According to a recent emarketer.com report, 43% of female internet respondents in the US said the most credible source for product information are online product reviews/blogs written by people they follow or people who are like them. As PR agencies want to provide exposure and establish brand awareness for their clients in the digital world, working with social media or digital influencers is swiftly becoming a feasible channel for many campaigns, however, establishing connections with them isn’t easy.
The importance of word-of-mouth recommendations from a trusted source has been tackled in our recent blog on how to score a ‘yes’ from online influencers with insights straight from brand ambassadors in the Philippines. Now, let’s see the angle from the other side with inputs from PR and marketing practitioners.
Establish connection with digital influencers
When blogging was just starting to be recognised by some brands, PR practitioners got in touch with them through the contact details provided on their blog sites, but now for some influencers who have become famous and already built their social media empire, connecting with them can often only be through their handler/manager.
Influence the influencers
In the past PR agencies had often sent digital press releases and then allowed influencers to interpret the contents of the kit.
As per Cecille, a PR practitioner, the request sent to influencers depends on the type of client they have. There are those that require political views, while most are usually product test and review, apart from inviting them to attend an event. Cecille also added that they tell clients that “they cannot dictate” the style of writing, especially if the request is a test and review, unless, otherwise the arrangement is paid.
The majority of companies measure the success of their marketing campaigns based on the effect on sales, but real effects in the social world are not always that instant. PR agencies and brands often monitor word-of-mouth recommendation through favourable write-ups on blogs, good reviews, comments on social, online shares and inquiries, or in general, a positive social sentiment from its target market. Some are using online monitoring tools and social analytics. Others request insights reports from the influencer’s page or website.
Nurture the partnership
According to Chris, Head of Marketing and Communications of an online food delivery service, to nurture good partnerships with digital stars, maintaining constant contact is a must, like invites to exciting events, meetings, and holding parties.
Thoughtful gestures like sending cakes, cards and presents on special occasions including, birthdays or blog anniversary are common as well. Some brands are open to sponsor online contests and events of their brand ambassadors.
Treat them right
Some digital influencers don’t like to receive a generic email from PR companies. They also find it “annoying” when companies or PR agencies send emails without proper salutations or without any personal note in it, for example, if the email was empty except for a PDF attachment or media release kit.
Though for some PR practitioners, sending the same media kit to many influencers or outlets is a common practice to ensure that the same message is disseminated to the target audience. But according to Chris, this approach is an “old school” and “seriously not applicable” to all digital influencers, citing that “relationship is the name of the game now” and each influencer “should be treated” uniquely.
The power of digital influencers continues to become more intense as the time spend on mobile and social media apps keep on rising, even surpassing traditional media. PR agencies keeping up by partnering with famous digital influencers whom perceived relevant to their clients. However, if you don’t want a NO from your target influencer, make sure you follow best practice when pitching for potential brand ambassadors.