influencer

Influencer marketing seems to be all the rage among brands today, and for good reason. Influencers are aptly named because they have exactly that: influence over consumer decisions. In an environment in which consumers have low levels of trust, following influencers often helps them make decisions on purchases similarly to how they would base a purchase off the recommendation of a friend.

An influencer builds his or her career by promoting products or services online, usually on social media. By integrating these products into daily life and taking appealing photos or videos, an influencer accomplishes more than what straight, traditional advertising may otherwise be able to do.

Often, an influencer will sign a contract with a brand to promote products in exchange for product or monetary compensation. By promoting through appropriate influencers, a brand can reach new potential customers and harness the power of social media to bring their brand to a new level of exposure.

But is influencer marketing the right solution for every business? Perhaps not, so the decision to work with an influencer or an influencer agency should come after some dedicated research and qualifying questions.

Brand exposure is perhaps one of the most effective metrics to measure when it comes to using influencers in a marketing strategy. By establishing metrics that can be tracked, such as reach on posts, follower counts, or visits to a UTM link, a brand can measure the effectiveness of an influencer campaign. But it’s important to decide ahead of time what’s important and what will be quantified.

If a brand is newer to a space or has a newer product to promote, perhaps doing a round of influencer marketing is a viable solution. Influencers have different niches and numbers of followers, so selecting the right influencer for the right target demographic is also important.

For example, a brand selling health supplements would likely not find much success with an influencer dedicated to promoting travel, and vice versa. It can be tempting to only look at the hundreds of thousands of followers an influencer has and base a decision off of that alone, but this brings a risk of a message falling on deaf ears.

Another factor to keep in mind here is that of authenticity. Not all influencers are created equal, and sometimes the content does not reflect the level of genuine buy-in that brands desire. Of course, this isn’t what’s important to every brand, so again the question must be asked of what matters most to this specific brand. Many customers crave authentic connections online, which is an area in which influencers are particularly strong. Content published by influencers can often be viewed as more genuine, less advertorial — but make sure to do a pre-check of the content an influencer publishes before making a decision.

Working with influencers can pay off in a big way for a brand seeking exposure or brand visibility. It’s important to remember that every influencer is a bit different, and going in with a clear strategy with measurable KPIs will help answer the question of whether or not influencer marketing is the right answer for your brand.

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Ronn Torossian is the Founder, President and CEO of New York-based 5W Public Relations. He has overseen the company's rapid growth and expansion to the Inc. 500 list, as well as provided counsel to hundreds of companies, including members of the Fortune 500, Inc. 500 and Forbes 400. His work spans global interests, corporate entities, high-profile individuals, regional business entities, government agencies and academic institutions - both on routine public relations matters and extremely sensitive issues. One of the foremost public relations experts in the U.S., Torossian is known for his aggressive, results-focused orientation, as well as his close working relationships with members of the media, influencers, decision makers, politicians and celebrities. At 5W Public Relations, Torossian's client experience has included programs for Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Anheuser-Busch, Barnes & Noble, Cantor Fitzgerald, IHOP, McDonald's, Evian, EDS, VeriSign, XM Radio, Seagram's, The Loews Regency, Bad Boy Worldwide Entertainment, Marriott Hotels, Vail Resorts, Pamela Anderson, Snoop Dogg, the Government of Israel, and others. Referred to by The New York Post as a "publicity guru," by Fox News as a "high-powered PR CEO," by Tyra Banks as a "crisis management guru," and by CNN as "a leading PR expert," Torossian is regularly featured in and quoted by the media, including by CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, NBC, The New York Times, and others. CBS National News said "Ronn Torossian knows spin," and a New York Times feature story on Torossian referred to him as "The consummate hard-driving, scrappy NY publicist." Earlier in his career, Torossian was a Vice President/Group Director for one of The InterPublic Group's (IPG) largest PR agencies, where he was responsible for significant client growth and successful client programs, including work for Clinique, Fox News Channel, DHL, Hard Rock Café and others. A resident of Manhattan’s Upper West Side, Torossian was named to the Advertising Age "40 Under 40" list, PR Week's "40 Under 40" List, is a regular lecturer at universities and conferences, a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and a board member of numerous non-profit organizations.