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 influencer marketing. 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 to work with influencers effectively. As a result, their faith in this form of 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 work 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 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
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
In order to increase the likelihood of getting positive responses from influencers, you need to use warm outreach.
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.
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. Remember to end your emails with a definitive call-to-action.
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.
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. However, some brands make the mistake of weighing them down with overly restrictive content guidelines. This is a serious mistake that you should avoid when you work with influencers.
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 work 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).
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.
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.
7. Think Long-Term
One of the top marketing priorities for many marketers today is 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 work 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.
So, make sure to keep in touch with your influencers, 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 work 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 COO and Co-Founder of Grin, a software solution for companies 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.