By Annabel Beyra, APR

One of the biggest requests I get from clients is “Can you help us in engaging with influencers?” The short answer is yes, but it’s actually a bit more complicated than that.

The fact of the matter is that not every brand has an influencer knocking down – or even on their door. So the actual hard part is trying to identify that personality that has some type of connection -real or imagined- with a company’s brand, and lest not forget, actually uses and is a fan of their products. While you may want the biggest celebrity names to represent your company, they should also want you back. After all, today’s savvy consumer sees right through forced relationships that don’t appear genuine in the least bit.

Take Matthew McConaughey’s association with Lincoln. He was the perfect celebrity/personality “pitch man” to enlist for their now famous idiosyncratic commercials that have generated much buzz on shows like Ellen. McConaughey is not only, let’s just say, an interesting storyteller, he is also passionate about the road and all things automotive. Clearly Lincoln is trying to identify with a more youthful audience and is banking on reaching consumers who can identify with McConaughey or find him immensely attractive, present company included. Turns out that the association with McConaughey may have turned Lincoln’s fortunes around as they’ve seen a significant uptick in sales. Now the question is, can it be sustained? Time will tell.

Not every company can afford or has access to an A- or B-lister like McConaughey. They can still tap other interesting up and coming personalities that have something interesting to offer and say. These personalities, or influencers, can be persuaded to work wonders and can unlock the potential for a company to engage with a new legion of followers and consumers. Why? Simply because they may need you as much as you need them and it shows. Sometimes getting in on the ground floor with these personalities can pay dividends down the road when they hit it big.

Here are some points to consider when engaging with influencers:

  1. Does the influencer know and like your brand? They should really be a user or consumer of your brand to have that believability factor.
  2. How can you collaborate with your influencer? Is it supporting one or several events with sponsorship support? Is it providing product for giveaway during one of the influencer’s own events? Note: Some influencers require payment for their endorsement and they should disclose this.
  3. Can you provide a platform for them to tell their story and showcase what they do?
  4. Consider social media platforms to amplify your collaborative relationship. Tagging can be powerful.
  5. Consider creating a venue where all influencers may converge. In other words, consider creating a community for them.
  6. Think short term and long term goals for collaborating with your influencer.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, what’s important is that it should be a reflective process, which starts by “going back to see where you came from, where you been, how you got here, see where you’re going.” Thanks Matthew.

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