by Ashley Lopez
We have all been exposed to influencers while scrolling through our Instagram feed. We’ve all seen Instagram stars and celebrities promoting everything from weight loss teas and teeth whitening devices.
These influencers are part of a bigger picture than just being visible on our Instagram feed. Influencer marketing is a growing component of public relations campaigns. A study found that 39 percent of marketers will increase influencer marketing budgets in 2018.
Influencer marketing focuses on influential people, rather than the target market. This is a big focus area for public relations and marketing. I’ve spent the last couple months at my internship with Intern Queen helping brands find influencers that align with its brand and products.
Although they are considered influencers, the term goes beyond the insta-famous and vloggers because influencers have always existed.
Influencer marketing is not new and has evolved to what it is currently. Back in the 1950s advertisers would market toward upper-class Americans because they were considered the “influentials”. Others would admire them and buy the things they owned. So, their buying influence would encourage the rest of the population.
In 2005, home appliance brands like Electrolux would partner with Kelly Ripa to sell their home appliances to mothers. Now in the social media environment that we live in, those companies seek out mommy bloggers because they have more influence on mothers than traditional spokespeople.
Every industry ranging from beauty, health and food are utilizing influencers to increase their sales and build relationships for their brand.
My spring internship has exposed me to the process of connecting an influencer with various brands. The standard influencer campaign generally sees these steps:
1. Identifying the audience with the client
Understanding a client’s audience is key to developing the right campaign. For example, I recently got to work with Peet’s Coffee, which wants to promote its new cold brew coffee to college students. It’s easy to forget who you’re communicating to when good ideas start forming. Despite this, you must always take your audience into consideration.
2. Influencer Selection/Plan and Strategy
Based on the criteria given by the client, we are tasked to find influencers who align with the selected audience. Once the influencers are selected, the team at Intern Queen and the client will host a training call with all influencers to explain details of the campaign. The campaign details consist of the amount of Instagram posts, events and using the correct verbiage. A content calendar also gets created to make sure the selected influencers are posting when required.
3. Campaign Management
The team at Intern Queen tracks the campaign throughout the week by checking posts. It’s crucial that the posts include the correct hashtags and captions. If the team notices the influencers forgot to include something, then they email them to fix it. There are bi-weekly calls with the client to give them updates on the campaign.
4. Measure and report
A typical campaign usually lasts a month. Once the campaign is over, the team gathers pictures and stats, which typically includes views, impressions, posts and likes.
Influencers play a much bigger role than we can imagine. The influencer model is integrated in most public relation campaigns and will continue to grow. Many public relations students will probably find themselves in positions that will involve influencer relations, so the best time to learn is NOW.
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