This week I attended PR Week’s Influencer Breakfast Briefing. With our work at Nobull focusing on creating campaigns with many bloggers and influencers, it was a useful event to attend. And when there is a selection of pastries and coffee on offer who am I to say no!?
Danny Rogers, Editor-in-chief, began the briefing saying the third age of the internet for PR is the era of the influencers, with the first two eras being email communications and social media development. When you look back at the history of PR, this is huge!
Much to my delight Danny spoke about, my favourite person in the world, Joe Wicks. If you don’t know about Joe Wicks he built a health and fitness empire all through social media and is estimated to turnover £1 MILLION per month! This made me think about what it is that makes Joe Wicks an influencer to me? Apart from his face carved from the gods, he’s likeable and people trust his opinion. That’s an influencer, someone with an authentic voice. I’m hardly the type to go following health brands on Instagram (e.g. I had left over cheesecake for breakfast this morning) but I trust that Joe Wicks will make me healthy (if I throw away the cheesecake).
In the September/October issue Joe says that he has turned away hundreds of brands offering bags of money because he isn’t interested and said ‘whatever you do, you’ve got to make sure your putting out a really great product and not just advertising anything for the sake of it’. And when Chris McCaff spoke, he validated this even more: ‘Reach is not the only metric’, it’s far more important that an influencer you hope to work with has a genuine connection with their audience, not 50 million followers.
With the exciting movement of influencers introducing new capabilities in PR, comes a new set of rules to follow. The panel at the Breakfast Briefing featured two regulators from the Advertising Standards Authority and Competition and Marketing Authority. You might be aware of recent rules for influencers’ posts to be labelled #ad for any paid collaboration, but the ASA can give hefty fines for brands that share misleading content via influencers.
Whose responsibility is it to make sure content is not misleading or an offence? The PRs, the influencers or the brands? It’s the PRs, after all isn’t our job defined as communications?
After hearing about three very different and successful influencer campaign case studies it was inspiring and clear to see the ways in which influencers can be used to shape and build campaigns. One of my favourite parts of my job is getting to work with bloggers and influencers, and I can’t wait to continue this!