UPDATE March 21, 2019 — In 2019, 80% of marketers say that influencer marketing is effective. When it comes it consumer trust, 38% who engage with influencers trust their sponsored endorsements more than when brands self-promote. Numbers like these explain why 65% of marketers plan to increase their investment in influencer marketing.
The opportunity for businesses to reach customers through authentic sponsored content is massive. However, with so many social media influencers in the space and a variety of businesses vying to partner with them, how can brands cut through the noise and start a conversation with them?
Below, we a more detailed guide for each step explaining the best practices in reaching out to influencers.
Before reaching out to an influencer, it’s important for brands to establish the goals of their influencer marketing strategy. Paid influencer campaigns can be crafted to achieve a variety of different results, including increased sales, heightened brand awareness, and growth in social engagement. Additionally, some campaigns may aid brands in establishing long-term relationships or brand ambassador programs with influencers.
While influencer marketing has been enormously successful for many brands, launching a poorly planned campaign isn’t likely to produce positive results. For businesses to succeed, it’s vital that they create clear objectives, develop a clear message, and have a realistic understanding of the campaign’s potential impact and return on investment (ROI) before approaching influencers.
Selecting the right influencers is paramount to fruitful partnerships and successful outreach efforts. Influencers cover a wide array of categories and present compelling online personalities across the world’s most popular social media platforms.
When choosing the tier of influencer, high-reach usually correlates with price, but it doesn’t always correlate with high campaign performance. There are five influencer tiers and choosing the desired reach of influencers is an important step in your research.
A brand should consider several important questions before reaching out to influencers:
Manually searching through social media platforms, like YouTube or Instagram, is a popular way to find influencers. Depending on the network, using keywords and/or hashtags, combined with filtering by the number of followers/subscribers, can be a useful way to discover potential influencer partners.
However, as the influencer marketing industry has grown more crowded and competitive, businesses sometimes find it difficult to connect and engage with preferred influencers.
There are various software tools available for finding the right online personality to partner with, including influencer marketing platforms and databases. However, some services charge fees, while still requiring businesses to sift through thousands of options.
When looking for the right influencer for your brand, consider using the expertise of an influencer marketing agency that has strong relationships with the world’s biggest influencers.
Before cold-messaging an influencer, follow them on their various social media channels and blogs (if applicable). Like, comment on, and share their posts, and engage with their audiences. Show familiarity with the influencers’ posts and an interest in what they do. This will make opening a conversation with them that much easier.
Many influencers are busy professionals who field a lot of offers and solicitations. When messaging them, be clear, honest, and brief with your proposal.
In your pitch, ask influencers about their own goals, and what they may be looking for in a business relationship. Look for ways in which your brand might be able to help them on their journey.
Businesses shouldn’t ask influencers to promote goods or services for free. Influencer marketing is a $1.7B industry on Instagram alone and top influencers can make seven figures per year. Successful influencers will lose interest if you try to get them to post for free, trade for product, or try to negotiate too heavily. If an influencer is too expensive, look to find smaller, lower cost influencers interested in working with your brand.
Remember to communicate enthusiasm about your brand and product or service, as well as the potential relationship with the influencer. Influencers want to be a part of interesting projects and exciting collaborations.
Keep in mind some of the factors that influencers consider before partnering with brands. In our own analysis of more than 50 exclusive influencer interviews, nearly two-thirds listed relevance as a priority in choosing brand partners, followed by more than half who said authenticity and trust were important.
The influencer marketing space is becoming increasingly crowded and sophisticated, and many of the top influencers are too busy to respond to all individual requests. Some smaller to mid-level influencers register on platforms to bid on available campaigns while larger or more established influencers work with talent managers and/or multi-channel networks to handle their sponsorship opportunities.
One way to circumvent all of these complexities is to work with a trusted influencer marketing agency. Influencer marketing agencies have relationships with celebrities, influencers of all tiers, as well as the people and companies that manage them.
In addition to connecting businesses to influencers who have a proven track record of high conversion, agencies can help brands establish their goals and key performance indicators (KPIs), design campaigns, craft agreements and contracts, negotiate fees, and interpret post-campaign data. From inception, to launch, to final analysis, qualified agencies can help brands execute better influencer marketing campaigns.