Los Angeles tourist board has just succeeded in doubling organic social media impressions for its #LAstory campaign to 25 million with the help of 15 Instagram influencers – so what are influencers and how can your social media strategy benefit from their input?

If you’re planning a social media campaign, you’ll want to ensure the key messages and calls to action reach as many members of your target audience as possible. One of the most effective ways of doing this involves tapping into the audience an influential blogger or user of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google Plus (or any other social media channel) has already built up in a relevant field. They’ve effectively done the hard work, so you don’t have to.

‘Factor in the level of engagement’ 

In an online world where Facebook likes and Twitter followers are advertised for sale, choosing an ‘influencer’ to work with is more complicated than simply comparing the size of their followings. It’s important to factor in the level of engagement on any social media profile because if those followers aren’t listening to or interested in the content being posted, then you’d be wasting time and money by getting involved.

‘Influencers are trusted by their followers to provide recommendations’

There are a great many big brands that have realised the potential of social media influencers to help them spread the word about relevant new products and services.

Most recently, Los Angeles tourist board succeeded in doubling organic social media impressions for its #LAstory campaign to 25 million in just three months with the help of 15 Instagram influencers (IGers) with between 38,000 and 234,000 followers.

We all understand the importance of good customer reviews when making a purchase online and influencers are trusted by their followers to provide recommendations. Some have enough clout to make a living from what they do – converting conversations into sales via sponsored tweets and Facebook posts.

‘One size definitely does not fit all’

Influencers will only be willing to work with brands that fit into their ethos. They’ve worked hard to build their own following and won’t sacrifice credibility for a quick buck. Readers and fans only trust an influencer’s opinion if it is genuine and can spot a sponsored post!

Some of the savviest influencers can charge £1,000s for their input – sharing photos, tweeting updates, writing blog posts – and rightly so if they can improve on the returns from other more traditional forms of advertising available. But it’s important to find the right fit for your business as one size definitely does not fit all…

Defining exactly who an influencer is will depend on what you’re trying to achieve – for example, the IGers being used in next season’s Marc by Marc Jacobs young fashion campaign would be far less effective if the campaign’s goal was to promote cruises to the over 50s.

Whilst it is true that certain networks are more popular with young adults, don’t assume that your target audience is not using social media in some shape or form… Even as far back as 2010 half of women over 55 were using social media channels, including Facebook and Twitter on a regular basis. And one of Digital Visitor’s latest campaigns – for Catalunya tourist board – involves working with a number of ‘mummy bloggers’.

Creating social media campaigns for a wide range of clients is what we do and helping to ensure their success by generating traffic in addition to valuable PR activity is a network of influential bloggers and other social media stars. So get in touch to see first-hand how working with influencers can boost your next social media campaign.