An influencer outreach strategy has the potential to elevate your marketing and improve brand awareness, but it’s not as simple as hiring a few content creators to talk about your products. The best influencer outreach strategies develop authentically from a foundation of mutual respect, and cultivating the partnerships that help your business excel takes time and effort. Get it right, and you could join the 84 percent of marketers who already consider influencer marketing an effective way to grow a business.

Steps to Succeed With Influencer Outreach Strategy

A good influencer outreach strategy doesn’t happen overnight. Before you even think about talking to influencers, you need to have a strong idea of how an influencer marketing campaign helps your business grow, and you need to think carefully about which influencers are in the best position to help you attain your goals. Consider these steps for building a long-lasting and productive relationship.

Have a Good Product

You obviously love your product, but are influencers going to feel the same? It’s important to remember that influencers hold a position of trust, and they’ve earned that position through years of engagement with their fan base. Their opinions are important, as shown by 70 percent of YouTube subscribers believing influencers change and shape culture. Furthermore, audiences are more likely to make purchases based on influencer recommendations. That level of responsibility means it’s essential for influencers to maintain their integrity, and they’re unlikely to connect their names to brands or products that they don’t believe in. Make sure to provide a leading product in the market for influencers to give a positive, honest review about it.

Choose the Right Type of Influencer

There are three main types of influencers:

Celebrity influencers:

Influencers such as Kim Kardashian, who only partner with global brands.

Macro-influencers:

influencers who aren’t traditional celebrities, but who enjoy huge success on social media and have millions of followers.

Micro-influencers:

influencers who are small content creators that have much smaller fan bases, but still know how to be engaging and have the potential to generate a lot of interest in niche markets.

The dream may be to have a celebrity endorsement, but that might not be the best idea. Besides the enormous cost of working with stars, statistics from Google show that 60 percent of YouTube subscribers actually trust advice from their favorite creators more than they trust advice from celebrities. For most businesses, it’s much more likely that any influencer campaign involves micro-influencers. Fortunately, even small influencers have the potential to sell big, and Forbes says that small influencers generate very high levels of engagement.

An influencer’s reach is only one of many considerations, and knowing which influencers are the right choice for you means having a firm understanding of your business and marketing goals. You need an influencer with industry relevance, whose voice matches your brand, and who targets the demographic most likely to buy your products. You also need to keep a firm grip on your marketing budget.

Research Influencers

The rise of influencer marketing has meant an increase in the number of influencers plying their trade. The number of bloggers alone working in the United States is an estimated 30 million, while the market for influencer marketing on Instagram is now worth $1.7 billion. With so many options, it’s important to make sure you carefully research influencers you’re interested in working with to make sure they’re the right fit. This is particularly important since there are some “fake influencers” out there who purchase followers and like to give the appearance of being more influential and important than they really are.

The easiest way to navigate the minefield of dubious influencers and narrow your choices to only those influencers who are a good fit for your business is to use an influencer marketing platform These platforms bring together content creators and marketers, making it much easier to negotiate agreements.

Connect

Influencers are in high demand, with 45 percent of them in talks with marketers for new campaigns. When you contact a content creator, your proposal should stand out from the crowd. You need to have an offer that is beneficial for both parties. More importantly, you need to be authentic. Spend time building a relationship before you talk about any possible partnerships. Follow the influencer on social media, like and share content, and leave valuable feedback. By the time you connect with influencers, you should already be on their radars. They should feel like you value them even before you work together.

Be Personal

You’ve spent months developing a rapport with someone, and now it’s time to put your cards on the table. You need to get this bit right, and make a lasting impression. Don’t send out stock messages. Make your pitch personal. Remember, influencers value authenticity, and they need a strong justification for putting their reputations on the line for your brand. Go the extra mile to make sure all your good work building the relationship pays dividends.

Negotiate a Good Deal

It’s important to make working with you an enticing proposition, but that doesn’t mean influencers hold all the bargaining chips. You have a budget to keep to, and you have certain expectations to meet. Talk to your influencers about your goals. Ensure  your goals seem feasible within your budget to avoid disappointment.  83 percent of influencers claim less than half of brands offer any cash, so you may not need to get out your checkbook. Also think about how you intend to pay. Only 11 percent of influencer campaigns are performance-based. The majority of campaigns involve a flat-fee arrangement.

Work at the Relationship

If things work out and you get some influencers on board, your work doesn’t end there. Campaigns evolve and goals change. Work closely with your influencers,  give them the creative freedom to do what they do best. Make sure you’re always getting a good return on your investment by closely monitoring results.

Final Thought: Building Takes Time

Building relationships takes time, and there’s no time like the present to start working on your influencer outreach strategy. Even if your first campaign is months away, identify influencers you want to work with, and start engaging them. It never hurts to improve your visibility with content creators who have strong voices, can help your business grow.

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