you’re not getting annoyed at this point but it can’t be helped, stating your goal clearly every time you discuss your campaign is one way to stick to your goals.
  • Target Audience: You’ve already identified your preferred audience, write specific information about them.
  • Key Message: What are the value propositions that you want the influencer to communicate to your target audience? Pen out the core messages that you want to spread.
  • Campaign Strategy: Describe what should be the overall approach of your influencer to communicate those messages. Will it be a deliberate and direct communication or an inadvertent and indirect implying your messages?
  • Deliverables: You need to specify the expectations for the influencer’s contribution to the collaboration. Like, for the entire duration of the content, what are the things you would want the influencer to perform?
  • Compensation and Terms: It’s in your influencer’s best interest, so make sure you’re not missing any crucial information about payments and key payment terms of the contract.
  • Campaign Timeline: You would also need a detailed schedule of milestones, including campaign launch, content creation deadlines, and reporting dates.
  • Measurement and Evaluation: Define the metrics and KPIs used to measure the success of the campaign, such as reach, engagement, conversions, and ROI.

Lastly, end with a summary of the brief and give the contact information of the campaign manager or relevant stakeholders.

Key Components of a Successful Influencer PR Campaign

We are now all set to start with our influencer PR campaign.

Is Influencer Marketing for you?

If you’re B2C, yes. If you’re B2B, probably not the best. You see, the most important thing about Influencer PR is we are targeting a group of demographics who will be interested in trying out a product or service their role model is interacting with. We are trying to utilise the credibility of an individual to compel a mass.

But for businesses, getting into a deal with another business doesn’t happen based on word of mouth or the credibility of prominent individuals. The metrics used here are different, the process of persuading business leaders is less about influencing and more about convincing.

The sooner you understand the difference between influencing and convincing the better it is for you as a PR council.

What’s your objective?

During my days as a part-timer, I’ve interacted with many sales managers who implemented good sales strategies, but often for the wrong goal.

It’s also quite common for executives to set goals that don’t align with the overall context of their business like where they are in the marketing funnel right now.

For instance, some might set a generic goal like “increasing sales and revenue,” without first taking the time to develop a target market for that goal to be achievable. This way they miss the crucial step of raising awareness and interest in their product or service – without which, their goal is unlikely to be achieved.

Establishing clear and measurable objectives ensures that your influencer PR campaign aligns with your overall marketing and PR goals.

Whether your objective is to increase brand awareness, drive website traffic, or boost product sales, defining specific metrics enables you to track progress and evaluate success effectively.

Now when I mentioned boost product sales it’s good to keep in mind that a PR campaign isn’t the best for increasing sales numbers.

A PR campaign is best suited for building a strong customer base, once a brand acquires this base and nurtures it properly with follow-up engagements, it will become surprisingly easier to increase sales figures.

Here are some goals you can achieve with an influencer PR campaign,

  • Raise Awareness for a product/service/brand.
  • Create Interest in the product/service/brand.
  • Generate Desire for the product/service/brand.
  • Acquire new customers whose interests align with the products or services.

Identifying your Audience

Understanding your target audience is critical for selecting the right influencers to partner with. By conducting thorough market research, you can gain insights into your audience’s preferences, behaviours, and pain points, allowing you to choose influencers whose followers closely align with your brand’s demographics and interests.

This will help you create tailored influencer partnerships that will have maximum impact, resulting in greater brand exposure, higher engagement, and increased conversion rates.

Depending on your goal, some things to consider while identifying your audience are,

  • Which age group is your product or services meant for?
  • Which gender?
  • What does that age group typically do? Student/employed
  • What kind of pain points do your products or services address?
  • Under what circumstances do people face those problems?

Choose the right influencer

Once you’ve identified your audience that goes along with your goal, choosing the right influencer is your next step. Remember, it’s not about being famous that we are looking for.

We want someone who is respected by the community that they have created over time through their helpful engagements with their followers. A famous person will do the job, given that they are well connected with their followers.

Here’s a common dilemma while choosing the perfect influencer, should you choose someone who talks about subjects that go well with your business niche, say a financial advising content creator for a finance company, a tech review content creator for an IT company and so on?

Or should you choose someone well-recognized by your target audience, but doesn’t talk about the industry your business is operating?

If you are lucky, you will find someone who talks about a niche that’s aligned with your business operations and is a well-known person among your target audience. But in cases where you don’t find one, you’ll have to choose between the two mentioned above depending on your objectives.

Influencer Marketing

Best Practices for a Successful Influencer PR campaign

Building Authentic Relationships with Influencers

One way of achieving the best possible outcome is when the influencers themselves are eager to promote your brand.

For their audience to grow interest in our product we want the influencer to have an interest first. This will make their approach towards the audience more genuine and feel less salesy.

Investing in genuine relationships with influencers creates trust, credibility, and a feeling of comfort leading to more impactful PR outcomes. Focus on establishing mutual respect, open communication, and shared values to cultivate long-term partnerships that resonate with both influencers and their audiences.

Collaborating with Micro vs. Macro Influencers

When you’re looking to team up with influencers for your brand, it’s always good to keep in mind that micro-influencers have smaller but more engaged audiences, while macro-influencers have larger but potentially less engaged ones.

Think about your campaign goals, budget, and the people you want to reach before deciding which influencers would be the best fit for your brand.

Developing Creative Content Strategies

Till now I’ve talked at length about keeping your messages authentic and genuine. But how do you exactly do that?

Think about what works best for the type of people you are trying to approach. There are primarily three types of content that get the most engagement, video, images, and written.

There are categories of each type, videos can be shorts or mid/long videos, images can be carousel posts, and written forms of content include long articles(2800+ words), short blog posts(~1600 words), caption size paragraphs in status updates etc.

Your content strategy should be a mix of all three for best results.

Once you are done discussing with the influencer what kind of content they are most comfortable with, your next step is to decide which part of the day each type of content should be posted

Creating a successful campaign requires a tailored content strategy that resonates with the influencer’s audience and aligns with your brand messaging.

It is vital to encourage influencers to produce authentic and relatable content that blends your brand messaging with their storytelling style and creativity.

Follow the instructions below to create an excellent content strategy,

  • Leverage Influencer Insights: Your influencer knows a lot about your audience, there is an emotional aspect to their understanding of the audience. You have to respect the fact that they interact with people through comment sections, forums, streams and various other channels. The knowledge they have gained about their audience is something you should definitely utilise in your campaign.
  • Embrace Variety and Creativity: explore a mix of content formats, including photos, videos, stories, polls, and live streams, to keep the campaign fresh, dynamic, and appealing to different audience preferences and platform algorithms.
  • Stay Consistent and Authentic: Being authentic is one of the main reasons to work in collaboration with influencers, if the influencer gives a regular monotonous promotional pitch then you can consider that as a bad investment if it only sounds salesy and not genuinely recommended then it won’t work.

Leveraging Different Social Media Platforms

Each social media platform offers unique opportunities for influencer PR; understanding platform dynamics is crucial for maximizing campaign effectiveness.

Whether it’s Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, or Twitter, adapt your content strategy and influencer partnerships to suit the preferences and behaviours of each platform’s audience.

Monitoring and Measuring Campaign Performance

As the campaign is running live, keep track of your KPIs and make necessary adjustments. No matter how planned you are, you will probably have to make modifications to your initial strategy as it goes into action.

Utilizing analytics tools and tracking key performance indicators allows for real-time optimization and evaluation of campaign success. Monitor metrics such as reach, engagement, conversion rates, and return on investment (ROI) to identify areas for improvement and refine future influencer PR initiatives.

Future Trends and Innovations in Influencer PR

While you’re creating your content considering the current market trends, it’s never a bad idea to be more forward-minded. 

There’s a few things you can incorporate in your campaign to make the effects to last longer.

Incorporating User-Generated Content

If you’re looking to make your influencer PR campaigns more authentic and engaging, then user-generated content is the way to go.

Encourage your influencers and brand advocates to create and share content featuring your products or services, and let them use their social influence to spread your brand message organically. It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved.

Predicting and Responding to Shifts in Consumer Behaviour

Keeping up with the ever-changing preferences and behaviour of consumers is key for brands to stay relevant and make the most of influencer PR.

By monitoring industry trends, conducting market research, and engaging with your audience, you can stay ahead of evolving needs and adapt your influencer strategies accordingly.

Bonus Tips!

Take off your shoes and get your feet dirty with the kind of experience your target audience goes through during their interaction with your brand.

Is that the way you want to feel towards your preferred brand of something? Be empathetic.

See around you,  and notice the products and services you use. Reflect upon what brought you to buy those products and services. Why did you choose one brand over the other? These reflections will help you to be more empathetic and close to your target audience and help you build an excellent campaign.

Conclusion

Incorporating influencer PR into your brand management strategy can bring a significant change for your business, especially if it’s a B2C operation.

Building a strong partnership with influencers can help you engage your target audience, establish brand credibility, and drive tangible business outcomes.

By understanding the fundamentals of influencer marketing, implementing best practices, and embracing emerging trends, you can tap into the power of this marketing strategy and take your business to new heights of success.

FAQ

Start by defining your target audience and conducting thorough research to identify influencers whose followers align with your brand’s demographics and interests. Utilize influencer discovery tools, social media platforms, and agency partnerships to find suitable influencers for your campaigns.

Authenticity concerns, legal and ethical issues, and misaligned brand messaging are common pitfalls to avoid when partnering with influencers. Maintain open communication, set clear expectations, and vet influencers thoroughly to mitigate these risks and ensure successful collaborations.

Monitor key performance indicators (KPIs) such as reach, engagement, conversion rates, and return on investment (ROI) to measure the success of your influencer PR campaigns. Utilize analytics tools, track campaign metrics in real-time, and conduct post-campaign evaluations to assess performance and identify areas for improvement.

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