While PR is an effective tool, influencer marketing plays a much bigger role in the future.
PR used to involve sending a press release to newspapers, magazines and TV networks — traditional media that have lost much of their dominance. Public relations teams were among the first to realize they could distribute news releases to bloggers.
Today, however, the "blogger" niche has segmented many times over. Some industry blogs have become bona fide news outlets and routinely work with PR teams - even breaking news. Other blogs never consider press content and many "bloggers" have become YouTubers, Instagrammers, Viners, and Snappers.
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As a result, modern influencer marketing should be part of a wider strategy that increases brand awareness and drives sales. Here are three reasons why:
1. Influencer Content Benefits Both PR and Marketing
Public relations is all about reputation. PR agencies and brands work with influencers to maintain the status of their company or change audience perceptions. However, organizations that solely utilize influencer marketing to "cover" company news are using just part of the universe. Good influencers can drum up interest in a new product release, increase awareness or generate evergreen content for digital channels — blogs, websites, social profiles — and in doing so, provide a long-term benefit.
Many Carusele influencers produce stunning content that is aspirational and/or inspirational. They don't "cover" products as much as use the products in a way that others want to use them, too.
It's all about striking the right balance: "To achieve long-term success, implementation of influencer marketing must become more PR-like and less overtly promotional," says William Comcowich from Business 2 Community. "It must function more as earned media, not paid media. That means building long-term relationships with influencers and helping them produce content that’s original, newsy, authentic, interesting, educational and entertaining."
2. Influencer Content Provides Value
One of the huge benefits of influencer content is that it helps companies get their messages through to audiences that traditional media just can't reach. Consider that a brand can reach prospects who know about them through their website. They can reach others with an interest in their company through social channels. But with well-done influencer marketing, companies can reach people with an interest in their product category who weren't otherwise looking for them.
Carusele unites brands and content creators and generates a much bigger ROI for marketing dollars than stand-alone PR or traditional digital marketing strategies. Influencer marketing has the unique benefit of targeting niche audiences across the social sphere with authentic, original content that brands can use again and again. These audiences are often new, hard-to-reach segments of a brand’s target market which is why influencer marketing should be a part of every comprehensive communications strategy.
3. Influencer Marketing Really Works
We know that influencer marketing is profitable. During the first half of 2015, every dollar spent on influencer campaigns generated the same amount of exposure as $9.60 in paid media, according to a recent study.
We also know that influencer marketing actually does influences both marketing and PR. Eighty-two percent of consumers say they are "highly likely" to act on an influencer's recommendation, while 74 percent of marketers plan to increase influencer budgets so they can improve the reputation of their brand.
Influencers have changed the PR game – but they’ve also changed the traditional marketing game. Brands should use content creators to advertise their products and services, as well as using them to help build and maintain their companies' reputations. Carusele has built relationships with more than 7,500 influencers during our 9 years in the social media business. Our campaigns deliver authentic, original content that performs a multitude of functions for our clients in industries like FMCG and retail, beauty, cause marketing, health, travel, and entertainment.
We have conducted influencer marketing campaigns for products as diverse as gas bottles, wine, feminine care items and technology products – and achieved both PR and marketing objectives like new product launch communications, increased share of voice and significant sales lift among others.