Influencing the Influencers

February 9, 2016

The people who lead opinion have changed, but relationship building remains the same (click to tweet).

Remember those days when only journalists, selected A-list celebrities and some wise men and women seen on the TV defined what was important, necessary or entertaining? Me neither.

Now almost anyone can influence how the public think about brands and issues.

New Stars Arise
Social media has changed how we interact with our friends and colleagues, it has given everyone the chance to publish his or her opinion and tell the world how they feel, think and eat.

New influencers rose from the blogosphere and later other platforms such as Instagram, Vine and YouTube, seemingly achieving Insta-fame.

What they wear soon goes out of stock. What they discuss is trending in social news feeds. They have overtaken traditional opinion to shift buying decisions and brand reputation.

This is the one essential thing brands have to keep in mind when working with influencers and conducting influencer relations.

A one-size-fits-all methodology doesn’t work. Using a scatter-gun approach and pitching the same story to several influencers at the same time won’t work out. If you want successful and sustained influencer relations, bespoke is the name of the game.

Do Your Research
The strongest campaigns are those developed together by brands and influencers.

Don’t waste your time pitching ideas to unsuitable influencers. Read through their blogs, scroll through their Instagram feeds and watch their videos.

The most popular influencers with the largest communities are often not the best option. Depending on audience and topic, working together with niche influencers frequently achieves better results.

Relations as in Relationship
Working with influencers has to start with relationship building and working as equals. Influencers are creative minds and know what their followers and fans appreciate. When briefing them at the start of a campaign give them space for their creative input.

Don’t pre-write copy, define key objectives and messages, instead let influencers implement plans in their own way.

This article was originally written for the Ketchum Digital & Social Almanac 2016. Please follow the link to read all of the trends that we identified and download the complete 60-page book.

Doris is a Senior Consultant at Ketchum Publico Vienna and helps brands overhaul their digital presence and connect with influencers. She’s a member of the Austrian Public Relations Ethics Council and co-founder of Digitalista, the network for women in the Austrian digital industry. Connect with her on Twitter: @DorisChristinaS