Journalists were once given front row access at all press events, but now many brands count on influencers and micro-influencers to peddle their wares. Today these influencers have more than just a seat at the table – they have the whole table, but many may not be worth their weight in followers.

In some cases, being famous on Instagram or YouTube is akin to being rich…in Monopoly money.

Take the recent case of an Instagram celebrity with nearly 3M followers who failed to sell just 36 T-shirts from her clothing line and had to shut down her company as a result. The Twitterverse couldn’t get enough of this cautionary tale and neither can I.

I am not anti-influencer. I am all for using influencers to help generate sales and bookings, but it has to be the right collab and just one part of a multi-faceted digital marketing plan.

Choosing the right influencer for your brand starts with thinking about your current patient population. Is there someone who is happy with their results? This individual may have a voice in certain communities. Is he or she an involved parent at a local school? An avid tennis player? A socialite? A hairdresser? A popular fitness instructor? Consider working with this individual to grow your patient population in a very organic way. Happy patients are the best brand ambassadors a doctor can ask for. Host an after-hours wine and cheese event with this patient. They can invite friends and colleagues in for a frank discussion about new treatments with discounts and swag given to all attendees.

When you select virtual or online influencers you have to be more cautious. It’s not about how many followers the person has, it is about engagement and reaches as evidenced by the T-shirt influencer who couldn’t sell 36 shirts. You don’t need Kylie Jenner to tell her fan base about your lip injections – it would cost way too much and your practice is likely geographically undesirable for most of Kylie’s peeps anyway. Instead, find local micro-influencers in the beauty space. They can be identified easily with some searching on Facebook and Instagram. Plugin key terms along with your city or town such as “Manhasset beauty blogger.” Check out their posts before reaching out to make sure they are a good fit and on-brand. Once you connect, test the waters by liking and commenting on their posts. If you build a rapport, invite them in for a treatment in exchange for a post. Make sure the post is marked #sponsored, #workingwithdrX or #sponspo so the relationship is transparent and above board. Offer them a special code to give all of their referrals.

Don’t forget about local bloggers and media either. Earned (i.e. not paid editorial) is still the holy grail when it comes to publicity. In-house media events are a great way to get to know your local press corps and impress them with what you know and do. Cover all bases by inviting a good mix of influencers and reporters to your next event.

Need help coming up with an influencer outreach strategy? Reach out to us