When it comes to working with influencers, there’s a right way and a wrong way to make contact. Influencers often receive dozens, if not hundreds of emails from brands every week. If you want to cut through the noise and make a connection that will yield results for your brand, following these simple tips will have you headed in the right direction.
1. Know who you’re looking for.
Don’t just send your pitch to any influencer. Make sure you’re doing the research and finding influencers who fit your brand. Often, narrowing your target to “moms” or “fashion” isn’t enough. Develop the ideal persona that you’re trying to reach and then go out and find people who fit that mold. This will mean far more work upfront but will yield much stronger results from your campaign. It’s okay to be picky.
A high-end luxury fashion brand approached us looking to connect with upscale, female fashion bloggers in the 40+ age bracket. We tailored a campaign to reach that persona, successfully creating relationships with 93 separate influencers, each publishing unique content yielding a total of 4.7M brand impressions.
You may feel that narrowing your potential list of influencers will limit the reach and effectiveness of your influencer campaign. Yet, as you can see in the fashion blogger example, being hyper-focused is precisely what fuels greater success as the message resonates more deeply with not only the influencers but with their communities as well. To cut through all the noise, zero in on exactly who you want to target.
2. Know who you’re talking to.
Influencers can see right through a generic pitch, and they’ll know if you’re reaching out blindly. Look at their blog. Scroll through their social channels. Learn their interests and what makes them tick. Read through their recent content and get a feel for what’s going on in their lives. When you do reach out, you’ll be armed with a knowledge around what their motivations, goals, and drivers are, which you can use to make an instant connection.
A luxury car brand wanted to connect with one influencer who bridged the gap between auto enthusiast and online gamer. We heavily researched a shortlist of influencers who fit that mold in order to identify the perfect candidate and be armed with the information needed to land him for the campaign. The research paid off, as the influencer immediately understood the value of the pitch and recognized the fit with his audience. The result was 20 unique Tweets, 2 customized YouTube videos, and 1.7M brand impressions.
3. Match their tone.
Have you ever been approached by a vendor that just clearly wasn’t speaking your language? Nothing has the potential to halt a potential conversation right in its tracks faster than when the introduction goes off the rails.
Ever been cornered at an industry conference, while someone at an exhibit booth launches into their elevator pitch at a million miles an hour? That’ll make anyone start masterminding a plan to grab as much swag as they can and dash to the nearest exit.
Just like you prefer to interact with friends/colleagues or complete strangers in different ways, influencers have preferences for how they wish to be approached and communicated with by brands. Take the time and be observant and respectful enough to identify the right tonality and approach for each influencer. Often, this can be gleaned from the tone of their content!
Understand whether to use a professional, all-business voice in your outreach, or a more personal, bubbly and friendly tone. Identify if they prefer straightforward, to-the-point, no B.S. type of communications, or if they prefer a more creative, informal approach. Being aware of how your target influencer prefers to be approached will lead to stronger connections and a better conversion rate.
DO. NOT. EMAIL BLAST. Templates are fine as a starting point (provided they’re actually good), but leave plenty of room to personalize your messaging. Make sure they know you’ve done your due diligence. Tell them what you think makes them unique, and why you reached out to them specifically. Comment on a recent post they’ve published that aligns with the theme of your campaign. Include a personal anecdote from your life that seems relevant to an event happening in theirs.
Have they recently published a book? Read it and write a review on Amazon!
Have they recently launched a new product? Try it!
Have they recently published a new video series? Watch it!
The more deeply you can speak to their specific content, the better. That’s when true connections starts to happen. Influencers want to work with real people, not boring brand representatives devoid of personality. Don’t be afraid to chum it up.
5. Add Value.
Don’t approach an influencer empty-handed. Bring something exciting to the table! Many influencers prefer to collaborate, not freelance. Brainstorm a creative or trendy topic for them to write about, share an interesting piece of proprietary data or research, or offer them something exclusive. Influencers are creators first, business owners second. Give them something to get excited about beyond the promise of a sponsorship or payment, and your campaign will really take off.
Working with a disruptive electronics startup, we took exactly this approach. With tech influencers, having the early scoop on an upcoming product launch is highly valued. It helps them build their cache. With this in mind, we leveraged exclusive information for this campaign about an upcoming product launch to reach tech influencers and create excitement and engagement around the brand’s pre-order program. What’s it worth to give them early access and get them fired up? The campaign surpassed its month one presale goal of 1,500 orders AFTER JUST TWO DAYS.
6. Nurture the relationship.
Regardless of whether you plan to work together again, don’t cut and run as soon as the influencer posts their content. Stay in touch, let them know how the content performed from your perspective. Ask them if they got any good feedback from their audience. Let them know that you value the relationship. Heck, try to remember their birthday. Influencers talk, and it’s easy for a brand to develop a reputation within an influencer community. Make sure you’re leaving a positive impression when all is said and done.
A Greek yogurt brand partnered with us to create engagement with influencers in the food and beverage space. In part by carefully managing the brand reputation among food and beverage influencers, we successfully executed several campaigns in a two-year partnership, resulting in unique content being written and published by over 1,600 different influencers yielding 29M UNIQUE BRAND IMPRESSIONS. Preserve the good name of your brand and get past that low hanging fruit (ahem… fruit on the bottom), to dig deep into your target community for full saturation.