By Lisa Hester, Senior Account Manager

The following is part II of a two-part series on the use of influencers and the results of a recent survey on the topic. Part I was shared 4-1-19.

As we again explore the topic of using influencers in PR communications to boost visibility, engagement and reach for brands, we turn to a newly released survey from PR News and Meltwater. The survey of 400 responses from U.S.-based PR professionals shows a slow but steady increase in the use of influencers, while PR practitioners themselves seek to define and evaluate their use.

Among the questions put forth, the survey asked respondents to gauge the importance of influencers to marketing and communications and how much, if anything, companies pay them.

According to the survey, respondents said:

* influencers are somewhat critical to our PR/communications efforts, 46 percent

*  the use of influencers is “essential,” 33 percent

* they are of little or no importance, 20 percent

Working With InfluencersAt Rountree Group, we believe, as the survey reflects, that influencers are somewhat critical to our PR/communications efforts. Much of that decision for us depends on the client, the goals of the PR campaign and the key audiences.

Another factor to consider is whether the influencer is to be compensated in any way. While 37 percent of respondents said they do not pay influencers, 29 percent pay their influencers and 16 percent said they provide free goods/services.

But how do we know that the efforts of using an influencer in PR communications pays off? Is it measurable? This is what those surveyed said they consider when determining the value of influencers:

* a wide array of areas, from social metrics, including engagement, to  interactions reach and sentiment, 43 percent

* measure web traffic and/or search volume, 8 percent

* look at increased media coverage, 6 percent

* consider purchases or conversions, 5 percent

* measure all of the above, 29 percent

Let us talk with you about how we incorporate influencers into PR efforts and if that is the right strategy for your brand. We are happy to share our ideas and experiences to help develop a PR plan that will take your brand to the next level. Contact Don Rountree at 770-645-4545 and/or email