The PR BlogDigital PRInfluencers & AudiencesThe Influencers in Public Relations

The Influencers in Public Relations

Influencers play a key role in PR.

Cover photo: @jerrysilfwer

What are influ­en­cers in pub­lic relations?

Quantifying is often chal­len­ging, espe­cially when mak­ing sense of human beha­viour. But most of us are faced with cat­egor­ising influ­en­cers in social media anyway.

While you can find dif­fer­ent types of online influ­en­cers on vari­ous plat­forms, I’ve chosen to look more closely at the media com­monly tar­geted by businesses.

Here we go:

How To Categorise Influencers in PR

Influencers in Public Relations - Doctor Spin - The PR Blog
Influencers in pub­lic relations.

Influencers in Public Relations

In PR, influ­en­cers are indi­vidu­als who have man­aged to grow a sub­stan­tial audi­ence which has the poten­tial to affect a spe­cif­ic organ­isa­tion either pos­it­ively or negatively.

It’s there­fore import­ant to estab­lish and main­tain good rela­tion­ships with influ­en­cers who are stra­tegic­ally import­ant for the organisation.

I recom­mend using the fol­low­ing tiers and nam­ing con­ven­tions for cat­egor­ising dif­fer­ent types of influencers:

  • Nano influ­en­cer. Nano influ­en­cers are indi­vidu­als with a small yet engaged fol­low­ing, typ­ic­ally between 1,000 and 10,000 fol­low­ers (but this will vary based on both the plat­form and the niche), often focus­ing on niche interests and hav­ing a sol­id per­son­al con­nec­tion with their audience.
  • Micro influ­en­cer. Micro influ­en­cers have a mod­er­ately sized audi­ence, ran­ging from 10,000 to 50,000 fol­low­ers (but this will vary based on the plat­form and the niche). They are known for their expert­ise in spe­cif­ic fields or indus­tries, lead­ing to high­er engage­ment rates and a loy­al fanbase.
  • Macro influ­en­cer. Macro influ­en­cers pos­sess a more sig­ni­fic­ant fol­low­ing, usu­ally between 50,000 and 1 mil­lion fol­low­ers (but this will vary based on the plat­form and the niche). They have estab­lished them­selves as influ­en­tial fig­ures in their respect­ive fields, often col­lab­or­at­ing with brands for pro­mo­tions and partnerships.
  • Mega influ­en­cer. Mega influ­en­cers are high-pro­file indi­vidu­als with over 1 mil­lion fol­low­ers (but this will vary based on the plat­form and the niche), often includ­ing celebrit­ies and pub­lic fig­ures, who have a massive reach and can shape trends and drive con­sumer beha­viour on a large scale.

Learn more: The Influencers in Public Relations

How Influencer Ranges Vary Depending on Platform

To account for how dif­fer­ent types of cre­at­or-based plat­forms work, I use this mat­rix to cat­egor­ise social media influencers:

How to categorise influencers.
A mat­rix to cat­egor­ise social media influ­en­cers on cre­at­or platforms.

A few con­sid­er­a­tions for this matrix:

  • The above mat­rix is a gen­er­al approx­im­a­tion exposed to con­stant changes in the land­scape of cre­at­or-based plat­forms. It should not be used to cal­cu­late AVE (ad-value equivalence).
  • Perhaps Twitch or Pinterest should be included in your mat­rix? You should set up a table like this with approx­im­a­tions spe­cif­ic to your niche and organisation.

Different Platforms, Different Influence

On vary­ing cre­at­or-plat­form influ­ence, Mary Keane-Dawson, Group CEO of TAKUMI, writes:

Our research showed how trust is earned over time, with con­sumers tend­ing to trust influ­en­cers on leg­acy plat­forms such as YouTube more (28%) than those on new­er plat­forms such as Instagram (22%) and TikTok (15%).

However, influ­en­cers on both YouTube and TikTok fared well when com­pared to more tra­di­tion­al brand endorse­ments. 37% of 16 – 44-year olds trust a YouTube influ­en­cer more than a high-pro­file fig­ure or celebrity. Meanwhile on TikTok, almost a quarter (23%) of the same age group agreed they trust a TikTok influencer’s recom­mend­a­tion over a friend.

And the sur­vey shows how trust is con­vert­ing into sales for brands. Over a quarter (27%) of con­sumers have been influ­enced to pur­chase a product or ser­vice by cre­at­ors on YouTube in the past six months, fol­lowed by 24% of con­sumers on Instagram and 15% on TikTok. This increases to almost a quarter (23%) of 16 – 44 year-olds on the plat­form, show­ing how dif­fer­ent demo­graph­ics inter­act dif­fer­ently with each platform.”

Influencer Marketing vs Influencer Relations

Influencer Marketing vs Influencer Relations

There are four main types of influ­en­cer mar­ket­ing and influ­en­cer relations:

Influencer Marketing

Influencer advert­ising = The influ­en­cer will pub­lish the brand’s pre-made con­tent in their channels.

Influencer spon­sor­ship = The influ­en­cer will read a script to con­vey an offer­ing fol­low­ing the brand’s instructions.

Influencer Relations

Influencer col­lab­or­a­tion = The influ­en­cer show­cases the brand’s offer­ing by cre­at­ing con­tent sim­il­ar to the influ­en­cer­’s reg­u­lar content.

Influencer out­reach = The influ­en­cer receives invit­a­tions, demos, or exclus­ive mater­i­al with no ser­vice in return asked by the brand.

Advertising and spon­sor­ships are what we typ­ic­ally refer to as influ­en­cer mar­ket­ing. Collaborations and out­reach are typ­ic­ally referred to as influ­en­cer rela­tions.

Organisations look­ing to util­ise the poten­tial reach of rel­ev­ant influ­en­cers will be wise to pay atten­tion to these dis­tinc­tions. 1See also The Influencers in Public Relations (Doctor Spin).

Learn more: The Four Types of Influencer Marketing and Influencer Relations

Please sup­port my blog by shar­ing it with oth­er PR- and com­mu­nic­a­tion pro­fes­sion­als. For ques­tions or PR sup­port, con­tact me via jerry@​spinfactory.​com.

1 See also The Influencers in Public Relations (Doctor Spin).
Jerry Silfwer
Jerry Silfwer
Jerry Silfwer, alias Doctor Spin, is an awarded senior adviser specialising in public relations and digital strategy. Currently CEO at KIX Index and Spin Factory. Before that, he worked at Kaufmann, Whispr Group, Springtime PR, and Spotlight PR. Based in Stockholm, Sweden.

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