10.15.2015

Gaining Trust Online; The Power of the Influencer

In the past, the public relations industry was more traditional. There used to only be a small group of media outlets that controlled the dissemination of information. Today, we have more news channels and websites than ever before, and a new category of online influencers – e.g., bloggers, subject matter experts, social media mavens and key customers. These influencers span a variety of industries and are making an impact on social media, blogs, news sites, and more. By working with these third party influencers, public relations professionals can help foster trusting relationships between brands and consumers.

For example, one of today’s most niche yet influential audiences is millennial moms. Based on a study sponsored by BabyCenter, only 20 percent of millennial moms are likely to trust an article or video after noticing that it is sponsored by a brand. They question everything and only engage with brands once the brand earns their trust.

They need to be:

Engaged and enrolled

Inspired to purchase

Given information from friends they trust, not brands

One effective way for a brand to reach millennial moms is through working with mom bloggers. Mom bloggers can write about specific beats, such as allergy-free foods, DIY, shopping savings tips, fitness, and more.

For example, mom blogs such as Lexie’s Kitchen and Fork and Beans feature allergy-free and fun food recipes, Thrifty Nifty Mommy writes product reviews and does frequent giveaways and promotions. There are also mom blogs specific to certain areas, like Mile High Mamas and Colorado Moms.

If the mom bloggers endorse a brand or features a brand in a product review, they can build brand authenticity and trust for a niche group of consumers.

Case Study: Engaging with Influential Bloggers

In 2013, COHN worked with Sun Cups to promote the brand as a safe and delicious nut and gluten-free chocolate candy that everyone could enjoy. With an objective to increase engagement and generate new customers for the brand, COHN targeted the PR campaign to niche communities via influential bloggers.

By working with influential mom and allergy-friendly food bloggers, Sun Cups developed an authentic narrative

• Messaging was focused on making kids happy and easing mothers’ worries about their children’s food allergies; both kids and moms could trust Sun Cups to be allergy-free and delicious, too

To have examples for the bloggers and to show the various creative ways to use the product, Sun Cups also blogged about its own recipes

Timing for outreach was around Halloween to show that Sun Cups offered a great treat option that would include more kids during this major candy-driven holiday

Combined with blogger outreach, COHN also planned social media content development, a social ad campaign, a Halloween email and a Cyber Monday email

The results?

Sun Cups was featured in a wide range of niche outlets, including Living Without, Gluten Free Mike, Nutrimom — Food Allergy, Picky Eater, the Food Allergy Mom and Celiac Family

One paid Facebook campaign drove a 600 percent increase in referral traffic to www.suncups.com

There was a 60 percent increase in online sales due to blogger engagement and social media campaigns

PR continues to be a powerful tool in gaining trust, and that trust is a bigger factor than ever in influencing purchase decisions online. By evolving a PR approach to extend beyond traditional and into the influencer relations, online marketing and social media space, PR continues to have an important seat at the table when it comes to converting audience and driving ROI.

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