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You’ve researched your options, and you’ve drafted a list of social media influencers you’d like to work with. The next step seems fairly straightforward. You’ve got to conduct influencer outreach to inquire about possible partnerships. But influencer outreach can seem tricky if you don’t know where to start. What medium do you use? How much information should you offer in your first message? And how can you steer clear of misunderstandings? Using these five tips will help you persuade influencers to collaborate with your brand.

1. Follow and Engage Before Influencer Outreach

If you haven’t already, take the time to follow potential partners on social media. If they have multiple accounts, give each one a follow. This allows you to get a closer look at their style and the frequency of their posting across various channels.

Take a look at the comments under each post to see how often the influencer interacts with followers. Check whether they politely respond to audience criticism or praise. As you read the comments, ask yourself, “Does this person seem easy to work with, and are they a suitable messenger for my brand?” This might help you further narrow down your list of potential partners.

Don’t just follow their accounts and be a passive observer. Engage. Like posts that really impress you. You might even feel compelled to leave a comment.

Sharing the influencer’s content with your own audience is a wise move that comes with multiple benefits. If you sell kitchenware and you share an influencer’s cooking video, your audience will appreciate it. A fitness brand that shares an influencer’s blog post on workout tips is also passing along valuable content to its followers.

On top of that, the influencer might notice that you’ve taken an interest in their work. Then, when you formally reach out to the influencer, they’ll already be somewhat familiar with you and your brand from those brief interactions.

2. Make Direct Contact

You’re familiar with the influencer’s work and have even engaged with it. Now you can move onto establishing a more direct line of communication. You can either reach out via direct message on the platform or through an email. Some influencers make their preference known in their social media profile sections. Look for an email address or text that reads, “DM for inquiries and collabs.”

In your opening message, focus on the influencer, rather than your brand. Briefly explain what you like about their content or admire about their online presence. At the end of the message, include any relevant links, and make it clear that you’re interested in collaborating with them. You don’t need to go into detail about the specifics of the project just yet. After all, you don’t even know if they’re open to brand collaborations.

Consider that the influencer may receive lots of collaboration requests each day. This can be especially true with more popular content creators. So, make sure your message’s header stands out in an inbox. Keep the content short. A busy influencer will likely skip over long, salesy messages.

Within IZEAx Discovery you can easily email creators for the creators who have their email enabled. If you don’t want to back and forth with email you can directly message the creator with in-app communication or even make a direct offer in IZEAx Unity Suite.

3. Share Values and Objectives

If they’re interested in a collaboration, use a follow-up message to continue to build on your relationship. You can feel free to share more info about your brand, its values and objectives. Don’t make the message entirely about yourself though. Ask the influencer about their own goals, values and experiences.

An overlap in values can make for a strong and long-lasting partnership. Are you both passionate about climate change issues? How about the tech industry? Or perhaps you’re a local business trying to connect with influencers who care about the community. If you share common goals or views of the world, it’s easy to pitch the benefits of collaboration — even before you discuss compensation.

4. Get Specific

Is the influencer still interested? Good. Now you can get more specific. What exactly do you want the influencer to contribute to this collaboration? As you come up with a list of deliverables, make sure you answer the following questions:

  • Do you need content created, and if so, what type of content do you want? Be more specific than “social media posts,” “blogs” or “videos.” The influencer will also want to know about the length of the content. Perhaps you need a series of 200-character Twitter posts, 500-word listicles or short 15-second videos.
  • How often does content need to be made or shared? This will depend on your business goals. You might want the influencer to make daily morning posts promoting an upcoming giveaway. Or perhaps you just need a one-off video to boost brand awareness.
  • Are there any specific details that must appear in the content? You might want the influencer to mention upcoming product launches or the time a giveaway ends. Or you could ask the influencer to include links to your landing pages. If the content is appearing on social media, hashtags can improve its visibility or make it easier to find. Let the influencer know if certain keywords or hashtags are needed.

In addition, let the influencer see some examples of your brand’s own content or voice. The influencer shouldn’t have to completely copy your tone or stylistic choices. But an understanding of your style might help guide or inspire the influencer. Avoid asking influencers to say or do anything that may come across as inauthentic or conflict with their style.

5. Offer a Fair Price

Be ready to explain how you plan to pay the influencer. Marketers use various strategies to compensate influencers. Common approaches include:

  • Product Exchange
  • Cash Compensation
  • In-Kind & Cash Compensation

No matter which strategy you use, you’ll need to offer a fair compensation. If you offer an unfair compensation, don’t expect the influencer to agree to collaborate with you. But what is fair? That depends on various factors, including:

  • Influencer’s audience size
  • Influencer’s engagement rates
  • Type of content being created
  • Social media channel or number of channels being used
  • Content quality
  • Frequency of posts

Some influencers will make it easy for you and have pricing info in a media kit. Other times, you’ll need to research how much similar influencers are paid for their services.

Whatever compensation you offer, be willing to negotiate to some degree. If an influencer seems out of your budget, consider offering non-monetary compensation as well. Or loosen some of your demands. An influencer may be onboard if the work requires less of their time.

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