Digital technology has disrupted the conventional media practices, particularly those related to brand awareness, public response and corporate communications. Despite these development, PR indsutry has been rather slow to respond to the changing marketing and social interaction landscape. There's definitely a big lead that they can take out of the book which marketers and customer service teams have been using to excel.
What is it marketers out there really need to know? Incredible news for you would be, the gradual move to content marketing produces three times the lead generated by outbound marketing and tends to cost 62% less than the later.
Nonetheless, numerous PR and advertising agencies misconstrue how to adequately perform in the new digital space and connect with influencers. It’s not only these agencies but also their prospective clients who continue to execute operations under this misconception. The most effective approach, gathered from years of direct involvement, isn’t to market and pitch to influencers, but rather to fabricate connections and foster engagement with them.
The best way to engage with influencers is to create an organic relationship wherein you built a meaningful relationship without expecting anything in return. Michael Mogill, CEO Crisp Video Group in one of the articles published in Forbes, mentions how considering the pain points of influencers would provide an aid in demonstrating value and good faith that is equally essential in building long-term business relationships.
Wondering whether you’re really getting the meaning of influencer outreach and engagement RIGHT? To begin with, influencer engagement and reach typically caters to the following practices:
- Identification - distinguishing among the larger pool, influential people to be targeted and who among them would be the ones with whom you could think of developing long-term business relationships;
- Networking- taking a step forward in the larger market place and fulfilling your ultimate goal of developing social connections;
- Transmitting- taking an advantage of the prior developed relationships, imparting your brand value story in a way that it draws interest of the influencer.
Are you a PR or marketing firm struggling to conduct influencer outreach and engagement correctly? Well here are some of the reasons you NEED to know where is it you’re actually going wrong.
Approximately 25% of the searches feature top brands because of which 52% of organizations have allocated specific amount of their budget particularly for social-media marketing. They do this with a hope to increase the traffic rate and search rankings.
Therefore, emphasis should be laid on reaching out to small businesses as customers and assisting these individuals directly by introducing them to digital platform, thereby giving them an opportunity to connect with influencers. This would elevate them a step further into the digital space, discouraging them from relying on the traditional PR and promotion practices.
Pitching to media with a hope to receive pitches doesn’t work in the influencer-marketing domain because under this digital platform emphasis is laid on engaging with individuals who aren’t professionals in the field of media. They are specialists in their field, advisors, consultants, and random individuals who have interest in a particular domain. They’re named “influencers” because have certain qualities and are less inclined towards the traditional advertising practices.
Their inspiration of being on an online platform is the sole reason to connect with their peers and share their learning with the larger assemblage. This shouldn’t be mistaken with financial compensation, thereby objecting their credibility. Overtime, the audience had bestowed their trust over influencers because This makes he existence of influencers even more significant.
What is it you should be doing to ensure efforts in influencer outreach and engagement goes in the correct direction?
1Know what Influencer Engagement process is really all about
The entire process of influencer engagement is NOT marketing but creating networks and building relationships overtime. Marketers must genuinely learn to respect influencer’s interest and provide value without expecting anything in return. Your prior aim of initiating conversations shouldn’t be driving business-centric results but initiating conversations for the sake of knowing whether your business offerings really interests the influencer. If the influencer takes no interest in your business, it doesn’t make sense to force him/her to pitch for your product. Targeting a wrong influencer might drown all your efforts. Now that is not what you’d expected or had been waiting for! Therefore, you need to make a wise move.
2STOP! Look back and review whether you’ve built long-term associations with influencers
A genuine connection through social networking drives business-growth and offers organizations with numerous opportunities. This would allow brands to grow by developing long-term links and associations with influencers. Consumers no longer want to hear about product offerings from the brand itself but from individuals who would give first-hand reviews about the same. So, Being an agency- what should be your ends goal? Primarily, spending ample amount of time in locating and building relationships with the right individuals. This would serve as a basis for amplifying the voices of bloggers, active social media enthusiasts and loyal customers.
3Work continuously to identify the correct influencers
You could begin by exploring diverse social analytical tools that could majorly assist you in tapping influencers. One such tool that I’m recently exploring is Qoruz. It provides multiple features from refining and optimizing influencer search with smart filters, to prioritizing and sorting influencers for higher reach, engagement; out-reach to a specific audience, and many more.
Having a platform like this allows brands to classify and select the perspective pool of influencers you should target. Trust me! They make the process of hunting influencers a cakewalk. It majorly cuts down on the efforts and time spent in finding the relevant group of influencers and instead leaves you with ample time to develop good relations with them.
What's more, when you follow the right process, you won't have to request much help all the time– it would just be advertised with minimal efforts.
If there’s any additional practice you feel marketing and PR Firms should be doing in the influencer-marketing domain, feel free to share it in the comment section below. I would love to hear your views.