Have you gotten your hands dirty with influencer marketing yet? How did that work out for you? By now, most businesses realize the importance of working with influencers. It’s one of the most authentic ways to promote your business or products and increase your brand awareness among highly-targeted audiences.
However, some businesses end up with less than optimal results from influencer marketing because they are unaware of how they should be working with influencers effectively. As a result, their faith in influencer marketing decreases.
If you have been in a similar situation, here’s a handy guide that discusses the best ways of working with influencers to ensure better engagement. This can be a really useful resource, even if you’re planning your first influencer marketing campaign. Let’s take a look.
1. Ensure that the Opportunity is Relevant
When you are working with influencers, remember that they aren’t in it just for the money. Most influencers attach a lot of importance to their personal brand and their ability to influence their followers the right ways. This requires them to post content that’s highly authentic and this reflects in their choice of brands to work with as well.
In fact, the number one reason why influencers choose to work with certain brands is that they love the brand and they may even post about the brand organically.
So, a great tip for working with influencers is to reach out to the ones who are already talking about you. You can use social listening tools like Mention or Agorapulse to find out who has mentioned your brand on the web. Accordingly, you can reach out to them to pitch your offer.
However, if you’re pretty new in the market, the chances of influencers posting organically about your brand are slim. If that’s the case, you need to make sure that you reach out to influencers from your niche and industry only. That will make sure that the opportunity is relevant for the influencer and that they’ll be able to deliver value to their audience through the collaboration.
As you can see below, handbag brand, SENREVE, has collaborated with style blogger, Wendy Nguyen. The partnership is a win-win since the brand and the influencer’s niches are in perfect synergy.
When working with influencers, make sure to evaluate their influence to maximize your ROI from the campaign. Sometimes individuals on social media resort to buying followers (mostly fake accounts and bots) in an attempt to appear influential. Needless to say, partnerships with such people will only cost you money and offer no real benefits.
This is the reason why brands no longer vet influencers based on their follower counts alone. In fact, studies have found that brands attach the greatest importance to content aesthetic, followed by audience demographics and engagement rate when working with influencers.
Image via Activate
So, make sure that your potential influencer’s audience is similar to yours, that their content is pleasing and aesthetic, and that they have a high engagement rate.
A high engagement rate means that the influencer’s content connects with their audience. However, you should check that the engagement rate is consistent across all of their posts. Some influencers may be purchasing likes to showcase higher engagement on some of their posts. That’s why you should check their engagement rates thoroughly.
Once you’re satisfied with these, then you can vet them based on their follower counts. You should also go through the comments they receive on their posts to understand how their audience reacts to their content.
3. Use Warm Introductions and Leverage Personalization
When you find influencers you want to work with, you should use a warm outreach. This can help increase the likelihood of getting positive responses from them.
Start by following them on social media, like and comment meaningfully on their posts. Once you have put yourself on their radar, you can consider drafting an email that talks about a potential collaboration.
When working with influencers, you should use a personal touch in your emails. Show your appreciation of their past work and then introduce yourself and the reason you’re reaching out.
Make sure to highlight the value such a partnership can provide them. You might even cite examples of your past collaborations and what other influencers thought about working with you.
You must also ensure that when you’re communicating with them, you don’t start to pitch immediately. Instead, you can choose to mention some of their old posts and commend them. Based on them, you can then explain why you want to connect with them.
It is also important to remember that you shouldn’t get into the specifics about working with influencers in the first email. Use the first email as an opportunity to set up another time to discuss the details. Remember to end your emails with a definitive call-to-action.
You may also add some testimonials from influencers with whom you’ve collaborated with in the past. It may also help to include some content ideas in the email.
When you’re working with influencers, you should communicate all of your goals clearly to them. Many marketers want to improve brand advocacy through influencer marketing. Some other major goals of influencer marketing include reaching new audiences, improving brand sentiment, increasing brand awareness, and even promoting product launches.
No matter what your influencer marketing goal is, make sure to communicate it clearly to your influencers. This will help them understand what they need to deliver and how they can do it. Without this, your campaign won’t be as effective and you might fail to get the desired results.
You should also be open to long-term collaborations with influencers. To ensure that there are no hiccups when you’re working with influencers, you should consider creating an agreement.
This should detail all of the deliverables from both the parties. It should also formalize the contract and ensure that there’s no confusion between both parties. This, in turn, can help your campaign progress smoothly according to plan.
5. Allow Influencers to be Creative
Influencers are a creative bunch of people and it’s this trait that draws hordes of followers towards them on social media. When you’re working with influencers, don’t make the mistake of weighing them down with overly restrictive content guidelines.
You need to provide them with the creative freedom they need to deliver their best work. In fact, a study by Crowdtap found that 77% of influencers are likely to partner with a brand more than once if they are offered creative freedom.
So, when you are working with influencers, share your goals and overall vision but leave the rest to them. You can, of course, ask for a final review before the content is published (to make sure it suits your requirements).
If you really want to work on the content, you can talk to them and pass your ideas on. You should, of course, leave the final decisions to them. This is because they know their audiences the best. That’s why, when you’re working with influencers, it’s best to leave the final choice to them because they know what works and what doesn’t.
6. Offer Fair Compensation
Businesses are slowly waking up to the fact that influencers need to be fairly compensated in order to increase the ROI from their campaigns. Working with influencers can seem expensive but remember that you can get a better ROI if you partner with the right influencers.
Remember, your influencers need to invest a significant amount of their time and effort into creating compelling content for your business. And the success of your campaign will largely depend on how passionate your influencers are about creating content for you.
So, a great tip for working with influencers is to offer them fair compensation. This will make them feel valued and will encourage them to showcase their best work.
Gone are the days when you could make influencers happy simply by sharing free samples of your products. You need to think about offering monetary compensation besides other perks such as free products or experiences.
To make your entire process of compensating your influencers simpler, you can use Grin. It can help you manage your campaign and also allows you to pay your influencers or send them your products. Doing this can make working with influencers easier.
7. Think Long-Term
When you’re working with influencers, your goal should be to build strong relationships with influencers. This is mainly because marketers now realize that the key to successful influencer marketing is to build long-term relationships with influencers.
When you are working with influencers, don’t be myopic in your approach. You shouldn’t consider your interactions as one-time transactions. If you adopt a transactional approach, your influencers won’t be as invested in your campaign. And this will directly impact your ROI.
It’s important to build long-term relationships with your influencers so that you can work with them on your future campaigns as well.
For example, SugarBearHair has been known to work with the same influencers on more than one occasion.
This increases the authenticity of the content that influencers create as their followers feel that they truly have a personal connection with the brand. Such endorsements are likely to bring in more conversions.
Additionally, these influencers will be well-versed with your brand’s voice and methodologies. This makes it simpler to collaborate with them in the future too. Partnering with the influencers on multiple occasions makes them the face of your brand as well. This can benefit you greatly.
That’s why, whenever you’re working with influencers, you shouldn't stay in touch with them, even when your campaign is over. Send them free samples of your products from time to time, share coupons, or invitations to exclusive events. Also, promote them to your networks. A mutually beneficial relationship is likely to make your campaigns more successful.
When you’re working with influencers, remember to keep their best interests at heart. Only if they feel valued and appreciated will they be willing to put their best effort into your campaigns. This is the key to driving successful long-term partnerships with your influencers.
Also, for the success of your campaigns, remember to approach relevant influencers only after you have vetted them carefully. Use warm introductions and personalize your messages. Don’t forget to communicate your goals clearly and compensate them fairly for their work.
Brian Mechem is CRO and Co-Founder of GRIN, the #1 software solution for direct-to-consumer brands who run influencer marketing programs. GRIN's software powers some of the best influencer programs in the world, providing insights on ROI and adding efficiency to the influencer marketing process.