The vigilant among you will have already taken full note of how to identify the best influencers for your brand (if not, quick – read it here and pretend you already did!)
But once you’ve found the influencers you want to work with, how do you approach them?
Influencers have influence due to having worked hard to create an engaged and enthusiastic audience, invested in the content they produce. For this reason, making contact with an influencer can seem daunting and intimidating. After all, their entire job involves, by its very nature, constantly communicating with and engaging with people – how do you avoid getting lost in the crowd?
1. Select your platform carefully
Influencers are busy people. Fact. When approaching your chosen one(s), the best way to ensure that you get heard is to contact them through the platform upon which they are most active. For example, Instagram stars are much more likely to respond to an Instagram instant message than an email.
2. Be upfront, honest and REAL
Even the smallest influencer is almost certainly inundated with requests and proposals every day, many of which will be generic, mass emails and/or inauthentic. People respond to people, so ensure that you are open about your motives and what you want to achieve through making contact – if not, you’ll be rumbled immediately. Bear this in mind when writing your subject line! Your approach should reflect your brand and core values, but should never be sales-y or boastful.
In the same vein, steer well clear of any PR speak, hyperbole or overblown statements. If you are truthful and genuine about the product or service you offer, the influencer should be able to see for themself how great it is – this is not a sales opportunity, but (hopefully) the start of a mutually respectful relationship.
3. Be personal
Successful influencer marketing campaigns work when the brand’s target audience is exactly aligned with the audience the chosen influencer reaches. Therefore, it is imperative to highlight this when approaching your influencer. Research their content, both editorial and social, analyse their followers, those who share, engage with and comment on their output, and display that you have done so by referencing it in your collaboration proposal.
Influencers are much more likely to put their name to a brand when it represents something they care about, and that their audience cares about. Convince them that they should care about your brand on a personal level. If you have selected the right influencer to approach, this should be easy!
4. Keep it on track
As much as there’s a lot to say, any message you send to an influencer must be as short as possible, whilst still being friendly and personal. Long, rambling paragraphs will not get read, or at least, not get read thoroughly. Similarly, even if you intend to build a long-term relationship with the influencer, don’t propose this the very first time you contact them. Start with a small, collaborative campaign and build from there.
5. Be thorough with your information
Keeping the opening contact short and sweet is one thing, but it is also important to ensure that all the key facts and details are offered from the get-go. This not only minimises the back-and-forth that can lead to influencers (and indeed brands) to lose interest in a campaign before it has even begun, it is also good to refer back to as an initial agreement. HOWEVER, including it all in one message is overwhelming and waffle-y. Get around this by either creating a document of key information points and linking it to the email/message, or inviting the influencer to join a shared folder on a platform like dropbox or gdrive. This way, the info is all easily accessible, but does not come in a swamping barrage before you’ve had a chance to build a rapport.
6. Engage with your influencer
As heavy-handed as it may seem, laying the foundations of a good relationship is greatly helped by following your chosen influencer’s social profiles, engaging with their past content, and sharing it on your own channels. Not only will this show the influencer that you are familiar with their content and tone, but also that you are willing to provide them with support and exposure, as well as financial compensation for their efforts.
Most influencer-brand collaborations will be successful if both see the union not as a business transaction, but as a mutually beneficial relationship – after all, this is what influencer marketing is all about!