Influencer marketing is one of the most effective ways for brands to cut through the noise in today’s content-inundated social media landscape and reach interested, engaged consumers. According to a recent study, recommendations from social media influencers were 22 times more likely to result in conversions than recommendations from ordinary people, and 82% of consumers said they were “highly likely” to follow a social media star’s advice (Adweek). Contacting and fostering a positive working relationship with right YouTuber, Instagrammer, Snapchatter, Viner, or blogger, however, can be an arduous task, which is why developing a proper influencer outreach strategy is vital to the success of a brand’s influencer marketing campaign(s).
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Finding the right social media star through proper influencer outreach can be beneficial for all parties—the brand, the digital influencer, and the social media star’s audience (who gains exposure to and knowledge of new products or services). Too often, though, companies choose to work with the wrong digital influencer or, in many cases, fail to reach out to a highly-qualified social media star in a way that results in a successful collaboration.
Before reaching out to a specific social media influencer, brands should know their target audience, how much they are willing to spend on the campaign, what type of campaign they want to develop, and what they hope to accomplish through the influencer marketing partnership. Once these variables and key performance indicators (KPIs) are established, brands can begin identifying social media stars to help them reach their goals and cultivating positive relationships with digital influencer through proper influencer outreach.
After a brand becomes adept at influencer outreach, the resulting influencer marketing campaigns can expand a company’s reach to new, engaged audiences, grow a brand’s followers/subscribers on their own social media channels, establish a brand identity, and increase the ROI of the company’s marketing efforts.
An effective influencer outreach has four key elements, including:
There are a number of ways brands can find the right social media influencers, though performing a simple Google search for influencers that will appeal to a brand’s target demographic(s) is typically the fastest way to get started (a hospitality company would search “best travel Instagram accounts,” for example). Accessing “discovery” tools on social media platforms like YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat can help brands find new digital influencers, while SocialBlade.com provides information about which accounts are the most popular (i.e. have the most followers, likes, and/or subscribers) for several different social media platforms.
Once a social media influencer has been selected, brands should review the digital star’s content to make sure it is consistent with brand messaging, scrutinize the level of engagement they have with their followers, and see if they’ve previously collaborated with other companies on influencer marketing campaigns. Influencer marketing platforms like FameBit (read our FameBit review here) can also help brands locate the right social media influencers, though these platforms sometimes charge large fees and have a limited number of influencers under management.
For more information on picking the right social media influencers for your campaign, see our article here.
One of the best ways to get the attention of a social media star is by first interacting with them on their social media channels. Because most influencers are highly engaged with their audiences, a friendly tweet or comment on their Instagram photo or blog post can serve as an introduction and help put a brand on the influencer’s radar.
After initial contact has been made, brands should take the time to craft a personal, but brief, email explaining (in 1-3 sentences) why the company chose the influencer and how the campaign will benefit all parties involved. Because top YouTubers, Instagrammers, Snapchatters, and bloggers likely receive dozens (if not hundreds) of emails per day, crafting a captivating subject line is a crucial element to every influencer outreach email.
Though some brands develop long-standing relationships with top social media influencers, social media stars are professionals and should be treated as such. Keeping this in mind, an influencer outreach needs to communicate a business’ intentions clearly and honestly, and initial emails should state a company’s vision and goals for each and campaign, convey what they expect from the social media influencer, and specify how the digital star (and their audience) stands to benefit from the collaboration.
Once a social media influencer agrees to work with your brand, solidify the arrangement with a professional influencer agreement.
As with most business transactions, sending a small thank you note (or even a gift) after the campaign has been launched can serve to reinforce a brand’s relationship with a social media influencer and go a long way toward developing a long-standing working relationship with a digital star. Remaining active on a YouTuber, Instagrammer, Viner, or blogger’s social media account (by commenting, sharing, and “liking” their content) is another way to increase the likelihood that they will want to collaborate with the brand for future influencer marketing campaigns.
Choosing the right influencers for a campaign can be an arduous and time-consuming process, and many brands simply don’t have the resources or expertise to know which social media star will result in campaign success. Because the best influencer marketing agencies have developed long-standing relationships with today’s top social media stars, these firms can help brands find the right social influencer for each campaign and facilitate the creation, implementation, promotion, and measurement of all influencer marketing efforts.