How to Approach an Influencer, a Practical Guide
By Bobby Johnson
July 6, 2022
By Bobby Johnson
July 6, 2022
Influencer marketing has grown from $1.7 billion to a staggering $13.8 billion in just six short years. Why?
“Content creators are influential because their followers trust them,” explains Ann D’Adamo, who heads influencer programs at Inspira. “They’re experts in something their followers are passionate about – whether that’s cooking, makeup, electronic gear, gaming, books… there are influencers in just about any genre you can imagine.”
The relationship between content creators and their followers has profound effects on brands. An endorsement on Instagram or TikTok can lead to a boom in sales. In fact, half of Gen Z has bought something because an influencer suggested it.
Now is the time to jump into one of the most effective marketing techniques out there.
We’re going to walk you through the basics of how to find, approach, and negotiate with an influencer to get your brand in front of the right audience.
Before you start drafting that email or DM, the first step is figuring out what kind of influencer works best for your product or brand.
Our infographic about understanding influencers has a lot of useful data we can pull from.
The first data point is that 80% of influencers are female. That is a huge discrepancy. However, it also means that products and services geared toward a female demographic are a home run when considering reaching out to influencers. Beauty, fashion, and other typically female-dominated brands should have no trouble finding an ambassador on social media.
Another helpful bit of data is that the largest cohort of influencers (38%) are doing lifestyle posts. Food, beverage, DIY, and CPG brands should be taking advantage of this large group of lifestyle enthusiasts.
One of the most interesting data points is that most influencers, 52%, have fewer than 25k followers. The next highest group (25k-100k followers) makes up only 20% of influencers, with the percentages growing understandably smaller as the follower count grows above a million. However, what this means for brands is that you don’t need to always shoot for the stars (literally) when looking for an influencer.
Trying to nab a Kardashian is not only difficult, it might be a waste of your time and energy in the long run. This huge crowd of smaller influencers (called micro-influencers) is easier to reach and allows you to create more focused and targeted campaigns.
Plus, these micro-influencers have an average engagement rate of around 3.8%, which is more than double that of mega influencers (around 1.2%).
Once you’ve decided what kind of influencer best fits your brand, it’s time to start putting names and faces to your ideal. There are a few simple ways to find influencers.
The first way to find influencers is to scour through your own social media followers. Unless they’re a bot, your followers are already at least partially interested in your brand, service, or voice. So, scroll through your followers on Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, TikTok or your social media of choice.
Make a short list of followers who have a significant follower count of their own: these could be either professional influencers or people willing to accept a branded post.
Another method for finding influencers that match your brand is to hunt through hashtags. Not just any hashtag will work: you should be looking for hashtags that relate to your product or service. If you’re in CPG, try hashtags like #food, #foodie, or #thirstythursday. For beauty, hashtags like #beautymood, #pretty, or #makeup are great hunting grounds.
See who is posting using the hashtag that matches your industry, specifically those with a follower count that fits your goal.
Lastly, check out what your competitors are doing. If your brand has a significant competitor, peep on their feed. You may not want to use exactly the influencer they’re using, but this intel may allow you to find someone in their circle, or even lead you down a rabbit hole of other influencers connected to that one.
You’ve got the kind of influencer you want, and now you have a shortlist of influencers that might be interested.
Now it’s time to start reaching out to influencers.
Job one, though, is to have ideas for what you want the influencer to do (and what you’re willing to give them). Is the influencer posting text, video, photos? Are they running a giveaway? Is this a Reel, something temporary, or a big produced video that’s going up on YouTube forever?
Are you sending samples, a full product, or giving them a taste of your service? Or are you paying for their influence? Do they need to be flown or driven somewhere to experience your product? Do they get a piece of the action, a commission or affiliate fee for items sold through their channel?
Don’t be afraid to have multiple ideas here. In fact, putting together a reasonable list of pitches for content and payment is ideal. Let the influencer have a few options, for their own comfort. And of course, be open to negotiation.
The influencer has their own brand, after all, and could be interested in altering ideas so they fit both of your voices. In fact, 79% of influencers are unlikely to recommend a product or brand they don’t believe in.
The next step is to reach out to your shortlist of influencer candidates. An email is best, but many Instagrammers or TikTokers may not have an obvious email address anywhere in their profiles or online. A DM can also work; it reaches them right where they work, essentially.
As with any marketing pitch, keep your message tight. Keep it short, polite, and punchy. “This is BRAND, and we’d like to know if you’re interested in promoting X for Y” might work for a DM. An email should contain a few pleasantries and maybe a few more details.
Basically, let the influencer know as quickly as possible what you want and what they might get out of it. It doesn’t have to be a hard dollar amount or a guarantee of swag, but it should be specific and enticing enough to actually get attention.
You may have to follow up on an email after a day or so, but a DM should be much more immediate. If you’ve been left visibly on read, it may be time to just move on. A single nudge isn’t a bad idea, but you definitely don’t want to come off as pushy.
We’ll keep this section short because we aren’t lawyers, and this isn’t legal advice, but we highly recommend you do your research on how to stay legally compliant when using influencers.
Of course, you also want to follow all of the policies on the social media platform your influencer is using. An influencer or a shoutout post is no good if they get hit by the banhammer.
The FTC is already stepping into influencer marketing to protect consumers. Disclosing that something is an endorsement or an ad is essential.
Looking for more help finding or inspiring influencers? One of the best ways to get influencers excited and posting is to bring them to a live, experiential marketing event.
Contact Inspira Marketing to learn how experiential marketing can not only help find your audience, but galvanize them into sharing their amazing experience.
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