4 Reasons Why You Can No Longer Ignore Influencer Marketing

Our new research featured in The Drum shows how online influencer content now accounts for almost a fifth of consumer media consumption.

Our Good Relations survey of over 1000 people found more than half (57%) have made a purchase based solely on influencer recommendations. This rises to 69% for Millennials.

Only friends and family recommendations are more important on purchase decisions.

Our research demonstrates that having a strategic influencer marketing programme has become a necessity for all brands, whoever they are targeting. It’s a channel that demands the attention and budget to reflect the way consumers use and rely on influencers when making purchasing decisions. Despite the report’s findings, we are still seeing a great disparity in the way CMOs are approaching budget allocation; on-balance favouring traditional platforms, even when the evidence points to a need to amplify influencer spend.

So what’s your influencer marketing strategy?

The Power of Content and Video in PR

From comments I made to Gorkana

We made a call several years ago to develop a best in class content offering (including video production) because we could see the world of communications and marketing was moving in that direction. We knew we had to be great at content as well as the media relations work, and that the two had to be fully integrated.

Producing great content is the coming together of multiple skillsets – strategy and creativity, production and distribution. Typically PRs have been generalists, rather than specialists, but I think that’s changing as the industry evolves.

The real power of video is when it’s irresistibly shareable, and that’s all about creating authentic engagement. PRs have always developed earned relationships, so we know how to produce relevant and topical video for organic take-up. We can’t rely on paid media space for reach – we produce content that has to stand on its own legs and is carried by the power of our influencer relationships.

At Good Relations, we’ve already built a specialist content marketing practice with full service expertise. Our strategy team has developed a proprietary planning methodology to reveal the insights that underpin our creative ideas. We’ve then built our own in-house creative studio, which does everything from shoots to animation. We also launched our specialist broadcast media consultancy this year, Good Broadcast, which specialises in editorial broadcast programming.

Meet the Instagrammers

They say a picture speaks a thousand words and, thanks to the camera phones we all pack in pockets, that’s never been more true. Instagram now has 14 million monthly active users in the UK who are logging onto the app 11 times a day. With data showing higher engagement rates and recall than many other social platforms, does your brand or business have an Instagram strategy yet?

For our latest Good Relations Digital Academy we explored opportunities with Gord Ray, Brand Development Lead for Europe from Instagram as well as London artist and Instagram influencer, Rich McCor, aka @paperboyo

So how do you start thinking about Instagram? Gord had three suggestions:

The visual vote

The human eye can recognise an image in 13 milliseconds so people are using Instagram as a rapid way to share passions. Their photos capture and share moments which are emotionally significant. There’s a reason the most Instagrammed city photo is Times Square rather than the Statue of Liberty, Gord explained: it’s because it’s a scene that evokes strong emotions despite not being the most iconic or beautiful part of New York.

Connect people to the world

Impressively, Instagram’s data shows people see images posted on the platform as three times more creative, imaginative and inspiring than on other platforms, including rival social platforms and print. That means there’s potential for really high engagement if you can find authentic ways to connect your audience with what you’re doing. For videos, grab viewer attention within the first three seconds and design video to be watched with sound off, which is how most people do it. And consider experimenting with exciting (and relatively new) formats like Hyperlapse, Layout and Boomerang – using them will show you speak the Instagram lingo.

Achieve business objectives

As with all social media, it’s critical to have a sound strategic reason for what you’re doing. You can then use Facebook’s sophisticated segmentation system (because Instagram is owned by Facebook) to laser target ads to your audience.

Meanwhile Rich showcased some of his fantastic images then gave his insight on how brands should be working with Instagram influencers. He stressed the importance of creative freedom (albeit within a framework) and that it always works best when both brand and influencer align around style and interest.

A point of view

Real-time relevance is always a big part of having a successful social media presence, whatever the channel. It’s easy to overproduce and overcomplicate production processes, and miss opportunities. At Good Relations we’ve now launched our own in-house Instagram Studio. It’s a dedicated facility with camera equipment and lighting, where we shoot bespoke for Instagram, rather than reuse ad content. It also means we’re quick and nimble, turning round imagery or animations in real-time, all of which is producing really high levels of engagement for our clients. Do you have an Instagram strategy? Contact me to find out how we can help.

Twitter changes — for the better?

The changes to Twitter announced yesterday really help make the platform easier and more accessible for more people and more brands.

The flipside is it’s easier for brands to spam users, upload more “push” content or shamelessly retweet themselves. It’s called social media, not antisocial media, and the PR nightmare begins when brands broadcast the wrong type of content in the wrong way.

[From comments I made to Gorkana]

Chatbots: what Microsoft’s ‘Tay’ teaches us

You don’t get PR by battening down the hatches; you need a point of view on the world and to be bold enough to try things out. People understand Chatbots are an early stage technology, which is prone to teething troubles.

Microsoft’s bot “Tay”, by way of one example, was hijacked – but, despite the embarrassment and offence it caused, actually highlighted the innovation behind the scenes at the company. The tech didn’t work out this time but it offered a glimpse of the future and showed a resurgence of innovation at Microsoft. It’s been part of helping reboot the reputation of the Seattle giant as the innovator it always was, rather than the corporate giant it has become seen as.

PRs play a critical role here. We work with CEOs, we deal in reputation, and we’re not afraid of entering conversations that we influence rather than control. That should make us the first choice for helping companies and brands deliver against their vision, and to experiment.

From comments I made to Gorkana