PR Discussion: Social Media Influencers (part 2 of series)

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In our last post we introduced the idea of what a social media influencer is what they can offer in the most general sense. Let’s dig down a little deeper and try and figure out how to see if this marketing strategy can work for you.

As we go down this road, it is important to highlight that this type of marketing is a sort of hybrid between PR and advertising. This type of marketing is not free (it will either cost money or at the very least a night's stay or more at your establishment) in the way that editorial coverage comes without a direct cost from the journalist (although it takes time, effort, or the help of a qualified PR professional). It can look a lot like editorial coverage in its presentation and is consumed by the audience in somewhat the same way as editorial coverage (although it is NOT editorial coverage)

I am sure that many inns and boutique hotels have been approached by influencers. It is this approach that was the catalyst for our blog post last month. Dealing with influencers is something that is new territory for most property owners. The influencers that we all know about, i.e. the Kardashians and Jenners, operate on a scale that is not really relevant to the needs and budget of any inn or boutique hotel that I am aware of. So…if you are approached by an influencer or want to approach an influencer yourself, what things should you keep in mind? What types of things are going to help produce a relationship that suits your needs?

Look for two important pieces of information:

  • How big is the following of this influencer? Consider three tiers of influencers – under 100,000 followers (micro influencers), 100,000 followers to 999,999 followers (medium influencers), and 1 million or more (macro influencers). As you would naturally assume, there is a cost and expectation difference in these three strata.

  • Take a look at the audience itself. This is crucial to your needs. When it comes down to it, even a million people- may be irrelevant to you - if they are not the kind of travelers that tend to come to your town or your establishment.

How does one accomplish this? Follow the influencers on their platform, read their blog, or watch their vlog. You will get the best idea of what they could do for you by looking at their content and watching the interactions they have with their followers. You will learn a lot about the influencer and a lot about their audience.

Third, create a very specific concept of what you want. What audience do you want to reach and when do you want to reach them? What do you you want this audience to see? Certainly your website should be clickable in this content – how many clicks should you anticipate seeing from this? And most of all, what is it worth to you to get these things?

Lastly, reach out to the influencer that you think is best for you and start a conversation. As many things that have come around post-internet, there is not a lot of standardization in the cost of all of this. I can say with certainty that the Kardashians are the most expensive…beyond that the cost/value assessment is yours to make.

Here are some ballpark numbers:
Instagram - $10 per 1000 followers - $250 to $750 per 1000 engagements
You Tube - $20 per 1000 subscribers - $50 to $100 per 1000 video views
Snap Chat - $10 per 1000 followers - $100 per 1000 views

Keep in mind that anybody over 45, this includes me, is most certainly a little skeptical of this paradigm. As far as I can tell, the ratio of hard working self starter to charlatan is the same here as in any other business or profession. While this is a murky corner of the marketing world, it is a real way to reach people.

Our blog post last month started out with and article about angry resort owners telling these influencers to get a real job and to stop freeloading. Is this just a sort of shouting at the neighborhood kids to “get off my lawn”? A little bit. I get it. At the same time there is opportunity here. I am not sure there is a tried and true method to proceed, particularly if budgets are small. However, everybody’s needs and wants are different and we are hopeful that this information and these thoughts will leave you prepared if/when this opportunity arises….to say “yes” and proceed with enough information for success…or say a completely informed “no”.