PR Strategy: Use Social Influencers

BY Courtney Huckabay
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Why You Should Include Influential Social-​Media Users in Your PR Strategy: The newest emerging marketing category is all about social media users with large followings, sometimes called "influencers." They are undercover trendsetters who are gradually adding new layers to the way marketers leverage social.

"Some marketers still aren‰Ûªt sold on this strategy, but those who hesitate may soon be left in the dust," Landon Ledford wrote in Entrepreneur​.com. "Popular social media users are wising up to the chance to connect with major brands they love, and smart marketers are building relationships that cost pennies and could pay out for years to come. These popular folks are making their mark on marketing, and not just because investing in them is is easy."

Working with popular social media users isn‰Ûªt so different from working with a public relations firm.

"Developing relationships with these social media stars is similar to working with a public relations firm, another task your team is already used to handling. Working with "influencers" involves developing a partnership that includes guidance on how you wish a product to be featured and what you‰Ûªll require in terms of traffic feedback," Ledford wrote.

This type of marketing has a proven track record.

"No marketing strategy will be worth much if you can‰Ûªt prove it‰Ûªs working. Before you invite a popular social media user to start working his or her magic for your brand, make sure you can clearly show web traffic stats, sales spikes, and other vital data that will illustrate credible results. These stars shouldn‰Ûªt be able to take a free product or perk without being able to provide clear tracking data and metrics. If they don‰Ûªt know how to help deliver meaningful results-​based information on how they‰Ûªre helping your brand, they‰Ûªre not a true "influencer," Ledford said.

These ideas can help your clients who are looking to ramp up their PR strategies. Audience SCAN found that nearly 2% of adults are planning to utilize press release distribution services in the next 12 months, which means these targets are considering their PR strategies already. Use what you know about this audience to help them out. PR distribution service users are 569% more likely than average consumers to attend bridal shows. 51% shopped at locally owned businesses on Small Business Saturday (Saturday after Thanksgiving). 48% use Android smartphones. And they are 244% more likely than average consumers to have taken action after seeing ads at movie theaters.

AudienceSCAN data is available as part of a subscription to AdMall for Agencies. Media companies can access AudienceSCAN data through the Audience Intelligence Reports inåÊAdMall.