The role of influencers

The role of influencers: identifying, reaching and engaging

At this morning's Exchange debate, our panel of senior communicators, Bian Sallins, Head of Social, TSB, Andrew Rivett-Carnac, Partner, Headland, Chris Woods, Head of Digital, Drax Group and David Morris, Communications Director, Europe, GE Healthcare explored the role of influencers…

“Reach is not the most important factor, it's credibility”

The panel was in strong agreement that credibility and audience are the most important considerations, and are far more valuable than reach, when identifying influencers. One panel member stated; "It's best for brands to stick to what they know”. Build different lists of influencers around different topics and themes for relevance, don’t be swayed by reach.

And make sure you’re arming influencers with the relevant information; “You can’t communicate with someone intelligently unless you know their current focus. As a corporate it’s about making sure influencers are better informed and can tell your story - don’t forget the basics!”

“Identifying influencers isn’t rocket science”

“It's not rocket science, it’s your job to know your influencers” advised one panel member, who also raised the point of not forgetting about your staff and internal experts when identifying the right influencers for your brand. Use your staff as a source of information; “Old school works best, talk to colleagues, find out who you should know, that you don't know”

And as a B2C brand, how do you cut through the chatter? "Balance what your brand stands for vs what the consumer cares about".

“Utilise your employees to amplify your reach”

The panel advised that brands should take the same approach with employees as they would with external influencers; “Employees can be a strong voice for your business. Encourage them to share content based on their expertise". Don’t lose sight of the potential of staff as influencers.

In light of this, one point raised was the issue of companies being led by "fear culture" - finding internal influencers too high a risk to their brand. One panel member advised that that there will always be grievances online, you just need to engage in the right way. "If you have done the right identification and found the right influencers, you're less likely to fall foul"

You can read extended coverage of the discussion in the next edition of CorpComms Magazine and catch up on the highlights on Twitter using our hashtag - #KMexchange

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Claire Melly
Head of Marketing, UK & Ireland

Call me +44 (0)20 3130 7424