Conducting ethical influencer relations
Influencer relations is a hot topic in communications and done well, can be employed strategically as part of a public relations programme to help achieve campaign objectives. But, as a professional communicator, how do you go about having an ethical and effective approach to influencer relations?
Across the world, millions of blog posts are written every day and even more images posted on Instagram and other social channels. So how do you sort the wheat from the chaff? Ensure that you’re putting your brand in front of the right people, on the right platforms, who have the potential to help you reach a highly-engaged audience? And, those who share an affinity with your brand, its purpose and products?
There’s no short answer. You can use an online tool to help you whittle down your search, but by no means is it a case of ‘job done’. Just like a traditional press list, creating and building an influencer list needs the same time, care and dedication.
Once you’ve found your influencers, apply the KISS principle and keep your pitches simple, short and straight to the point. For fear of sounding like The Four Tops, when you ‘reach out’ to your targets, remember to answer the W questions in your pitch – who, what, where, when and why. Be clear about payment too. Content creators are not the same as traditional media. Many will be expecting to be paid for the collaboration.
As professional communicators, we work hard to build relationships between brands and their target audiences, while doing all that we can to protect and preserve brand reputation. So, when working ethically with influencers, it’s not only a legal requirement for you to get it right, it’s in everyone’s best interest to maintain the integrity and trust in the brand you’re representing.
This includes following the regulations set out by the ASA, CMA, Google and the different requirements of each and every social media platform the sponsored content will appear on. Not to mention, if you’re a member of the PRCA or CIPR, you also need to keep in mind the ethics of the respective Codes of Conduct too.
Piecing it all together
Moral of the story is, to get the most out of your influencer relations efforts, do your homework. From researching the right influencer, tailoring your approach and keeping up-to-date with the latest rules and regulations to setting out your stall and terms of business. As a professional communicator, it’s your job to protect the brands you represent, and the nuances of influencer relations is something we all need to get-up-to-speed with to do our job ethically and effectively!
Even better, come along to PRFest and attend Anne-Marie and Deb’s session on influencer relations. Find out how you can work legally, ethically and strategically with influencers to achieve your organisational objectives through the duo’s dynamic and interactive workshop.