6 myths about influencer marketing

By Emily Barnes & Megan Linehan

“Reach is everything - it means you’re getting your message out to the most people”

Incorrect. It’s imperative to look more closely at who the audience are. There’s no value in getting your content into the feeds of people who aren’t actively engaging with it or aren’t invested in it. If the person seeing the content isn’t a potential customer, it’s fruitless. Worse still, they could even be a bot or fake follower.

This is why engagement rates are key; there’s been much discussion recently about how engagement rates are significantly higher for smaller influencers. There is absolutely a saturation point of engagement, which can mean that mega influencers are left with a dead audience.

When scoping out potential influencers, make sure you look at their most recent videos for accurate engagement rates- that way you know that they’re performing consistently and are frequently posting.

“It’s great to work with as many influencers as possible, to talk to lots of different audiences”

Whilst micro-influencers certainly can provide value through their highly engaged audiences and advocacy around niche topics and interests,  it’s also generally true that in order for a brand message, recollection or call to action to convert, the audience needs to see it multiple times. It’s marketing 101.  So, think about investing in multiple pieces of content over a longer period, with the same influencer.

Ambassadorship with influencers is a key focus in 2018, not only because of the value in repeat consideration, but because the content is organic and a natural-fit on the influencer’s channel- which works toward great sentiment.

“It’s impossible to really demonstrate ROI in influencer marketing”

Nuh uh. Whilst ROI and metrics for success are hotly contested and changing (pretty much) all the time, and it can be difficult to measure consideration and path to purchase outside of views and likes, there are plenty of marketing metrics which work to demonstrate effective consideration and brand sentiment, directly as a result of content.

Affiliate marketing and tracking links are a great way to measure this audience journey. If you’re promoting something like a service, resource, or high consideration purchase, you can get creative with incentives to click. A competition, discount code or limited edition purchase work well in these instances.

“Just put #ad at the end of the post”

No! No! When working with an influencer, be sure that the partnership/sponsorship is labelled loud and clear for the consumer to see, else it can be deemed misleading and lazy. Many platforms have clear guidelines for influencers to clearly label their content, and the ASA has outlined rulings on explicit labelling of sponsored content. No excuses!

“One post is all we need”

Cross-platform promotion means you’ll hit your chosen influencer’s audience across several channels and mediums, as well as developing a natural story around the partnership. A singular post can get lost in an abyss of newsfeeds, missing the mark with impact and looking awkward and unnatural. A carefully considered content package is important in understanding investment in a partnership and expectations of performance.

Be sure to ask about the cost of hero content with social promotion, for example, or a series of social posts with clear consideration of timings. The influencer should help guide this based on data about audience engagement with previous content and timings for this.

“They posted about the product before- they should do it again for free”

An influencer creates content for a living- it’s their livelihood and often their sole income. So, when considering asking an influencer for free content, stop and consider the size of the industry and it’s power- you’re buying into a powerful marketing tool. Where have you been for the last few years?! Whilst some influencers may be willing to post in return for a free product, holiday, or event attendance, be ready for them to ask for cash. Great, impactful content which speaks to the right audience is valuable- be ready to pay for it.


Why coffees and good content are more important than ever in PR

There’s been a lot of talk about General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in marketing press, but less so in PR press - even though there’s room for it to affect all of us in this industry. If you don’t know what the GDPR is, then you should.

 

So, what is it?

The EU’s GDPR, to help organisations understand new legal frameworks, will come into full effect in May 2018 for both B2B and B2C communications.

From a series of new rules which will govern marketing data, the most pressing one for the industry is the need for ‘explicit consent’ from the recipient of a marketing email as well as the consent to be verifiable; in other words, having records showing the origin of the data.

The fine is hefty. Seriously hefty. It’s four per cent of global revenue or €20 million, whichever is bigger. Ouch.

 

And what’s it got to do with PR?

Unfortunately, some PRs are still guilty of sending out very sales-y press releases / e-alerts / emails which could be deemed as marketing content. For example, if you send out mail-merges of hundreds of pitch emails to try and secure coverage, then you may hit a pissed-off journalist who will deem your email as unsolicited marketing content. If they’re really pissed-off, they might flag this under the new regulations. If you can’t then prove you have consent to contact this person, you’ll be in a tricky situation. If you’re asked for a copy of the data and you don’t have it, then we’re slipping further out of the grey area and more into the red.

 

Essentially, we’re not completely sure what it means for us as PRs yet, but we had better start researching and preparing ourselves for the worst.

 

What do we do to protect ourselves?

Firstly (and this should be something all PRs are doing anyway), make sure you are providing journalists with good content that is relevant to them. Every PR event with journalist speakers and every PR / journalist forum, and I mean every single one, has a takeaway of the same message: do your research and stop pitching blindly with things that are irrelevant.

 

Yes, we are time pressed, but so are journalists- probably more so. Yes, sometimes it’s not always our own personal faults, but we should be finding time to look over our media lists and making sure we are targeting the right people with the right story. It’s in our interests, our clients’ interests and the journalist’s interests. Start prepping now and take that extra time to find those people that are relevant to your sectors, clients and pitch topics. You also need to make sure your content is quality content, and not a sales pitch. If someone requests that you destroy their data and never contact them again, then you must oblige under the new regulations- that’s a contact gone for good.

 

Secondly, work on building relationships with your key contacts. If you genuinely have something to offer them then there’s no reason why the journalist wouldn’t want to meet up and build a relationship with you. So, get networking (without taking a sales pitch along with you).

 

Thirdly, and finally, start logging your consent as if you were a marketing agency. Although this is a huge grey area, there’s no harm in beginning to prepare yourself and getting one step ahead.

 

Take a read of PR Week's story too discussing GDPR, which inspired us to blog about the regulation.