Influencers programs have become an important part of many PR strategies, particularly consumer PR strategies, and especially when coupled with traditional media relations. When done well, influencer programs can create powerful brand advocates for your client who spread awareness and drive conversions.
If executed poorly, you could end up with indifferent partners who are only concerned with getting paid and receiving free products. Fortunately, creating and managing successful influencer relationships is much easier than it sounds. Start with these three simple steps:
Do your research
Preparation is the foundation of successful influencer programs. Work with your clients to develop a clear and detailed outline of the types of people they want to partner with; make sure the targets you propose check all the necessary boxes. This will avoid a ton of back and forth and show your client that you have a solid understanding of their goals.
The second component of identifying influencer partners is to make sure their audiences align with your client’s target audience. For instance, if your client sells shoes, you’re probably won’t be working with niche food bloggers. Oftentimes, your client will want to re-purpose influencer content on their own social channels so it’s incredibly important to ensure your partners are a brand-fit.
Provide influencers with a surplus of information and clear instructions
Share background materials, information on the brand, product descriptions, social media handles to tag, and hashtags to use. Share anything you can. That’s the great thing about working with influencers: we generally have more control over what they post than we do with journalists and reporters due to the nature of the relationship. This is especially true if you’re paying influencers additional compensation in additional to providing your client’s product or services to them for free. The more information you give your influencer partners, the more likely they are to create a thoughtful, positive post or review for your client.
Set detailed expectations
As PR professionals, we’re trained to consider everything so we can prevent anything from going wrong. This is particularly important when working with influencers so that all parties involved have a clear understanding of what’s expected from them. If you agree on all aspects of your influencer programs beforehand (either via email or in a formalized contract), you’ll have something to reference in case things don’t turn out as planned.
Pay special consideration to these two major areas in your influencer programs:
I could write a whole blog post on this alone, but you’ll want to be sure to set clear expectations of word count for blog posts, which links to include, the minimum number of photos to include or post, requirements for what the photos should look like, usage rights for photos, the specific number of social posts to publish, which social handles to tag, and which specific hashtags to include.
If an influencer will be posting an Instagram or Snapchat story, ask them to send you screenshots and the total number of viewers so you can share those metrics with your client. Gaining access to the client’s analytics system is also recommended so you can see if your partners drove traffic and, if so, how much.
At the end of the day, your ability to maintain successful influencer programs will boil down to being the same #smart and #dedicated PR professional you are in all other aspects of your job.
——— Ali Parisi is a former Account Executive at SHIFT, sister company of NATIONAL Public Relations