If you want to get the word out on social media while building trust with your target market, partnering with influencers is a powerful approach.
But maximizing your ROI with influencer outreach begins with optimizing the outreach process itself.
The reality is that you can get a lot of rejections when you first start reaching out to influencers. And frequently, you won’t hear back at all. To say this experience can be frustrating is an understatement.
How can you increase your success rate connecting with influencers? A great starting point is to steer clear of the common outreach mistakes below.
1. Targeting the wrong influencers for your brand.
The first mistake to avoid is poor targeting. Novices often reach out to influencers based solely on audience size, neglecting overall relevance.
Actually, bigger is not necessarily better. The influencers with the largest audiences may not have time for you or their followers.
Instead, a niche influencer may be a better fit. That person will be more relevant and accessible. And since they may also be more engaged with their own audience, the message your collaboration sends could have more impact.
2. Requesting a collaboration on the first message.
What are you more likely to consider granting—a request from some random stranger you don’t know, or one from a friendly acquaintance?
When reaching out to influencers, companies often make the mistake of requesting a collaboration in the first message.
But an influencer is more likely to say “yes” to a request if they already know you.
It takes time and patience, but consider finding another way to introduce yourself. Follow their channel, leave some kind comments, send an email complimenting them on a recent post, share one of their posts on your channel, mail them a free sample, or so on.
Once you have established a friendly rapport, send your request through to collaborate.
3. Picking the wrong channels for outreach.
You may not want to just pick the first channel you see to reach out to an influencer. Pay attention to how they interact through different channels, and also consider which channel may be most appropriate to your intent.
Social media can be tempting because it is so easy to send a message. But consider how many messages they receive there. You might want to try email if you can locate their address instead.
4. Writing generic messages.
Influencer outreach is a lot of work, and can involve contacting dozens of people in a matter of days. So, what do a lot of newbies do? They draft up a generic message and shotgun it out to everyone.
While this may be less time-consuming, it will not get you the results you are hoping for.
When you receive a generic message, what does it tell you? It says you were not worth the time to write a personalized message. So you think, “Well, this person clearly is not worth my time either.”
That is how influencers feel when they receive generic messages from companies: “They don’t care—so why should I?” But when they receive personalized messages, they are far more likely to want to return that time, effort, and care.
5. Making it all about you.
Another common mistake involving message content is telling the influencer what you want them to do for you, but not telling them what you can do for them.
This is similar to the mistake that job applicants frequently make in cover letters and interviews. They let the company know how much they want the job, but fail to specify how they can help the company achieve its goals.
So, don’t make it about you. Put the focus firmly on the influencer. Explain how partnering with you can help them in terms of expanding their reach, boosting their traffic, enhancing their branding, or so forth.
Be specific about the compensation you are offering and/or free products or services the influencer will be able to enjoy.
6. Writing too much.
Your outreach message to an influencer should probably be a couple hundred words at most.
If you write an essay, influencers are going to be overwhelmed. Their response will be “TL;DR” in most cases, and you will never hear back.
Remember, influencers have a lot on their plates every day. The less of their time and attention you demand, the more likely they are to want to work with you.
7. Not being specific.
Know with whom you want to work, but still are not sure exactly what shape you want that collaboration to take? You might want to hold off until you have firmed up on your ideas.
Why? Because again, influencers are busy. Most are not going to have the time or the motivation to sit around brainstorming ideas with you.
If you write a message with a specific idea, that is an actionable idea. It is much easier for an influencer to write back “yes” if they know what they are getting into.
That said, you should keep an open mind, because they might have ideas of their own. If your plan is too rigid, you could miss out on some amazing possibilities you would not have come up with yourself.
Plus, influencers are popular because of the unique personas they have created. You need to give those personas room to breathe. Otherwise, you will not reap the full benefits of influencer marketing.
8. Taking silence to mean “no.”
If you do not hear back after messaging an influencer, you might assume they saw your note and discarded it.
But that is a mistake. We cannot say this enough—influencers are busy. When people are swamped in other commitments, they sometimes simply forget to respond.
That is why you should always follow up, even if you do not hear back. Wait several days, and send a quick message to check in. If you do not hear back, try again a few days later.
If there is still no answer, wait a week and try one more time. After that, move on.
9. Taking “no” to mean “never.”
Sometimes, you will hear back, but an influencer will turn you down. What you may not realize is that more often than you would think, “no” actually means “ask me again later.”
Maybe they already have too much going on to juggle working with you, but in a few weeks or months, their schedule will have cleared up enough to consider it.
Or perhaps right now, they do not see the value in working with you, but at a later date, they could come around to seeing the benefits.
So, do not make the mistake of completely abandoning contact. Check in every once in a while to see how they are doing and if they might reconsider.
10. Not realizing that influencer outreach is a numbers game.
If you keep sending out requests to no avail, you might wonder if influencer outreach is all a waste of time.
Are you doing something wrong? Possibly. Could influencer marketing not be an ideal fit for your business? Maybe.
But more likely, you just do not realize how many requests you may need to send out to get an acceptance.
Even if you are targeting your campaign with care, rejections are a big part of any form of cold outreach.
So, do not panic if you get a lot of them, and do not take it personally. It just goes with the territory.
11. Failing to ask for feedback.
If an influencer takes the time and effort to write you back but turns down your proposal, what do you do next?
Feeling discouraged, many marketers simply press on.
But instead, you should ask them why they said “no,” and what, if anything, might have changed their minds.
Even if it does not win you a second chance with that influencer, their feedback could help you avoid a future rejection.
12. Offering no compensation.
Influencers are not running charities, but a surprising number of companies treat them as if they are.
Make sure you are offering some form of compensation, whether in the form of valuable free merchandise, payments, or both.
13. Getting flagged as a spammer.
Even if you are personalizing your messages, you probably are working off of the same basic template for most of them.
Did you know that Facebook can block you from sending private messages and/or take other actions against your account if the site detects too much duplicate text in your DMs?
Be sure to vary your text enough to avoid being flagged as a spammer.
14. Giving up.
Last but not least, the worst mistake you can make when you are starting out with influencer marketing is giving up.
It takes time to master your outreach techniques, and as we discussed, it is a numbers game. But the rewards are well worth the effort.
So, keep at it, and continue exploring our posts for additional tips, commentary, case studies, and more.