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November 2nd, 2023

The rise of influencer marketing and how to make the most of it.

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Who among us can honestly say they haven’t been ‘influenced’?

The rise of influencer marketing over the past few years has been exponential. The growth of Instagram and TikTok has seen social influencers become an important tool for tapping into audiences that are often otherwise hard to reach – driving awareness, sales, and behaviour change.

But, in reality, PR was about influence long before the rise of social media influencers. While for many the word ‘influencer’ will conjure up images of people like Molly Mae Hague, Logan Paul and the Kardashians, anyone – or any organisation that your audience trusts – be it a subject-matter expert or a faith, healthcare, business, or community leader – can be used to influence behaviour.

Influence can come from anywhere. The trick is identifying who wields the influence for your target audience.

And tapping into voices your audience trusts has never been more important. According to Reuters (June 2023), trust in the news has fallen by two percentage points in the last year. On average, just 40% of people say they trust most news most of the time while 56% say they worry about identifying the difference between real and fake news on the internet.

So, with trust in traditional media on the decline and influencers on the rise, here are our top tips for making the most of influencers in all their forms to reach audiences and meet campaign objectives.

woman filming on front camera with ring light

Understanding what kind of ‘influencer’ you need.

83% of consumers trust recommendations from their peers over other forms of advertising, according to Nielsen’s Global Trust in Advertising Survey. Working with influencers – be they social influencers, community champions, organisations, or other stakeholders – allows us to deliver messaging to harder to reach audiences in a way that is authentic and achieves resonance.

But influencer engagement isn’t simply about paying to put a sponsored post or messaging in front of an audience. True influence is achieved when a person thinks, feels, or behaves differently as a result. To achieve true influence, it’s vital to identify influencer partners your audiences trust and can relate to – who share their personalities, values, and priorities.

Choosing partners your audience will trust.

Authenticity is key when engaging influencers. It is important to choose influencers that align with the values of your brand or organisation and campaign, as well as those of your audiences, and who are believable to their followers. Using insight and data to understand your audience, and taking time to consider the impact you want to have, will help you identify the right influencers for your campaign.

That could mean working with anyone from big name social influencers to a business leader or the person who runs the local community coffee morning. It’s important to select influencers not just for their audience size, but also for their ‘fit’ with you (and yours with them) and assess how engaged their audience is. This latter point being important to vet profiles for fake followers or engagements which could cause distrust.

Three men in music video for goldie lookin chain,

When it comes to content, give your influencers creative freedom.

Because authenticity is key, allowing influencers to create content in their own style is important to maximising engagement. Your influencer partners will understand their audience better than anyone and will be able to tell you what will resonate with them most – whether that’s a video on their social channels, an e-newsletter or face-to-face event.

Developing a thorough but non-prescriptive brief outlining any mandatory key messages will ensure campaign messaging is reflected in your influencer’s activity suggestions without strangling their creativity, enabling them to communicate your messaging to their audience in a way that achieves genuine impact.

To maximise reach, consider adopting a COPE (create once, publish everywhere) approach with wider channel distribution. For an additional fee, social influencers may agree to content being used on your owned channels too, or as part of experiential engagement.

Set clear objectives for measurement.

Setting clear objectives ahead of time and measuring impact in line with those objectives (as opposed to just looking at reach or impressions) will help evaluate the true success of the partnership. Whether you’re looking to raise awareness, increase sales or drive behaviour change, remember you want your audience to think, feel or behave differently as a result of your influencer partnership.

In conclusion

As peer-to-peer recommendation continues to grow, and many audiences become harder to reach through traditional channels, it makes sense for brands and organisations to tap into the voices, organisations, and individuals that audiences are really listening to. By utilising influencers in all their forms, we can reach audiences in a way they will trust and genuinely impacts on behaviour.

Talk to us today about how we can help you reach audiences and meet campaign objectives.