Hilary Topper, CEO, HJMT Public Relations, Inc.
Influencers create change. They help you create awareness and visibility for your products or services and they can help build your community.
For years, brands have used celebrities, experts and influencers, leveraging these relationships to build media opportunities.
Lever Brothers Dove Beauty Bar is a great example of this. Years ago, they had a campaign “Create a spa in your home.” We used Toni Christensen, model and manager of Sonoma Mission Inn in Sonoma, California, as our “influencer.” Our media angle was to showcase this beauty expert discussing how to create a home spa using Dove Beauty Bar. The campaign was widely successful and generated millions of media impressions around the country. And, as every CEO knows, impressions equals dollars, because the more you are seen, the more likely someone will be to purchase your service or product.
Today, CEOs, marketers and public relations practitioners are putting more and more resources into influencer relations than ever before. This time, in addition to celebrities, they are targeting the individual who has relevant engagement and a strong following on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and/or YouTube, depending on what makes most sense for their brand.
The thought here is that by targeting these influencers, brands will gain more of a market share to reach the right audience. Targeting micro-influencers as opposed to targeting celebrities is also much more cost effective and can generate more concrete results.
How do you find Influencers or Micro-Influencers for your Brand?
First off, look for hashtags that you would use and also look for individuals who post about certain products. Look at their followers, their engagement and read what they are writing. Make sure that the influencer is in line with your brand requirements.
You can find the person on Twitter, Instagram and/or Facebook.
Let’s take a fictitious company and call it XYZ. XYZ sells business books. Since it’s a small company, the CEO also acts as the marketing person and looks on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn for influencers. He researches the hashtag #businessbooks. You find that on Instagram, there are more than 30.8 million people following the hashtag and/or posting the hashtag.
Go through that list and find –
- who is an avid poster?
- what is his/her following?
- what type of engagement does he/she get?
- What type of posts does he/she make?
- How is the content?
- Does the content reflect your brand?
- What type of photos does he/she take? Are they professional?
- Will this person be able to promote your brand?
Engage with several potential influencers online and see how quickly they respond. If they don’t respond, then they may not be the right fit.
Also look at their communities. Are their communities the right match for your brand?
Once you’ve selected your influencer, prepare a guideline for them.
- Make sure that you have everything in writing – what you will get, what they get out of the relationship, share your brand assets and how you want them posted.
- Define the goals and the objectives of the influencer program.
Here are some ideas to help you with your influencer campaign:
- Host a campaign on Instagram with your product and the influencer. Make sure the product is prominently displayed and tag the product along with a specific hashtag for your brand.
- Have them help you promote your product by posting on Instagram and Twitter. For example, The Rudy Project developed the Podium Project where triathletes who won their age group would get a free helmet and eyewear. Rudy asked all of their ambassadors to share the news with their community. This created ample impressions which helped the company get the program going.
- Ask your ambassadors (or influencers) to make a video of the product and share on their social networks.
- Make sure to provide the influencers with guidelines and/or content to post. If you want them to say the right message, then it will be easier to share that message with them.
- Empower your ambassadors or influencers to create a campaign that will activate your brand. Let them come up with creative ideas to get your brand out there.
Working with Influencers:
Make sure you are responsive to their needs and keep in touch. You want to build a relationship with the influencer that will last for years. A campaign should be a long engagement. This helps with credibility and believability.
If you do your homework, find the right influencers, and you build a relationship with him/her, you can gain tremendous amounts of exposure for your brand in a very cost-effective way.
About the Author
Hilary JM Topper, MPA is the CEO of HJMT Public Relations, Inc. She is also the chief curator of HJMT Media Company, LLC, which includes the award-winning, NY Lifestyle Blog and A Triathlete’s Diary Blog. It also includes Hilary Topper on Air, a weekly podcast for small business owners. Topper is an influencer for several brands and she is an adjunct professor at Hofstra University teaching classes in digital communications.