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PRmoment’s Future of Influencers event

Influencer cogs

Last week I attended PRmoment’s latest industry event. The theme was how communications professionals currently use influencers to spread messages, and what this could mean for future PR strategies. The event featured three panel discussions and speakers from Barclays, Traackr and Oracle.

This post features some of the themes explored by the speakers during the event.

The lifecycle of change for a media business is 18 months. In just a year and a half media companies will have a new strategy for reaching their audiences. Outlets are choosing to move to new formats to cut through media noise and get their messages heard. For instance, the Guardian and Observer recently announced they are moving to tabloid format and scrapping their specially commissioned £80million printing presses.

So what techniques can communications professionals use to drill into this ‘new’ world?

Businesses no longer have the power. Gone are the days when companies were seen as authoritative sources. Readers and viewers are looking for opinions from those that inspire them but that doesn’t necessarily mean the experts.

With information hitting people from every side, they are forced to self-prioritise what they believe will be most beneficial to their lives. They create their own narrative about a brand and what it stands for. And that’s one of the main reasons that fake news is so bad for the industry. People are less likely to fact check information if it fits with their pre-formed perception of a brand.

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To help push narratives, brands can work with influencers who already have a following within their target audience. Influencers have power by providing a trusted voice and engagement on a much more personal level.

By working with suitable influencers brands can still have some control over messages, whilst allowing the information to come directly from the trusted influencer – seeming more natural to the audience.

There’s certainly a grey area around when and how an influencer should be announcing they are working with a brand. Often this will depend on the length of the deal and the type of campaign.

The most important part of working with an influencer is to find the right fit for your brand and the message you are sharing. It only works if there is a true fit for both parties.

Data should always be used when you are looking for an influencer. Try to avoid only choosing someone with the largest following. Numbers are your friend when they are based on engagement rather than followers.

Be sure to align influencers to your customer journey. Check that they are hitting the right audience and share messages that help to achieve your objectives.

These ideas only really scratch the surface of what was discussed at the event. By working with influencers you have the opportunity to open new channels for reaching your audience and spreading your business messages in a way that is deemed more trustworthy.

It’s definitely something I’ll explore deeper in future blog posts. Watch this space.

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