I attended the PRCA Independent Consultant Group event: Influencer Marketing & Communications this week and heard from a range of PR gurus with experience of influencer marketing. The soiree was hosted at the lovely Weber Shandwick offices and chaired by Alice Weightman of Hanson Search and The Work Crowd.
What is Influencer Marketing you may ask
According to Wikipedia: Influencer marketing is a form of marketing in which focus is placed on influential people rather than the target market as a whole. It identifies the individuals that have influence over potential customers, and orients marketing activities around these influencers.
What we learnt
Sam Brown our first speaker referred us to the pyramid of influence and talked about the importance of authenticity, collaboration with your influencers and building relationships rather than one-off PR hits.
Jamie Barrett our next speaker from Weber Shandwick who was also an influencer herself spoke from both sides of the fence. She talked through the dangers of just flocking to those with a great number of followers. It may be that these are fake followers or that there are low levels of engagement. Understanding your objectives and audience are more important to ensure that the most relevant influencer is on board. Identifying the right influencer is a real art and personal contacts go a long way, as well as thinking out of the box in terms of where they might come from. She reflected that influencers often regard themselves as content creators, which is worth being mindful of.
Andy Turner brought more levity to the discussion and reminded us about the importance of disclosure, i.e. it is necessary to reference whether a post is sponsored. As well as going back to some of the fundamentals of marketing, such as research, positioning and strategy and why this is important. He left us with the idea of Shubu Gram – the ‘first digital supermodel’ and we pondered whether this would be the shape of influencers of the future.
The session left the audience with lots of food for thought, although it was acknowledged that using influencers or advocates/endorsers is nothing new to the industry. The digital era and fast pace of news means that we need to be even more switched on as to how this is working in our particular sector.
Find out more at #TWC_ICG.
Thoughts on public sector and internal communications applications
In terms of how accurately relevant this is to the public sector I’ve yet to put this into practice, but we also seek ambassadors to endorse our messaging and calls to action. Certainly from an internal communications perspective it is very useful to identify those influencers who may pop up in the most unlikely of places, but can be invaluable as advocates.
Let me know what you think @katybusby18