The Rise of Influencers
Social media networks such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube have launched the careers of thousands of influencers and social media personalities.
These modern stars have landed book deals, Netflix shows, lead television and movie roles, and have started initiatives outside of the social media realm. All the while, amassing millions of followers across social media sites.
These stars are particularly popular among young people, especially Generation Z and millennials. They’ve become today’s celebrity obsessions, as their loyal following is able to see everything from what they ate for breakfast this morning to which event they’ll be going to next.
As a result, the social power that these stars wield can be incredibly lucrative to brands and their digital marketers.
The use of influencer-driven marketing campaigns is a growing trend among hip, savvy digital brands. The marketing teams at these companies reach out to influencers directly through Instagram comments, direct messages, and emails.
However, looking through the comments on one of these influencer’s posts will reveal several companies attempting to gain their attention. You can only guess how many others are blowing up their DMs or incessantly calling their managers.
So how can a savvy digital marketer stand out from the crowd and gain the attention of top influencers?
Responding quickly, doing your research, and having an engaging and unique pitch can all help you reach out to influencers effectively and receive a response.
1. Do Your Research
Reaching out to influencers based on their follower count alone is not an effective tactic for finding the best personality to promote your brand. You’ll need to do a good amount of research first. You’ll need to find influencers who would be interested in your product or service, and who fit into your industry niche.
Using an influencer search engine can help you find top social media personalities on sites such as Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and other social media sites and blogging platforms.
FollowerWonk, for example, provides detailed information on Twitter personalities. A simple Google search can also help you compile a list of influencers to reach out to.
Consider the following criteria when you are vetting potential influencers:
• How many followers do they have?
• Does their demographic match up with your company’s demographic?
• Is their personal brand one that your company wants to associate with?
• Is this influencer currently undergoing any controversies or have they had any difficult controversies in the past? If so, you may want to avoid them for the time being.
• What type of content do they produce? What social media channels are they on?
• Will this influencer be someone your customers or clients would know?
In addition, you should brainstorm criteria to aid you in your research, such as:
• Are there any major life events that your product or service can help with? Would your product or service be useful for brides-to-be, expectant mothers, people moving to a new city, or any other life changes? Pinpointing these events can help you target influencers who are undergoing these changes.
• Are there certain demographics that you wish to target with your product or service?
• What type of influencer will your company like to partner with?
2. Build a Relationship
After you’ve identified which influencer you’d like to partner with, follow them on social media. Use your company account to build a relationship with the influencer organically.
Comment on their posts like you would a friend’s – but don’t pitch your brand just yet. Compliment their latest selfie or congratulate them on their latest award or gig.
Interact with the influencer’s Stories on Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook as well. If they have polls in their Instagram Stories, vote in them. Answer questions that they’re asking their followers.
Engage and interact with their content so that they know that you’re interested in building a relationship.
3. Share Their Content
Another way to get an influencers’ attention is to share their posts and tag them in your own content. Don’t do this right away; you don’t want to seem too pushy or like you’re trying to start a relationship with them too quickly.
Once you’ve been following the influencer for a few weeks and have engaged with their content, link to one of their posts in your own content.
This could be done by including a link in your company’s latest blog article or sharing the link directly on your social media sites.
If you’ve done research on the influencers you want to contact, their content will be of direct relevance to your own demographic. They’ll appreciate the exposure and you’ll be able to build an organic relationship.
4. Have an Engaging, Well-Crafted Pitch
When it’s time to reach out to the influencer directly, you need to have an engaging, creative, and well-crafted pitch to stand out from the crowd. After you’ve sent them an initial message on social media, send them an in-depth email introducing them to you and your company.
In this email, make sure to include the following:
• A specific and detailed subject line so that the influencer does not confuse your email for spam
• An informal, friendly tone that isn’t too “salesy”
• Links to your website, social media accounts, and products/services that might be of particular relevance to the influencer
• An open call to action at the end of the email, such as “please let me know if you’d like to collaborate” or “if you’d be interested in working together, we’d love to form a partnership.”
Avoid any specific offers or proposals in this email. Once the influencer gets back to you, that’s when you can start discussing business, including specific posts that would work best for both you and your new partner.
5. Have a Solid Social Media Presence
For influencers, social media is everything. It’s how they built their brands, their image, and how they make their money. For this reason, they want to make sure that the brands they partner with also take social media seriously. Having a solid social media presence will increase your chances of success when interacting with influencers.
If you only have a handful of posts or fewer than 1,000 followers on any of your platforms, this will signal to an influencer that your company does not have a strong social media presence.
Uploading regularly, increasing your follower count, and interacting with your consumers on social media will boost your overall social media presence and your brand partnership success rate.
6. Respond Quickly
The most popular influencers will receive hundreds of emails per day from companies who want them to promote their product or service.
If you get a response from an influencer, this is a sign that they want to work with you. If you slide into their DMs or comments section and get a response to collaborate, respond to it immediately.
Most of the time, you’ll have to send an email to their business account. Most influencers have their business accounts linked to their social media profiles. Usually, an influencer will have a system set up to collect emails.
The first email you’ll receive from them will probably be to confirm that you’re an actual brand looking to partner with them.
You should respond as quickly as possible to the first email you receive directly from that influencer.
Introduce yourself and craft a response that shows that you actually read their emails. Usually, influencers will send form emails to the brands on their mailing list and receive standard marketing emails back.
Write a response that shows you’re genuinely interested in what they’re saying.
If the email says to contact them if you have any questions about their posts or their personal brand, use this opportunity to ask them an intelligent and well-crafted question that relates to their prompt.
This will help you stand out from the crowd and increase your chances of a partnership.