Influencer marketing is increasingly becoming an integral part of a brand’s social marketing strategy. Here’s how you can pitch more focused and impactful stories in 2019 and beyond.
The state of influencer marketing
The excerpt below from The Atlantic nicely sums up the state of influencer marketing.
“The influencer-marketing industry has exploded over the past several years. According to a 2017 study by Influencer Marketing Hub, 420 new influencer-marketing agencies opened in 2017 alone, more than double the amount that opened in 2015. ‘We’ve seen the industry go from a rising marketing tactic to an essential part of most marketing budgets,’ one executive wrote in Adweek. Analysts estimate it’s currently worth more than $2 billion, and could reach up to $10 billion by 2020.”
Recent studies from CreatorIQ and Mavrck cite Instagram — and, increasingly, Instagram Stories — as the platform and format of choice for influencer campaigns.
Influencer marketing is something your brand is probably considering, if you aren’t already actively pursuing or engaged in it. You don’t have to enter at the highest scale either; many brands are seeing solid returns on micro-influencers, or even “nanoinfluencers.”
In fact, many social media practitioners pay more attention to the those in their immediate sphere than the celebrity influencer with millions of followers. According to a survey by [a]list Frontline Marketing, 70% of teen YouTubers relate to people they subscribe to over celebrities, 86% of women turn to social media before making a purchase, and 71% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase based on a social media reference.
So, how does influencer marketing fit into pitching?
Influencer + social strategy
Being influencer savvy can enhance — or even save — a pitch in the same way that being socially savvy can. Most influencers have built up their following by leveraging a particular social media platform (especially Instagram, as recent studies show).
The key to a successful influencer marketing strategy is to build relationships with influencers, not just hire them for a one-time “pay and pray” campaign or single post.
Nurturing relationships with key industry influencers, while promoting pitches that are purposeful and targeted, often generates better results and delivers an all-around better experience for all parties involved.
It’s no different than what smart PR pros have been doing for years when building relationships with journalists – after all, a journalist is simply one type of influencer.
Rules for relationship building
The No. 1 rule? Don’t be creepy. (That’s a good golden rule for brands in the era of balancing personalization in marketing with a growing consumer concern over data privacy.)
Relationship building starts with awareness, so be sure you have social listening set up to stay on top of who is leading and contributing to influential discussions in your industry. These are the people you want to follow, engage with and eventually pitch for an influencer campaign or partnership, if it’s a good fit.
Do this in a way that’s natural for your brand, and fits both your brand voice and overall PR strategy.
The biggest takeaway? It’s all about building relationships and then working to maintain them in the long run.
Looking for tools to make the process easier? Learn about TrendKite Influencer Management.