Insights About Integrated Communications and Influencer Marketing

By Amanda Lima

Surely, you have been impacted by some article or analysis that discusses how influence marketing is transforming advertisement. I dare to say that, ever since the topic surged, it has evolved significantly.  We can assume that yes, there is a new model of structuring advertisement actions and this includes influencer marketing. However, do we reflect – beyond the advertisement itself – enough on how this reality impacts on the work of communications agencies?

The term “integrated communication” is almost pleonastic when we analyse the reality of the agencies – media relations is only one among many necessary strategies to consolidate the company image in the media (and on the market). For this reason, it is interesting exposing this reality to us, communications professionals who work daily with global planning, which involves media relations, internal communications, community relations, digital marketing and, of course, influencer marketing.

Perhaps this is no longer a new challenge for big companies – influencer marketing is already part of the strategic planning of these corporations. The bloggers themselves know that they need to approach the brands to strengthen their businesses. It is worth mentioning that, the more credibility and fame an organization has, the shorter the way to influencers who identify with the brand is. Be it in advertising agencies or in communications agencies, advertisement actions or media relations activities almost always use some form of influencer marketing.

What to do when the company is not aware of this possibility?

The scenario gets a bit more unclear when we consider companies that are being presented to this types of actions for the first time – small and medium sized companies or companies with a more conservative profile. In these cases, they still have difficulties in seeing that investments in social media, sponsored posts, influencer actions  and and all these novelties will bring profit and new business – the famous discussion about ROI (Return on Investment), present in every communications professionals reality.

On the other side, we find the communications professionals themselves, whom need to share and explain their experience and knowledge with the clients. Why invest in a young blogger that makes videos with her own mobile phone instead of investing in an advertisement on TV? These types of questions are valid – until very recently we did not even know that media relations professionals would have to get familiarized with terms such as Facebook Ads or Google AdWords, for example. It is part of our work to contribute to this reciprocal learning process.

Once the alignment of the strategy is done with the client, it is the responsibility of the agency to execute the actions, keeping in mind that influence marketing is not advertisement, and that influencers are not “cover boys” or “cover girls”. We have already mentioned the importance of having a well elaborated strategic plan for influencer marketing, but, to round things up, here goes a few thing to keep in mind:

1) The ideal influencers are not necessarily the ones who talk about the segment of your brand.
If your client is a company in the educations sector, for example, do not limit yourself to profiles who talk about this topic. Identify which is your niche. If you wish to communicate with young high school boys who are interested in video games, your search can cover several of these segments, of which neither belong to the segment that your company represents.

2) It is a must to respect the creative freedom of the influencer – and to value it!

One of the biggest mistakes when dealing with influencers is wanting to force messages and ways of expression within the partnership. One great advantage of dealing with bloggers is that they have a very loyal audience, which gives credibility to what is said on their pages and profiles. For this reason it is important to – as well as extremely interesting in terms of results – to motivate the influencer to freely create content and to align the language with the communications channel.  

3) The most important objective is not necessarily reaching an astronomical number of people.

In these types of actions, it is always worth using a qualitative, not a quantitative, approach. Influencers with a smaller number of followers and who communicate with the exact type of audience that your client wishes to reach, can generate better results – as well as cost less – compared to famous influencers who, despite reaching more people, are less effective at reaching the objective.

Would you like to know more about communications options for your company? Talk to us at Race Communications!