Working with social media influencers, especially on Instagram, is a tried-and-true method that many brands and companies have worked into their marketing plans to increase their ROI, broaden their reach, and boost their reputations. Often, though, companies are unaware of how to begin working with social media influencers. Here, we’ll address strategies for reaching out and extending offers to specific kinds of influencers.
Assess Who Your Influencers Are
Before you can figure out how to get an influencer on board, you first must understand what kind of influencer he or she is, to determine the best ways to reach out and partner.
There are two types of influencers: micro-influencers and macro-influencers.
Micro-influencers are usually regular people who have the potential to be relevant and influential for your brand. They can be people who are already committed and loyal to your brand, or even people who have never heard of you, but who might be interested in your company. Often, you’ll find that these influencers will have the smallest reach, but the highest engaged reach, and they generate authentic conversations about your brand.
A macro-influencer is a horse of a different color. Think about macro-influencers as celebrities, social media icons with millions of followers, and public figures that have an intensely broad reach. They’re typically distinguished by their social status, celebrity, or relative number of followers on social media platforms. Macro-influencers can reach significantly larger audiences than micro-influencers, but that also means they can be more of a challenge to work with.
So, how do you identify people who could work as influencers for your company or brand? First, start by looking within your niche at influencers who are popular or have a strong following. Identify these influencers by looking at the conversation happening around the hashtags and keywords commonly used in your target market.
Identify which users have broad reaches, top engagement, and would best represent your brand and help it grow. These can be folks who interact with your brand already, or don’t.
Take a look at your competition to see who they have endorsing their products and brands, and which of these campaigns are most successful.
Look at the influencers who have endorsed products similar to yours; this endorsement indicates that they might be interested in working with you and your brand.
How to Reach Out to Your Prospective Influencers
As we pointed out, your micro-influencers can be very effective in terms of engagement, but they probably don’t have the broadest reach.
That being said, you can reach out to them directly through an email, or even direct-message them on their account. Here are some tips:
- Start by introducing yourself, and explain who you are. Try to outline in a clear, direct way why you think you’d be a good fit working together.
- Lay out the plan of what you’d like the influencer to do. If possible, try to list out a few of the benefits they’d receive by working with you, and tell them what you’d do for them, as well.
Micro-influencers likely won’t need to be paid and will often work with you for a product exchange.
It can definitely be expected that your macro-influencers will have representatives, so it’s likely you won’t initially be reaching out directly to the macro-influencer you desire. Your macro-influencers, whether they’re on Instagram or are semi-notable celebrities, likely have agents or managers taking care of their inquiries, so you’ll want to figure out who to reach out to, hire an agency to do this work for you, and/or hire a business development/influencer manager to own this process.
You can find celebrity contact info by going to the celebrity’s website, or by using a celebrity contact database. The perfect way to start the communication process with an agent or manager is to simply pitch them a short email that specifies who you are, what you want them to do, and what you’re going to offer them.
The Types of Deals Your Influencers May Consider
Once you’ve got the gates of communication with your influencers open, it’s important to have a defined type of deal. Again, this will depend on the type of influencer you plan on using. We’ll talk about a few of the most common deals here:
Sending Free Product
This can be a fun, inexpensive way to recruit micro-influencers to jump on board. Typically, micro-influencers don’t need to be paid, so working a product exchange deal into your plan with them is the best way to go.
This typically entails you gifting them a free product in exchange for a post on their social media accounts. This is simply reaching out to the person, offering them a free product in exchange for the post, and allowing them to reach their audience with your products.
Pay to Post
This is an incredibly common method for working out a social media influencer partnership. This is where you pay your influencer to post about you. This could be a flat fee for a one-off post, or a pre-agreed-upon program for posting a certain number of times in a scheduled period.
The payment and schedule are up to you, but ensure that you have this worked out with your influencer before you both agree to the plan. This can work with both micro- and macro-influencers, but we don’t recommend it for your micro-influencers, as they’re likely satisfied with free product exchange (as explained above).
This deal can work for both micro- and macro-influencers. This type of agreement outlines that you’ll be sharing a portion of the revenue based off the sales that come from a specific product they have linked or promoted.
This arrangement is typically based off how many people click and buy off the link that you provide them to post. It can also be stacked with the flat-fee option. These details are things you’ll likely work out with the macro-influencer and their representatives.
Total Content Package
Build a cyclical system for your influencer program by asking influencers to post on your blog and share, talk about, and tease these content pieces on social.
This will keep your influencer’s followers moving towards your brand in a more seamless, less “salesy” way.
In short, working with and reaching out to social media influencers depends on what types of influencers you want to work with and what you want them to do.
If you’re working with micro-influencers, you can often reach out to them directly, outline how you’d like to work together, and offer compensation in the form of product exchange.
When working with macro-influencers, you’ll most likely need to reach out to their representatives to develop a rapport with them, explain how you’d like to work together, and strategize about a compensation-based marketing plan that can benefit the both of you.