Are you looking to create the best influencer partnership for your brand? You’ve probably already researched social media influencers in your niche and drafted an influencer list of who you’d like to work with on a campaign. The next step is influencer outreach to set up those partnerships, but this can be tricky if you don’t know where to start.
Essential influencer outreach tips
What medium do you use? How much information should you offer in your first message? And how can you steer clear of misunderstandings? These six influencer outreach tips will help you find the best influencers to collaborate with on your next project.
Create a Casting Call in The Creator Marketplace®
Getting started with an influencer immediately is easy by using The Creator Marketplace and posting Casting Calls. Some of the best content creators have already set up profiles that you can filter through to find the best fit for your next campaign. Their profiles likely have their social media profiles connected, so you can see which platform would be best.
By creating Casting Calls, influencers can contact you regarding your content creator jobs. This is a way to interact with influencers directly, plus they can pitch by video or in text form so you can see why they’re the right creator for the job.
Follow and engage with potential partners
If you haven’t already, take the time to follow potential influencer partners on social media before your influencer outreach. 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.
While following along, check whether the influencer is also interacting with their followers in a way that aligns with your brand. While their content may look great, audience interaction is just as important. 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.
You’ll also want to engage with them to show that you’ll be a supportive brand partner. Don’t just follow their accounts and be a passive observer. Like posts that impress you or leave thoughtful comments.
Sharing the influencer’s content with your audience is a wise move with multiple benefits. If you sell kitchenware and share an influencer’s cooking video, your audience will appreciate it. A fitness brand that shares an influencer’s blog post on workout tips also passes along valuable content to its followers.
These are ways to help the influencer notice that you’ve taken an interest in their work and will make it easier to reach out to them to start a conversation about a potential partnership.
Message influencers directly
Whether you’re interacting with influencers on The Creator Marketplace® or directly in their DMs, you can move on to establishing a more direct line of communication. Notice that some influencers will tell you how they prefer brands to handle influencer outreach in their profiles or descriptions like “DM for inquiries and collabs.”
In your opening message, focus on the influencer and how a partnership would benefit their audience rather than your brand. Explain what you like about their content or admire about their online presence. At the end of the message, include relevant links and clarify your interest in collaborating with them. There’s no need to give them all of the information 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, and they may not be open to any new content creator jobs or campaigns. Since creators are bombarded with messages from hundreds of brands, especially if they’re more popular content creators, ensure your message’s header and subject line stand out in an inbox. Keep the message short and make sure it’s obvious why this project would be such a great fit for them.
Foster your relationship and share values
Once you’ve established that they’re interested in a collaboration, now is the time to start fostering that new relationship. Give them the best information to know you, including values and objectives. Ask the influencer about their own goals, values and experiences and see how those intertwine.
An overlap in values can make for a strong and long-lasting partnership. Are you both passionate about climate change issues? Maybe you’re a local business trying to connect with influencers who share about things happening in your 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.
Be specific on deliverables
Now that you’ve started to connect with this content creator and there’s a mutual interest in a partnership, you can get more specific about the collaboration. The influencer may come back with some amendments, but being specific upfront with your wants and needs is helpful for them to decide what’s best for their audience. As you come up with that list of deliverables, make sure you dive into the following specifics:
- What type of content do you want to be created? Be specific about the type of content you want, including length, like a 15-second Instagram Reel or TikTok, a 2-minute shoutout in a YouTube video or a 500-word blog post to use on your own website.
- Where do you want the content housed? Be specific about which social media platform you’d like the content shared on or if you’d like the content to be used on your website or channels. Sometimes creators have multiple platforms, but their audiences are a bit different on each. Knowing this can help you decide which space is best for your partnership.
- How often does content need to be made or shared? This will depend on your business goals. If this is a long-term partnership, you might want the influencer to make daily morning posts promoting an upcoming giveaway or to share your product in a video once a month. If it’s a shorter-term project, you may need a one-off video to boost brand awareness.
- Are there any specific details that must appear in the content? You might also want the influencer to mention upcoming product launches or the time a giveaway ends. Also, let them know if there are any specific links, coupon codes, keywords or hashtags to use.
- When will the content go live? It’s important to set deadlines ahead of time for both parties. Make sure you allow enough time for review and approval of content before posting, if necessary.
You can also send the influencer some examples of your brand’s content or voice, but avoid asking them to do anything that may be inauthentic or conflict with their style. The influencer shouldn’t have to completely copy your tone or stylistic choices, but an understanding of your style might help guide or inspire them.
Offer a fair price
Last, but certainly not least, offer a fair price and how/when you plan to pay them. Marketers use various strategies to compensate influencers, and here are some of the most common approaches:
- Product exchange
- Cash compensation
- In-kind and cash compensation
No matter which strategy you use, you’ll need to offer fair compensation based on a few key factors:
- Influencer’s audience size
- Influencer’s engagement rates
- Type of content being created
- Social media channel or the number of channels being used
- Content quality
- Frequency of posts
- Usage rights
Some influencers will make it easy for you and have pricing info in a media kit so you can see what they’re already expecting for their services. With others, you’ll need to research how much similar influencers are paid for their services and decide what’s best for your brand. IZEA also has an annual study that is a helpful resource on influencer payments.
You may also need to be open to negotiation on both price and content deliverables. If an influencer seems out of your budget, consider offering non-monetary compensation as well or lowering some of your deliverables. Remember that content creation takes a lot of time and effort to provide quality work, so they will expect to be treated respectfully. Plus, you want to be sure the content is a good fit for their audience, so it’s not a waste of time (or money) to either of you.
Using these influencer outreach tips, you’ll be one step closer to your next successful influencer marketing campaign.