For many businesses, the biggest challenge of an influencer marketing campaign is going to be taking the first steps and reaching out.
That process can be a lot easier if you know best practices to follow as well as pitfalls to avoid. To help you build those key connections you need to help your business flourish through influencer marketing, we have put together a list of important do’s and don’ts for influencer outreach.
When Reaching Out to Influencers, DO:
- Target niche influencers with large and small audiences. It’s great to get a lot of eyes on your brand by working with the movers and shakers of macro-influencers. But you should also reach out to influencers with medium and small audiences, especially if they are established in your niche. The return on investment is often much higher, and your campaign can benefit from greater authenticity and engagement all around.
- Make sure your influencer’s audience fall within your target market. It does not matter how reputable and influential a social media personality is if their audience is never going to take a serious interest in your products and services. There should be a strong overlap in the demographics and interests of your target market and those of the influencer’s audience.
- Think quantitatively and qualitatively. Choose influencers to reach out to based not only on the merits of their statistics, but also the quality of their content.
- Reach out through a variety of channels. Go beyond Instagram to reach out to influencers on YouTube, Facebook, and other channels. Try and choose the right outreach method for each—one influencer might be better to contact on FB, while another may be more accessible via email.
- Write a message focused on how you can benefit the influencer. When you get around to penning your outreach message, make the focus on the influencer, not on your own company. Let them know what you are offering, and how working with your company can help them engage their audience or expand it. Be sure to also mention compensation.
- Be specific. A vague message will do nothing to catch the attention of a busy influencer. Your proposal should be specific and actionable. Influencers do not have time for endless follow-ups to figure out what you are even asking for.
- Proofread your pitches. Always check your spelling and grammar before you send through your outreach message. A note full of mistakes will look unprofessional. If your brand is well-established, mistakes might simply make the influencer question if you really are who you claim.
- Pace yourself. You probably are not going to want to wait days to hear from each and every influencer you contact before moving forward; this is a numbers game. You can waste a lot of time if you do not keep sending out pitches. So, do reach out to multiple influencers within the same timeframe. But make sure you do not get in over your head—sometimes you may have a run of good luck and multiple responses in a short time span. You need to be ready to move forward with all of them if necessary. If you flake out of an opportunity, it may not happen again.
When Doing Influencer Outreach, DO NOT:
- Work with influencers who lack consistency or integrity. Take a look at their past work, as well as what kinds of companies they have and have not worked with. Make sure that if they agree to work with you, the message they are sending will be consistent. For example, if they previously scorned products made with your ingredients, and then
- Contact influencers who do not publicly disclose payments. Whether they need to disclose that they were paid on each and every post depends on how aware their audience is that they are a paid influencer altogether (see FTC rules). But the bottom line is that they need to be following the letter of the law.
- Reach out to influencers with a pitch before you get to know them. You should not simply look at someone’s follower stats and then shoot them a message asking to collaborate. Not only will this potentially pair you with the wrong influencer, but it will not allow you to craft a quality pitch. Read up about the person’s background, check out samples of their previous work, and learn some things about their personality and values. Then, craft your pitch around that context.
- Write a novel. How many words do you think should go into an outreach email to an influencer? A couple hundred words at most. If you can make it less, that is even better. Again, influencers are busy people. They do not have the time or the attention span to read a novel. Your only goal at this stage is to start a conversation, not squeeze the entirety of what you want to say into one note.
- Get yourself flagged for spam. Watch out for spam detection on outreach channels. As an example, if you send duplicate text to multiple influencers on Facebook, the site may flag you and take away your DM privileges.
- Fail to offer compensation. There is no way to repeat enough times what a big mistake it is not to pay influencers. They need to earn a living and pay their bills, just like you. It does not necessarily need to go in your very first outreach message, but you should not wait long to discuss it.
Reaching out to influencers can be challenging, especially if you are just starting out. Rejections are common—as is silence—so try not to get discouraged by either. Start following the do’s and don’ts we outlined above. Hopefully before long, you will begin seeing the results you are looking for.