Brands of all sizes spend on influencer advertising—from the small-scale ones spending less than $10k annually to the bigger, popular brands, churning out over $500k annually.
This benchmark report shows that’s nearly 3x more spending than last year.
Yet, Statista estimates that influencer marketing accounts for only 4.1 percent of overall digital advertising spending.
Image via Datareportal
What does this tell you? There’s still plenty of room for growth.
In fact, you can leverage influencer marketing, not just for overall marketing but for public relations (PR), too.
An effective PR influencer strategy will help you anticipate your target audience’s behavior and capitalize on it, whether you have a PR crisis or not.
In this article, I’ll discuss why you should leverage influencer marketing for PR.
Influencer marketing and PR defined
Influencer marketing is a strategy that relies on collaborations with social media influencers to promote products and services. These influencers recommend your products to their audience, turning them into potential customers.
A PR strategy, on the other hand, defines how your target audience perceives your brand. They’re actions you take to increase brand awareness and establish credibility.
If you look at the definitions, it’s clear influencer marketing and PR don’t really contradict each other. In fact, you can use influencer marketing as part of your PR strategy. Why should you use influencer marketing for PR?
Let’s look at five clear benefits.
5 benefits of using influencer marketing for PR
Influencers command much authority on social media platforms.
TikTok influencers, for instance, know what’s trending on TikTok and build content around it to garner their audience’s trust.
These trends can add value to your PR campaign if you collaborate with relevant influencers in your industry.
Below are five other reasons why you should use influencer marketing for PR:
1. It helps build credibility.
No matter your industry, there’s always competition. If you want to get ahead of them, you need to boost your credibility with your audience. This is something that can’t be done overnight (usually). After all, trust takes some time to earn.
That’s where influencers come in. Involving influencers in your PR campaign can help you gain your audience’s trust faster. Influencers already have followers who trust them because they’re honest with their opinions and thoughts.
Hence, if these influencers promote your brand even with just one post, your brand can instantly appear trustworthy to their audience.
In other words, influencer marketing can help boost your credibility for PR. With a trustworthy reputation, new customers are encouraged to purchase from your brand, increasing patronage.
So, ask influencers to promote your products. Here’s a perfect example of a brand using this strategy. Logitech, the computer and software company, partnered with Sawyer Hartman to review their iPad keyboard case:
Just make sure the products your chosen influencer will review are top-notch. Influencers also have a reputation to maintain, after all, and they don’t want to recommend a product that won’t quite cut it with their followers or they risk losing credibility themselves.
You can also use referral campaigns to amplify the results of your influencer campaign for PR. Your chosen influencer can provide promo links and discount codes to followers so they can refer your product to others.
Finally, don’t try to micromanage your influencers’ content. They know their audience and what they respond to. Respect that that is what you are paying them for.
2. It allows you to reach a targeted audience.
Because of the ever-expanding digital world, finding your target audience and the platforms they use can be a challenge.
But influencers already have a number of followers with similar characteristics. So, if you reach out to just this one person, you can easily reach thousands, if not millions, of the people you were looking for. This is important for launching PR campaigns.
Let’s say you’re a fashion brand wanting to promote a social event for all your young, loyal followers. To reach them, all you need to do is look for an Instagram or TikTok influencer and ask them to announce your event. Since the influencer holds sway over their followers, you can expect this target audience to accept your brand message.
Combine this strategy with a consumer product PR agency that can help you disseminate your message to traditional media, and you can expect the best results when it comes to promoting your event.
In other words, influencer marketing can help you streamline your PR efforts.
You can also leverage them during the event itself. Let’s look at a real-life example. Peugeot wanted to target 18- to 24-year-olds for their Brussels Motor Show. So, they reached out to influencers to cover the event:
Peugeot worked with both macro and micro influencers for giveaways and storytelling. They reached an audience size of 1 million people with their influencer campaign.
You can also leverage influencers to get specific people to take an action as part of your PR campaign. For instance, Pepsi wanted to encourage millennials to buy more Pepsi at Walgreens. So, they produced limited edition packaging with #SayItWithPepsi and #Pepsimoji hashtag campaigns. They partnered with celebrity influencers to make organic-style content on the campaign:
It was a strong campaign plan that drove millennials to buy. The campaign also got a lot of impressions and engagements.
3. It ensures increased brand awareness.
It’s unlikely that everyone knows about your brand. That’s where PR can help. PR is all about ensuring your brand has a good reputation. But you can only have this good reputation if you show people you represent the values they believe in, too.
This is where influencer partnerships come in.
You can boost brand awareness by directing your target audience’s attention to the kind of brand you are.
Popular fashion brand Dior, for instance, used influencers to create awareness of a core value the company believes in: diversity.
They partnered with Buttermilk, an influencer marketing agency, to get influencers to participate in their 67 Shades of Skin campaign:
— Winning at B2B Influencer Marketing (@winfluencermktg) September 22, 2020
This PR influencer strategy was successful because the 67 influencers combined have a high follower count. The campaign generated an audience reach of 2.6 million.
Absolut Vodka gathered influencers passionate about protecting the environment. The company collaborated with them to share events showcasing Absolut’s commitment to sustainability:
Two members of our team were lucky enough to visit Åhus this week to see the home of Absolut Vodka in Sweden. The Absolut Home just opened and hopes to welcome 40,000 visitors next year. The true #SpiritOfEurope and a great example of #SpiritsTourism up North! Skål! 🇸🇪🍸 pic.twitter.com/LPaELj5voE
— spiritsEUROPE (@spiritsEUROPE) December 4, 2019
The events also included a visit to Absolut’s Swedish production factory and its contribution to the local neighborhood.
Want another example? Here’s one. Dunkin’ wanted to portray itself as a brand that values fun and creativity. So they collaborated with influencers to celebrate National Donut Day:
With the campaign, Dunkin’ reached a whopping 3 million people! Many of them probably only knew Dunkin’ as a donut brand. After the campaign, they most likely concluded that Dunkin’ is not just your ordinary pastry brand. It stands out because it’s fun and exciting!
To replicate these brands’ success, you must:
- Again, encourage influencers to rely on their creativity to create engaging content for you. But make sure you brief them on the brand value you wish to highlight in their content.
- Complement your influencer marketing strategy for PR with your own ad campaigns. Just make sure you optimize Facebook ad campaigns, for instance, if you decide to target people on Facebook. Do the same if you’re running the same ad campaign on Twitter, TikTok, or other social media platforms.
In essence, a well-optimized influencer campaign will amplify your PR-led efforts of creating awareness of what you stand for. In the process, you improve your reputation.
4. It helps boost your social media presence.
Building a social media presence is key if you want your PR strategy to be effective. Gone are the days brands would only try to find ways to have their press release published in traditional media. Nowadays, their target audience is also on social media. That means brands need to have that press release issued on social media, too.
The thing is, your target audience’s social media preferences and the digital landscape are constantly changing. In other words, your target audience doesn’t stay put on a platform. They like to follow trends, too.
Just to illustrate this point, remember that time Facebook was the go-to social media platform? What happened when TikTok came along? Since it was a shiny new toy, many migrated to the video-based social channel.
So, what do you do if your target audience suddenly shifts to another platform you have no presence in? You can boost your following on that social media platform in an instant by leveraging influencers.
Dbrand, a company that sells phone and laptop skins, did this. It partnered with Marques Brownlee, a famous tech YouTuber, to boost its social media presence (see screenshot above). The YouTuber urged the audience to follow him and Dbrand on Twitter if they wanted a chance to win Note 8s, and on Instagram, to win iPhone 10s.
The giveaway was a great PR influencer strategy that helped boost both the influencer’s and the brand’s following.
The History Channel, an American television network, also used influencers to boost its social media presence.
The network had just set up its TikTok account, hoping to get a new set of potential followers.
@cookingwithlynja #sponsored Staying Curious with @HISTORY #todayilearned ♬ original sound – Lynja
It was a successful influencer marketing campaign, and thousands of people followed the History Channel’s TikTok account after its launch. You can expect to get Instagram likes, Facebook shares, and other forms of engagement with your content as a result.
5. It’s cost-effective.
Influencer marketing for PR is cost-effective. Just think about it.
With influencer marketing, brands don’t need to hire professional models and photographers to create amazing content for reputation management. For a flat fee, influencers, by themselves, can already produce and distribute this quality content.
In other words, brands can save on production costs.
With influencer marketing, you can also track your efforts to ensure you get your money’s worth. You can use tools like GRIN’s Creator Management platform to track various metrics like budget, spending, conversions, revenue, and more. You can use this data to tweak your influencer marketing campaigns for PR and generate better results the next time around.
In other words, if you include an influencer program in your PR strategy, its affordability gives you room to make mistakes and learn from them.
When you do get the hang of it, as the brand examples have shown in this article, you can expect amazing PR results.
Key takeaway: Using an influencer marketing strategy for PR will help you generate the best results for your brand.
Whether you have a PR crisis or just want to boost brand recognition, influencers can sway public opinion in your favor. They can also become brand advocates if they love your products and services.
You learned the five benefits of using influencer marketing for PR. It helps you build credibility, reach a targeted audience, and increase brand awareness. It can also help boost your social media presence. Plus, it’s cost-effective.
Use influencer marketing for PR in 2023, and you will start to reap the best results.