I had the pleasure to listen in on PRWeek’s 7 Steps to Influencer Marketing: Rise Above the Noise webinar this week with Lyle Stevens, CEO and co-founder of Mavrck and Cass Gowing, Global Social Media Manager of AllSaints. The webinar covered the basics of influencer marketing and the reasons why PR pros should embrace it. Here are my key takeaways:

Influencer marketing should be part of your communications plan.

Digital ads have become essential for any marketing plan and continue to rise in importance as social platforms make it harder and harder for brand content to get to its audience. Influencer marketing is on its way to becoming just as important, and for similar reasons. The harder it gets for a brand to reach its consumer, the easier it is for one of your friends to reach you with their opinion. Influencer marketing allows brands to communicate their messaging through individuals its audiences know and trust. This opens the door for influencers to leave a huge impact on your target audience, which should not be overlooked.

Micro-influencers are more important than you think.

When you hear influencer marketing we often think of celebrities like actors, singers or models sharing a brand’s content. But this is not always the case. There are three types of influencers: mega, macro and micro. Mega influencers are celebrities with over 1 million followers; macro influencers are bloggers or journalists that have a decent following in a given sector; and micro influencers are the current customers and engaged fans you already have. Mega-influencers are not the only influencers worth activating. Believe it or not, micro-influencers are more effective in certain ways, often resulting in a higher level of engagement, percentage of audience reached and rate of completed conversions.

There’s a time and place for social ads.

The way I see it, social ads, organic content, media relations and influencer marketing all have their place under the public relations and marketing umbrella. While you can do one alone, it won’t be as effective as coordinating them all together as part of a greater, integrated communications plan for the brand as a whole. Influencer marketing is yet another essential piece of the ever-changing, complicated puzzle we strategic communicators work to solve every day.

Want to learn more about Digital Marketing? Check out our blog on social advertising!