As a PR I am always looking for the best way to get a story, encompassing my client’s key messages, out to the best audience.
Traditionally, the way to do this is via print media, and whilst it still has its place, the landscape has changed – and media relations is a whole different ball game!
Naturally, working with influencers is a more commercial undertaking these days compared to when they first emerged, using social media as their powerful platform. It is an activity that sits somewhere between PR and a marketing partnership. Once this partnership is established influencers create their own content and this is published for their audience to enjoy.
Successful influencer strategies can really pay dividends for brands. Take Gymshark, a relatively new brand with a young audience, which has created its own influencer pool on social media platforms, predominantly Instagram. Events featuring these influencers bring people from around the world, with fans queueing for hours just to get that snap for their own social media.
The numbers back it up too. Earlier this year the BBC reported that the Influencer Marketing Hub conducted a survey analysing 2,000 influencer campaigns. The outcome showed an average earned media value of $5.20 per every dollar spent.
So, whilst there is no disputing that a great influencer and brand pairing, or creation of influencers, can be a wonderful marketing tool, I’ve always felt I was not someone who was influenced by an influencer. However, it turns out I am wrong.
I must confess that there are only a few true influencers that I follow and actually take interest in. Yet still, I never really felt I was likely to purchase or act upon anything they posted.
Recently, however, that has started to change. I have begun to notice some purchases that I know are being directly influenced by these influencers. Of course, they could perhaps be passed off as likely purchases, these accounts I follow are often interior or fashion related and they have styles not dissimilar to my own.
But, alas, I cannot lie to myself any longer – I have been influenced.
It hit me hardest when I slid into the DMs of an artist I follow on Instagram. Sophie Tea Art – this woman is an incredible artist and marketeer! With no gallery backing, Sophie has successfully become a highly sought-after artist and has achieved massive PR success, appearing everywhere from Australian prime time TV to Vogue. My admiration for her is enormous, and so is my love for her art. So much so I actually almost invested in some – and still might if my bank account ever allows…
This is the true power of an influencer. Here I am, a savvy PR working alongside marketeers being influenced in my very own home, through my very own Instagram account!
Of course, it’s not really so incredible, I am the target market for these people, and this is where the success of the influencer really lies. They have a captive and highly engaged audience ready and primed to enjoy the same kind of things they themselves will or do. Nonetheless, I am a tad disappointed in myself – turns out I am just as likely to be influenced by an influencer as the rest!
By Sarah Taylor, Senior PR Account Manager.