Many marketers have learned that their campaigns can skyrocket by using an Influencer Outreach strategy. Having influential allies on your side and leveraging their reach is very powerful, especially in this era of dramatic information overload in which people trust other people more than faceless brands and ads. Instagram is gaining momentum as the upcoming Influencer Outreach platform. According to the Guide to Instagram Marketing for E-commerce, around 70% of top brands are already using Influencer Marketing on Instagram.
Now, when we say “influencers” we are not only talking about famous people that everyone knows; what really makes someone important to your marketing efforts is his or her ability to really move or influence people.
It’s important to emphasise that not everyone on television or on social media is an influencer; an influencer is someone who has earned the appreciation and respect of a particular community in some way. Maybe by being a super expert on a subject or by being an aspirational role model.
It’s definitely not just a thing of becoming viral or appearing on mass media.
Of course, the fame is also important. Having an audience of 200,000 followers is not the same as a small circle of influence of only 200 followers.
Here are four important reasons to include anInfluencer Outreach Strategy in your marketing mix:
- The influencer and its community can create fresh, authentic and original content.
- They can generate organic conversations, engagement and word of mouth recommendations.
- Communication and research, since influencers spend a lot of time listening to their community they can gather important data.
- Everyone’s doing it!
Ok, at this point you probably agree that an influencer outreach strategy is an interesting move! Now, keep reading to know how to contact them and work with them.
Things to consider before approaching an influencer
Would this influencer really use your stuff?
For an influencer to publish your brand you must be sure that he or she belongs to your target audience, it is the first point that you must consider if you want to avoid being rejected.
The fact that their lives are based on recommending stuff doesn’t mean that all of them are interested in your product. The first step to finding out is to ask yourself this question: “Would this influencer really use my product/service?”
This is crucial because audiences are very sensitive and nothing is worse to them than seeing their idols using something that has nothing to do with their personality or their way of being.
Based on how much they know the influencer, followers can notice fake recommendations just by the way the influencer speaks or writes.
For this reason, most influencers will reject brands that are not related to their lifestyle, values, principles, style, and message.
Would any of those followers buy your stuff?
Undoubtedly most influencers manage their rates according to a number of fans they have, but more followers don’t necessarily mean more sales, especially if these people are not in your desired location or interested in your products and services.
You can’t sell beef to vegans, tampons to men and promote a carwash to people who live in another estate. This is logical.
You should look for influencers who are targeting the same communities of your brand. Consider age, gender, location, style, status, preferences, roles, interests, values, etc.
Most influencers know their own audiences and won’t even consider mentioning a brand that’s not related to their community, but even if they do, it won’t be beneficial to anyone.
So before even starting your influencer outreach strategy and using any tactic to avoid being rejected, it is important to know exactly who you are targeting.
What’s your budget?
There are influencers who expect to receive hundreds or thousands just to consider testing your product, there are others who are already fans of your brand and would take a bullet for it and will be fine with just a free gift or sample.
Your budget is not going to determine the success of your influencer outreach strategy or their willingness to participate in your campaign. It depends on many factors and not necessarily the size of the influencer’s audience.
But your relationship with an influencer can always be nurtured; many brands give away their products to create an empathy with their influencers.
In any case, you should always set up your budget limits before you even start, in order to have a clear mind and make quick decisions in the process.
Most of the times, it will be better to start with small communities in order to reach more people.
It doesn’t matter if your budget is huge. You’ll probably get better results with a lot of small influencers talking about your brand than having only one big celebrity with thousands of useless followers.
And just like we said before, segmentation and knowing your target is the key to protecting your money. It would be useless to advertise in a huge American newspaper such as the New York Times if you have a small local store in Australia, but using small local magazines and newspapers from that location could work better.
How to start your Influencer Outreach Strategy
After you have a clear picture of who you want to target and what are you going to offer, you can start contacting them.
Find their contact info!
Contacting an influencer is not complicated. When they are aware of the impact they have on their niche, they start facilitating contact channels for companies, sponsors and mass media.
In most cases, they have a corporate email available and easy to reach for those who wish to contact them. So with a simple Google media search, we can find their contact information on websites or social media profiles.
Their response time varies, but usually, it doesn’t take more than three days to receive an answer.
Some of them use their social media very actively, and most of them are very open about their contact information because they want to be reached.
Quantity is better than quality
Sounds counter intuitive but, when you’re approaching someone who is being contacted by hundreds of people weekly, your messages can get lost in the buzz.
You might want to try several times, using as many contact channels as you can before giving up.
We also suggest that instead of focusing on only one person, you can target a bunch of them with a good influencer outreach strategy. The idea is to have many options and contact them in each and every way possible. We never know who’s going to answer.
Tip: Create a short custom proposal for each social media platform you’re target influencers are using:
- Long and detailed Email proposal
- Short SMS
- Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Blog, Youtube and Snapchat comments.
- Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat Direct Messages.
- Phone Calls
Don’t be too fancy, just do the work and contact them!
Try to reach out in person
The good thing about influencers is that they are constantly doing speeches, seminars, and events. Remember that they are always looking for new ways to elevate their status, and to be considered as “experts” or “famous” by more people.
Experience has shown that influencers are a lot more open to conversation and negotiation if you can contact them personally.
By simply following their social media updates you can know where they will be showing up, and then you can try to approach them in those events.
Do not focus on your brand, focus on them
How can you do this?
Simple, look for ways to put them in the spotlight; make them the centre of attention, instead of asking for reviews about your brand, product or services.
Offer your social media as a channel to promote their products and services (instead of yours).
You can ask for an interview to know about their story, you can also dedicate one whole blog post in your website to talk about the things they like, you can use your posts to promote their events.
Without a doubt, if you start this way you’re going to make them feel much more comfortable and open to talk about your brand later.
It’s more likely that they accept to use your channels to promote their stuff than using their channels to promote your stuff.
Think big, but start small!
Considering that our focus should be on them, it is important to know that the lesser we request, the better. This is the easiest way to ensure a response.
What do we mean by this? It is easier for them to accept if we request a 5-minute interview via phone call than asking for them to be present in a one-hour podcast.
Afterwards, when you have hooked them and you started a bond, you can ask more things. Just, keep nurturing the relationship, and keep giving, reciprocity is infallible!
Don’t force their opinion or recommendations
Another thing to keep in mind is that many influencers refuse to give an imposed opinion; they want to be free and honest with their fans expressing exactly what they think.
For brands this is a bit delicate, nobody wants to invest time or money in an influencer who speaks badly about the product, and this takes us back to the first question, would they like my product/service?
In most cases, influencers will tell you that they must test it they will give you an honest review; this is a risk that must be taken at some point.
You can (and should) ask the influencer to be polite at least, even if he doesn’t like it you can persuade him to comment something like “everyone has different tastes”, “it did not work for me but it might work for you” and leave a door open for curious followers.
It is important to mention that influencers have every right to accept or turn down your brand if they feel like it and few of them will give you reasons for their rejection.
However, if you consider these basic tactics and principles, you’ll reduce the possibilities of being rejected.
Luckily for you, there’s a lot of influential people in the world, they come in all shapes and sizes, and sooner or later you’ll be able to find the right one for your brand.