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No matter what your influencer marketing strategy is, it’s critical to reach out and recruit influencers. Fortunately, reaching out doesn’t have to feel like a middle school team-building project. By following these tips, you can gain the confidence to be successful.
Why is Influencer Marketing So Important Today?
It used to be that brands could make a go of social media on their own. However, social media algorithms are increasingly hostile to organic reach for business. After all, they want to sell more advertising. On the consumer side of the equation, a lot of people are tuning advertisements out. In this case, we’re talking about the traditional banner ads that populate feeds and profiles everywhere.
Fortunately, influencers are here to help. As content creators, an influencer can produce something that will appeal to their social media following. For a fee, many of them are happy to accept commissions for sponsored content. This frees your staff to do other things and get around the social network’s commercial profile disadvantages. Best of all, you’ll gain access to authentic brand voices you can’t get anywhere else.
Determine Which Network is Most Appropriate for Your Influencer Marketing
Before trying to contact influencers, it’s important to decide where you want to do the campaigns. Instagram is the most popular, but it does have significant content limitations. Other networks might perform better, depending on your circumstances.
If you want to have explainer videos or tutorials made, consider YouTube. There’s no limitation on how long a video can be, though your potential influencer probably does. Having an influencer prepare a guest video (or featuring on their channel) is a great way to introduce yourself to their audience. Keep in mind, though, that this is a relatively expensive option in terms of production costs.
One of the great things about Instagram is that they offer a variety of formats. You can post individual images, Stories, shoppable posts, Instagram Live, and IGTV. Maybe that’s why so many influencers prefer to work on Instagram. However, this might not work as well for B2B brands because of its smartphone optimization.
If you like it short and sweet, think about a Twitter influencer. Here, you can have the brand message delivered in bite-sized pieces. One of the best things about Twitter is that content is easy to produce. Add some hashtags to seamlessly join any relevant conversation. Best of all, these Twitter influencers are easy to contact.
Identify the Right Social Media Influencer in the Right Network for Your Brand
Once you’ve determined which social media network to use, it’s time to do influencer discovery. Using a variety of influencer discovery tools and social media techniques, you’ll want to find someone who is likely to be effective. One of the biggest things to look for is someone who has a high level of engagement.
That means that people are likely to give active feedback after viewing their content, which could be anything from a “like” to commenting or sharing the post. This looks a bit different for each network. You’ll also want to be sure that the influencer produces the kind of content you’re looking for, and that your brand is likely to be relevant for your audience.
First, Send Social Signals
Before pitching an influencer, be sure to express interest in what he or she is doing online. This means following their profile and engaging with their content. Hopefully, they’ll notice you in the process.
When a brand shows genuine interest in what an influencer is doing, it’s more likely that the influencer will be up for a collaboration. Influencers also prefer to work with brands who best match their type of content. In other words, if they don’t think collaboration is likely to succeed, they won’t try.
Another reason to send social signals is that effective influencers often get a raft of pitches from companies. By engaging with an influencer’s content, you can stand up above the crowd. Don’t be that brand which spams influencers hoping that someone will answer and accept your cash offer. You’re more likely to make them mad than succeed.
Approach Those Who Respond to Social Signals with an Open-Ended Invitation to Collaborate
Once the influencer has demonstrated that they are also interested in your brand, it’s time to get down to business. Influencers often judge a potential collaborator based on their Instagram account, so you’ll want to ensure this looks nice.
First impressions are just as important for this type of business arrangement as it is in many others. Think about it this way: a potential influencer is going to lend you the ears of their followers. Do they really want to do that with a brand that sends the wrong signals on Instagram? Doing that could backfire on their ability to exercise influence, which in turn puts them out of business.
When you’re ready to reach out, send them a direct message on the platform. With most networks, this is easy to do. My recommendation is that you propose some sort of collaboration, without specifying the details. This gives the influencer a chance to suggest something which might be beneficial to both of you. It also sends a signal that you’re not a micromanager, and you value their creativity. You don’t want them to think you’re looking for a cookie-cutter solution.
DMs and Emails are Great, But Try to Schedule Time over Zoom to Deepen Your Relationship and Move Forward
While some influencers are fine with doing a one-off project for brands, many of them prefer longer-term collaborations. After getting to know an influencer over messaging, you might consider having a Zoom or Skype chat. This way, you can hear and see each other, which fosters a longer relationship. Building personal connections in business is never a bad idea. And especially with the global pandemic, personal relationships are more important than ever. Finally, having a personal connection with a brand can help the influencer produce better content.