Have you ever wanted to work with influencers to boost your brand's reputation or generate more sales but don’t know where to start?
Here, we will highlight some of the reasons you should consider adding an influencer campaign to your marketing strategy and give you an insight into our winning process on how to successfully reach out to influencers on Instagram to maximise your strategy.
“A trusted referral is the holy grail of advertising” - Mark Zuckerberg
Influencer marketing is potentially a new tactic for your brand. However, it is important that we recognise the potential impact that influencer marketing can have on your business, especially in our digital-first world.
When a brand collaborates with an influencer, it can help them stand out from the crowd and attract new followers for themselves, which gives them increased visibility and the opportunity to gain more interaction. Brands can also use influencer marketing for different reasons such as; identifying and reaching their target audience, improve credibility, revamp content strategy, increase engagement or boost conversions.
With this in mind, let’s start looking at our winning formula for approaching influencers.
Step 1: Know your campaign goals
Before approaching an influencer, you should think about your campaign goals and what you’d like to achieve by collaborating with them. The most common campaign objectives for working with influencers are the following;
- Increasing brand awareness
- Creating a bank of amazing content for your brand
- Driving more conversions or sales to your website
Without having these goals in place at the start, it will be difficult for you to determine the type of influencer you should work with and you will have no way of measuring your results once the collaboration has finished.
Having campaign goals will also provide you with clear and consistent messaging to use when you start reaching out to influencers. which we will come onto soon.
Once you have identified some clear marketing goals in mind, you can move on to the next step; influencer research.
Step 2: Finding the right influencers
Despite its potential, influencer marketing can easily be a wasted investment if you are not reaching out to the right ones. And while it’s tempting to use single-metric definitions like the amount of Instagram followers as a measure of influence, it’s very important to take some time to investigate their accounts further
Here are the main considerations when starting to research influencers that could be a good fit for your brand;
Brand fit and relevance of the audience
This is a crucial part of the research as the brand fit needs to be right. This means conducting further research into an influencers background. You can look at previous collaborations that the influencer has been involved in, often an influencer will have a certain ‘look and feel’ and will usually stick to brand collaborations that are relevant to their background. You may also check their audience to ensure that they are a good fit for your brand - who is following them, what does the comment section look like on a post, who interacts with them the most? These are all key points to think about when researching an influencer.
Size of audience and potential reach
Looking at an influencer’s reach is certainly a valid consideration. However, it is important to keep in mind that traffic and followers are only meaningful when the influencer is reaching your brand’s target audience, so it is important to know your target audience before reaching out to someone.
Engagement; how much do they “trust” the influencer?
Engagement is a good way to determine the performance of the content of an influencer and how their audience reacts to their content. For example, do their followers often respond, comment, like and share the content that they are posting?
How followers engage with an influencer are often an indication of how meaningful those relationships are and how much an audience trusts an influencer. Word of mouth has always been considered one of the most powerful methods of marketing, influencers are now providing brands with word of mouth marketing at scale by potentially positioning products in front of a large number of people who trust their opinion and often act on what they are saying.
Step 3: Composing the perfect outreach message
There are a few things to keep in mind to make sure you are grabbing an influencer’s attention, right from the very first direct message (DM).
You should approach each influencer in a unique and personalised way to grab their attention and make it clear immediately that you understand them and their interests and why you think your brand could be a good fit for them. You could personalise the message by mentioning something that you love about their feed or highlight a recent post which you think is amazing. You should also outline your brand, what you stand for and outline and upcoming campaign info which you think could be relevant for this stage of the conversation.
It is important to mention why you think they would be a good fit for your brand early on. Remember to set this out clearly and relevant to their interests. You need to have something amazing to offer them if you want to grab their attention, as they most probably receive a high volume of messages per day.
A good approach at the start is to first identify common interests and a great brand fit, and then offer them some free product samples to try and open up the conversation further.
The key thing to remember when reaching out to influencers is to keep it simple when you first approach them and be aware that not every influencer is right for your brand.
You should aim to gradually build up your relationship together over time. Try not to jump in immediately demanding stuff from them,.remember they are influencers that have built up their own audience and are often respected by their followers and also other brands could be competing for their time.
“Instagram Stories have become pivotal to influencer marketing success” - InfluencerMarketingHub
Step 4: Nurture your relationship
Once you begin a relationship with your key influencers you will want to keep the conversation going and aim to nurture them into real advocates for your brand, or possibly go even further and work with them on an ambassadorial level.
Influencer relationships and activity will vary greatly depending on how your initial conversations go, what your budgets are (if any) and how much time the potential influencer has to give your brand.
Here is some indication of output from working with influencers;
This type of collaboration will often take place when a brand is looking for a quick and easy way to boost its marketing campaign and engagement. It could be that a brand has sent them some product e.g. a ‘Taster Pack’ of drinks to an influencer and in return, the influencer will create an Instagram story of the product; perhaps letting their audience know how tasty the product is or a couple of key selling points related to the product.
An Instagram post is slightly more targeted and leaves a lot more room for the influencer to go into more detail about the product. The great thing about a post is that it will be showcased on the influencers main grid on Instagram and the content won’t disappear after 24hours (which is what happens with IG stories), leaving more time for a larger audience to interact with the post.
One-off content package - including images, posts, guest blog content/recipes/etc
Different types of packages will typically involve the addition or subtraction of the amount of content or services you are offering, giving you the ability to find services that work for yourself within your price point.
If you are a food brand, you may collaborate with an influencer who specialises in cooking and that creates a lot of recipe content. This could be a great chance for you to send over a ‘meal package’ along with a cracking recipe for them to follow, so that they can showcase this on their channel, bringing the audience along with them. The best way to do this is by implementing a lot of video content, this can be done via Instagram reels or uploaded as a video to their main feed.
Ongoing partnership or ambassadorial roles
If you are looking for a more long term collaboration then an ongoing partnership or brand ambassadors is the way forward.
Depending on your marketing budget, you may wish to collaborate with an influencer for a longer period of time. This can be a good way to build up a relationship with the influencer and will allow the audience of the influencer to gain more trust in your brand and products.
Brand ambassadors are also a great option if you are serious about utilizing influencer marketing in your company strategies. A brand ambassador will not only make their audience more inclined to try out your products, but they can also paint a picture of your brand on a micro-or-macro scale.
Top tip - “Companies that incorporate brand ambassadors as an integral part of their marketing strategy are often more successful in increasing their market share and network of potential customers” - Meltwater
Step 5: Learning, reviewing and repeating
Make sure to continue to do all of your previous steps. Keep on sharing their social content, commenting on their Instagram posts, and every so often sending them a complimentary message.
You want to keep your relationships with influencers positive so that you can continue to use them in the future, should you wish to. Keeping the experience positive will not only benefit your brand but will also leave the influencer with positive feedback that they can continue to share with their audience or in general. A win-win!
As you start to use influencer marketing you will gage a better understanding of what works well and perhaps what doesn’t work as well. This can be taken as a learning experience for your brand so that you can continue to improve your marketing strategy.
It is important to keep your influencer marketing consistent so that you soon become an expert on the topic and be confident in who you plan to reach out to as well as the process.
Creating a successful influencer marketing campaign requires lots of solid planning and a strong understanding of your target audience and marketing objectives. Having a great knowledge of social media is also vital. Luckily, our intelligent team of digital experts are here to help you with this.
We are always looking out for the latest digital trends in marketing and we truly believe that influencer collaborations are a very important part of today’s digital society.
For even more inspiration on why you should approach influencers to boost your marketing strategy, take a look at 8 Influencer Marketing Case Studies with Incredible Results and see some highly impressive influencer marketing case studies that show just how much influencers can boost business.
If you think that influencer marketing can help increase the power of your brand but you're still not sure where to start, then book a call with us today to discuss how we can help you!