Social media has arguably become one of the most powerful online tools in society in recent times, and continues to grow.
We are learning how we can harness the appeal of social media to influence consumers and improve business practice.
Many individuals have developed a network of followers online, making them ‘experts’ in their chosen field.
This practice relates to the term ‘influencers’… but what does it mean? And how can you use knowledge of influencers to your advantage.
By definition, influencers are related to ‘influencer marketing’, but the field of Public Relations is also capitalising on these individuals to drive and promote campaigns.
Now, when you think of influencers, don’t limit these to social media personalities alone.
Influencers for your brand can be any person who has expressed a view about your company (or business theme) in the past and has ‘influenced’ the opinions of a mass audience.
A radio host who has spoken out against ‘body shamers’ in the past is an example of someone who is an ‘influencer’ for body image awareness. Travel bloggers and photographers are influencers in the travel industry.
Becoming more aware of which influencers online and in the media relate to your business can give you a significant advantage when it comes to targeting stakeholders for your public relations campaign.
There are four levels of influencers in the social media marketplace, which impact genuine engagement in marketing and public relations campaigns. These include:
- Celebrities (1M+ followers)
- Macro-Influencers (500K-1M followers)
- Middle-Influencers (100K-500K followers)
- Micro-Influencers (1K-100K followers)
Interestingly, while many businesses choose to pay big money to have influencers such as Kim Kardashian promoting their products, research has shown the most influential brand ambassadors are micro-influencers.
Due to the development of social media and the field of influencers, research has been undertaken to show recruiting several smaller influencers who are trusted in their industry, is more effective in terms of traffic and sales.
For example, 82% of consumers are “highly likely” to follow the recommendation of a micro-influencer.
Influencers are said to be at least 10% more credible and knowledgeable about products than the general population.
Influencers cultivate relationships within their chosen industry and niche, meaning they become highly trusted and relied upon sources that have up to 22.2 times more buying conversations.
Partnering with influencers in your industry helps get your message in front of the right audience and accelerates conversions.
But, how do you find these influencers that will be helpful for your campaign?
This is often a significant research process which will be rewarding for your business in the long term.
It can be helpful to search for hashtags related to your business on Instagram and note who engages with these.
Google searches into news articles relating to your business are the best way to find media influencers in your industry.
Look at who has provided commentary on your industry in the past and who may be interested in learning more about what your business has to offer.
In addition to this, there are a number of online tools such as BuzzSumo, which work by using keyword searches to find influencers on Twitter and filters according to engagement, reach and influence.
Once you have outlined a list of influencers relevant to your particular business it is important to build relationships and trust with these people who will likely engage with your projects in the future.
Influencer profiling is a significant research component of any business hoping to grow their reach and appeal to stakeholders.
Make this a priority and you will reap the rewards of the power of influencers for your business.