Derek is a Coordinator of Influencer Relations at APEX PR. He gave us some insight into his world of working with influencers and why it’s important to public relations.
- What got you into working with influencers?
“After working in more corporate communications settings I knew I wanted to make the move into agency. I wanted to be more involved in the strategy and the creative process behind a brand’s communication. An opportunity presented itself after graduation in a small boutique agency that specialized in influencer relations and marketing. During my time there I acted as a talent manager for various lifestyle, fitness and fashion influencers across Canada where I helped brands create influencer strategy campaigns to help promote and elevate their PR strategies.”
- Why do you think influencers are so important to public relations?
“The media landscape is changing faster than ever. With traditional media outlets slowly declining and traditional advertising tactics being seen as inauthentic, influencers provide a platform for brands to connect with their audiences on a more personal level. Influencers allow brands to target niche markets and help curate online conversations with their followers who see them as a trusted source, and in many cases an online friend.”
- What makes a good influencer?
“Influencers who partner with brands and products they already use and love. It makes it so much easier to get great content if that product fits naturally into everyday lives. There’s no denying the allure of authenticity for brands and consumers, so it’s important for an influencer to stay true to themselves and to their audiences.
I think the influencer also needs to know what sets them apart from the rest. Whether it’s their multi-coloured hair, cool tattoos or girl next door image, they need to find their niche and showcase their personalities when pitching themselves to brands and agencies. Pretty photos can only take you so far.”
- Do you think the role of influencers will evolve in the future?
“Absolutely. Just like everything else, things change. I think as we see a decline in traditional media sources you will see traditional journalism and social media influencers continue to merge. I think we will also see a rise in more live video based content as well as the emergence of “nano influencers” (300-10,000 followers). Influencers with smaller audiences allow brands to target a specific community, which is incredibly valuable to brands when trying to reach a target consumer.”
- How do you pick the influencers you use for a campaign?
“It all comes down to the client and the specific needs of the campaign. At the end of the day I try to find someone that will authentically speak to the brand’s messaging. It’s less about the number of followers and more about finding someone who is truly passionate about the brand.”
- What is the best part about working with an influencer?
“I think it really comes down to the relationships you build with them. For myself I worked really closely with the influencers I managed and we got to know a lot about one and other. So I have to say my favourite part about working with influencers is the friendships you build.”
- What is your favourite memory of working with an influencer?
“I don’t think I can pick a specific memory, but I love getting to meet them, and learning why they are so passionate about what they do. For many this is more than just a hobby, so to see them succeed in something they love to do is always a great thing.”