Online influencers are the second most powerful promoters of a product or service, second only to your closest friends and family. Beyond getting into touch with a specific customer’s favourite aunt, the easiest way to see a recommendation lead to a purchase, or drive a specific action, is to work with influential online personalities.

Heidi Sullivan, Cision’s senior vice president of product, spoke to Holtz Communication + Technology principal Shel Holtz at the IABC World Conference in New Orleans last month about how he’s worked with influencers and tips for communication professionals to do so.


1. Use tools to help identify influencers

“They are really the most important effective means of marketing these days,” said Holtz, who works with brands like Mattel and Transamerica Financial Corporation. “The main thing that’s changed is that there are tools that help you identify influencers for specific project and in specific niches.”

A media database tool enables brands to find influencers who are open to receiving pitches and provides public relations professionals the information they need to build an effective pitch.

2. Pick influencers by niche

According to Holtz, everyone has influence. However, someone who has influence over their children may be less effective resource than someone who has influence over an industry.

“You want to find someone that people are turning to, those who have people checking the posts on LinkedIn,” he says. “People are going to them to consume information.”

Review influencers by their impact in the conversation and measure the engagement their posts receive versus other contenders. You may find that it isn’t always the person with the most followers who truly have the most influence.

3. Learn about influencer marketing regulations

Governments in Canada and the United States are cracking down on disclosure rules. Bell Canada recently received a $1.5 million penalty for astroturfing, which is the practice of paying employees to write positive reviews about your brand. This, in essence, is what’s happening when influencer fail to disclose that they’ve been paid for a post.

It is also important to be specific about what you want from an influencer to ensure that your campaign is effective. Holtz worked in this function with IBM in promotion of a conference and the company ask him to produce a very specific number of post and social messages.

Learn more about Cision Canada’s media database, book a demo with our team today!

About James Rubec

James Rubec is a data geek, a former public relations lead and journalist with a love of content and advocacy. Ask him anything @JamesRRubec and be sure to follow @Cision_Canada

Read previous post:
How to Filter Out Similar Names in PR Monitoring

Public relations professionals often face issues when monitoring a brand because the company has a similar name to another organization,...