The Pr Toolkit – Working With Influencers

In this episode of Elevate’s IGTV PR Toolkit series, we spoke to Catherine O’Connor, Account Director at Elevate PR, about influencers and how brands can work with them effectively.

Catherine started the conversation by highlighting how far influencing has come, that a lot of the big names in Ireland, and abroad, have successfully transitioned from influencing part-time to influencing full-time, and made it their sole income. The successful influencers know they are a brand in their own right, they understand their audience, and have worked out their tone of voice and what style of content engages their followers.

Catherine then took us through some of her top tips and insights into the world of influencers.

Standing for something
Standing for something gives influencers a sense of purpose and allows them to stand out from the crowd, but also enables them to build a loyal audience. Successful influencers have clearly carved out their purpose and direction.

How should a brand engage with influencers?
Whether it is for a once off product collaboration, or a long-term partnership, brands should research the influencer they want to work with. Examine whether the content fits the brand, and whether the style and audience will resonate with the brand’s customers.

Collaborate with influencers
Do not be afraid to reach out to influencers and their agents to brainstorm and collaborate at the start of a campaign. Influencers know their audience better than anyone else and they know what drives the most engagement, so before confirming any content, chat to the influencer, or their agent, to see if your approach will work.


Paid and un-paid content

You do not always have to pay influencers to generate content. There are three approaches that brands can take.

  1. Paid-for content is agreeing a set fee in return for creating content for a brand partnership, which is all covered by a contract. Running a paid for partnership allows the client / brand to approve the content to ensure key messages and the right hashtags are included. Another positive element of paid-for content is the ‘swipe up’ option, which allows the influencer to include a link to the brand’s websites. This link can be trackable and is another way that the brand can monitor how many followers clicked through to their website.
  2. Paid for in product is a popular route for brands to take and includes influencers being paid for their content in product, like a contra-deal. A contract is still created and signed, highlighting the branded product/service that the influencer will receive in return for social content.
  3. Un-paid / organic content is when a brand ‘gifts’ influencers a product or service in hoping to secure social media coverage. It often happens in the form of a creative media drop. This method means that there is no pre-agreed fee or contra deal, but in return there is no guarantee that the influencer will feature the product / service on their social media channel. It’s at the influencer’s discretion if they feature gifted items or not.

How do we measure the success of influencer activity?

For paid-for content, the influencer will share a review of the campaign, giving an overview of engagement, reach, impressions, etc. These analytics are important for understanding whether the activity was a success and if the content and choice of influencer was the right fit.

It is more difficult to measure unpaid-for content, as we do not have access to these insights or analytics. When we send out creative mailers or media drops, 50% is usually a good return.

What are the guidelines that influencers must follower?

If an influencer is taking part in a paid partnership with a brand, they must include one of the following: #Sponsored / #Ad/ #SP/ #Brandambassador / in-partnership with. If an influencer is getting paid to share a link and swipe up to an outfit or product, they must include #affiliated #af. If gifted a media drop or a service such as an overnight stay in a hotel or a meal in a restaurant, the influencer must put #gifted on their social channel.

If you are interested in working with influencers to raise awareness of your product or service, please reach out to Catherine at Elevate, catherine@elevate.ie

Check out our full IGTV PR Toolkit series here.