How do I work with social media influencers?

Working with influencers can drive traffic to your site, improve sales, and increase your brand visibility. But how do you get that to happen? Working with influencers can be great for your brand, but make sure you do some work before reaching out to set yourself up for success.

Step 1: Identify the type influencers you’d like to work with.

Your target audience will respond to certain types of influencers like ones in fitness, home goods, or technology. Depending on what your product is that you are trying to promote, identify the category that your followers care about.

If you are selling yoga equipment, look for list of yogi influencers. Generating the larger list to narrow down will help with your search with identifying who would be best for your company or brand to work with. In your list, include:

  • Number of followers on their top platform
  • Handle information
  • Contact information

By collecting these three types of information, you can identify where to focus your energies.

Step 2: Eliminate influencers that don’t match your brand needs.

Narrow down your list of influencers so that you can choose who to reach out to rather than contacting the entire list. Influencers get a lot of brand requests, so make sure your items are on message for them. Narrow your list by researching:

  • Do they allow brand promotions? If not, they won’t be interested in what you’d like to pitch.
  • Where are they located? See if they are in your country. If you don’t do international shipping and are based in the US, it doesn’t help your brand for a non-US-based influencer to promote you.
  • Identify their level of follower engagement. Are people commenting on their posts? If not, their following may not be very engaged with what they are posting and may not respond to your well-placed sponsored message.
  • Look at their posts to see their core message and stances. If you are selling something that is not in line with how they see the world, they are not going to promote you on their channel. Save both of you some time by eliminating them from consideration before reaching out.
  • Check out their followers. You can use several services to see if their followers are fake or not engaged on Instagram and Twitter.
  • Are they in your budget? You may not want to reach out to influencers with larger following since they will come with a heftier price tag. Some influencers can charge upwards of $10K for a single Instagram post. Maybe avoid influencers with over 1 million followers when you have a smaller budget unless you are willing to pay their higher prices.
  • Are they part of an influencer network? Sometimes these influencers will have an agency managing them and they will be part of a larger network. These types of engagements may be more expensive and harder to reach.
  • What type of promotion do you need? Is your product visual or does it need a great review? Knowing what type of influencer you need – whether it’s someone on Instagram or a blogger – can also help you trim your list.

$1405: The average rate of sponsored Instagram post by influencers with over 1 million followers on Instagram, according to a 2017 survey of 2,885 influencers by marketing company Influence.

— Digiday Daily

Step 3: Reach out to influencers that meet your criteria.

Give them ample time to respond to your inquiry. Make sure to include:

  • Who you are
  • What company you represent
  • Why you are interested in working with them
  • What type of promotion you are looking to work with them on

When reaching out, ask them for a media kit which should have a breakdown of their followers per channel, types of people that engage with them on their platforms, and standard rates for different types of promotions.

Don’t be afraid to haggle! Especially if you’re a smaller business, let them know what type of budget you are working with. If they really identify with your product, or think it would be a great match for their audience, they can work with you on the type of promotion or the rate.

Don’t be upset if it’s not a match. Influencers know their audience and will let you know if their followers just wouldn’t be interested. Take it for the advice it is and be thankful they didn’t let you advertise to an uninterested audience.

Step 4: Follow up.

Influencers can be talking with a lot of different brands depending on their demand, or may even have a team that manages inquiries. Make sure to follow up in a timely manner to any additional questions they have and don’t feel discouraged if they still haven’t responded.

If you’re sending them product, follow up with the tracking information and get an understanding of when that information might post. You can even time promotions around different influencers so their audience can receive discounts.

Step 5: Evaluate the effectiveness of the campaign.

Make sure you keep a log of the costs of a promotion as well as the key metric you’d like to measure in response. Your key metric could be sales, conversion rate, or traffic. See how the promotion affected your business to see if it was worth the cost of having the promotion.

Best practices for working with influencers

  • Influencers are people too. Don’t forget that they also go on vacation or are busy having a full time job. Their schedule and amount of inquiries can vary, so be patient but persistent when following up.
  • See if you can work with an influencer for multiple posts. Influencers would rather have a relationship than a one-off promotion that looks like an ad. If they are great for your brand to be associated with and are successful in meeting or exceeding your key metric, then see if you can negotiate a rate for multiple posts.
  • If you’re running a promotion, give them a unique code. Then you will be able to see how many daily sales are due to that particular influencer.

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