Report: Influencer Marketing and Public Opinion
There has been an incredible amount of discussion and debate about influencer marketing in recent years. Most think of influencer marketing as high-priced celebrities with millions of followers being paid enormous sums to be seen online with an international consumer product brand. In some industries, huge proportions of marketing budgets are committed to this type of marketing. It is estimated ⅔ of all advertising dollars in the beauty and makeup industry now are committed to mega-influencers. This gush of spending is starting to cause a counter-reaction, with analysts asking tough questions about whether or not the efficacy of this spending can be supported with strong ROI metrics.
For most of us working in public infrastructure industries, this is all a sideshow. We’re never going to pay a Kardashian $1,000,000 to be seen on Instagram riding the city bus. This doesn’t mean, however, we shouldn’t pay attention to influencer marketing; we just need to pay attention to the right kind of influencer marketing. It turns out there is a type of influencer marketing that is still under-exploited and under-valued — micro-influencer marketing.
Micro-influencers are social media accounts with under 1,000 followers. It turns out engagement rates and public trust with these accounts is higher relative to mega-influencers. Your ability to engage with micro-influencers can unquestionably increase the public’s trust in your message and enhances your ability to impact public opinion. There are several significant challenges, however:
- It is difficult and time-consuming to identify micro-influencers.
- It’s not always obvious or easy to connect with and engage micro-influencers.
- Even once micro-influencers are identified and engaged, an effective effort requires regular and ongoing management.
AlphaVu has developed a customized approach to enhance your ability to measure and effect public opinion through your use of a micro-influencer strategy. Our technology also helps agencies identify influencers quickly and track their engagement over time.
AlphaVu uses a combination of algorithmic and manual detection of micro-influencers. Our specialized approach focuses on identifying micro-influencer accounts with potential relevance to public infrastructure organizations and with demonstrable community rootedness. We also down-select micro-influencers to those exhibiting certain civic characteristics that are specific to each client. We call these special micro-influencers Power Players™. Our algorithmic approach identifies measurable reach and topical authority on Twitter.
Facebook and Instagram do not yet allow algorithmic measurement, so Power Player identification there requires a more manual approach.
Power Player™ Engagement
Effective Power Player engagement requires an all-strategies approach. Depending on the list or the circumstance you may:
- Reach out to Power Players by phone, email, or direct mail.
- Engage Power Players on social by following accounts and direct messaging.
- Create a targeted list of Power Players for digital advertising. This is available in limited cases.
Knowing when to reach Power Players and with what message is also important. Because meaningful Power Player outreach takes time, it’s important to engage micro-influencers during the early stages of an ongoing campaign.
Power Players should feel you have their interests and priorities in mind when reaching them. Below are example scenarios where Power Player outreach is beneficial:
- Your agency is holding a series of public meetings at different community centers around the service area. Reach out to Power Players who live near or are affiliated with organizations in that community; let them know you have identified them as a key community player and invite them to attend the meeting and/or ask them to encourage others they know to attend.
- Your agency is promoting a new service that will benefit residents in a particular corridor of your region. Reach out to Power Players in the area, either through direct outreach or digital marketing, with information about the service and a request to share information with others they know.
- Your agency is promoting organic engagement on your social media pages by holding a free ticket giveaway. Tag Power Players or message them to share the post
In many circumstances, it helps to offer Power Players an incentive -free rides, special facilities tours, or small group briefings. Remember, most Power Players are pretty normal community members, not professional influencers, so when you engage with them you should carefully explain the purpose and benefits of your outreach.
Power Player™ Management
Because Power Players are real people not making a living from social engagement, like the rest of us they have jobs, families, and community activities keeping them busy. You should not expect they will continue to pay attention to your cause and promote it without ongoing outreach and maintenance from you. There may be times when short-term engagement will benefit a specific project or purpose, but if your goal is to enhance your ability to influence public opinion and build community trust, Power Player engagement must be a regular and ongoing function. You may initially reach out to dozens or hundreds of Power Players in a campaign. Over time those who engage with you repeatedly become valuable assets and actually community members of your communications team. Power Player outreach isn’t easy, but it can result in big benefits.
You may initially reach out to dozens or hundreds of Power Players in a campaign. Over time those who engage with you repeatedly become valuable assets and actually community members of your communications team. Power Player outreach isn’t easy, but it can result in big benefits.
Sadly, public trust in public agencies is at an all-time low. Identifying and engaging Power Players helps you attach to real members of your community with measurable influence. Their trust in the community becomes your own, thereby enhancing your brand and improving the effectiveness of your reach. AlphaVu is here to help you in this effort by identifying micro-influencers who can help you improve public opinion and increase awareness of your mission.