A world where “influencers” are, well, influential is still relatively new, so what exactly is a social media influencer? Essentially, it’s someone who has a strong following on their social media channels, and through those channels has the power to impact how their followers spend their money. Brand-influencer relationships are constantly growing and changing, and it can be a difficult world to navigate. If you’re unsure about how to incorporate influencers into your brand strategy, we interviewed three of Denver’s top influencers from different niches to discuss today’s best etiquette for influencer outreach, and in this blog we share six tips on best ways to work with them:
A good introduction is crucial because it sets the tone for your entire relationship. If you are looking for a long-term partnership, the best way to communicate is through email. Bre from Bites with Bre says, “If you can’t find a way to contact an influencer, it’s appropriate to send a direct message (DM) through Instagram, and ask to move the conversation to email.” Email keeps your thread in one place for referencing later and your messages don’t get buried in the influencer’s DMs. But she also noted that “Not all influencers prefer an email chain – they can often make a quick agreement though direct messages if there’s no contract or monetary agreement.”
Another major thing to consider is keeping the outreach as personalized to each influencer as possible. Bailey of Sailor Bailey points out, “You wouldn’t believe how many emails I receive that are addressed to the wrong name, or just address me as ‘Hey Foodie.’” If the influencer is truly on the brand’s radar, then the brand should know what the influencer is all about and be up-to-date on their personal life. For example, if an influencer recently returned from vacation, a perfect opening line would be “How was your trip to (insert city name)?” It shows a genuine interest, and hopefully, a stronger chance that the influencer is a good fit for that company.
DON’T GO IT ALONE
Consider hiring an agency like ROOT Marketing & PR to plan and orchestrate your Influencer Marketing campaign. ROOT specializes in fostering unique relationships with influencers and being familiar with their individual styles of work. We keep many of their media kits and rate cards on hand, so we can choose the best influencers for your brand while staying within the campaign’s budget.
Kait from Habits of a Modern Hippie couldn’t agree more: “I’m constantly on the go and juggling lots of moving parts of my business. Working with PR companies like ROOT makes the process of brand partnerships easier and more streamlined. They have a system in place so I know what to expect when, and what types of content to deliver. Working with an experienced PR firm allows me to spend less time negotiating the nitty gritty, and more time letting my creativity shine.”
CONTRACTS AND CAMPAIGN BRIEFS
Now we’ve reached the point where there’s a lot of legal jargon, but it’s crucial to outline all the expectations of your partnership using a campaign brief, or a contract when payment is involved. If working in trade, a brief is appropriate but a contract is not, because it is not considered a true working relationship. A campaign brief covers guidelines such as the objective, the message tone, brand do’s and don’ts, payment terms, hashtags and brand tags, FTC guidelines and much more.
It’s important to clearly lay out all expectations when you’re looking to enter into a partnership with an influencer. Don’t approach an influencer until you have a solid plan. Bre adds, “All too often, we receive a message stating the brand is new to influencer marketing and they want to work with us in some capacity, but aren’t sure where to start. But influencers don’t have time to come up with a suitable marketing campaign for the brand.”
LET THEM DO THEIR BEST WORK
As an agency representing both influencers and brands, ROOT Marketing & PR can recommend the best influencers to match the brand’s overall aesthetic. The influencers we choose will reach your targeted demographic, be on-brand, and share your overall marketing concept with their trusted followers. We prefer to let the influencer be as creative as they like because that produces highly engaging, organic traffic. Forced content that doesn’t match their overall voice will result in a low return for a brand.
Once the contract is in place and all deliverables are met, the influencer will be awaiting payment. It is important that payment is on-time and paid in full to the agreed terms. Payment is acceptable through direct deposit, check, Paypal or Venmo, as well as a Visa or Mastercard gift card. Brands that fail to follow this are often blacklisted in the influencer community. ROOT will take care of all payment terms and deadlines to help keep this part of the process smooth.
An agency like ROOT Marketing and PR will handle feedback from both sides of the agreement throughout the campaign, all the way to the end. This is a valuable arrangement because if there is negative feedback it can be politely shared without hurting any feelings. If a brand feels that the influencer isn’t meeting expectations, the agency can step in to get the campaign back on track. This reduces confrontation and hard conversations for the brand.
Reaching out to influencers and creating partnership campaigns can be time consuming and confusing, but if you skip over it entirely, you’re missing out on an important opportunity to give your brand a real boost. These best practices are a good jumping off point for any company but if you’re still feeling uneasy, reach out to our team for a consultation. We know the ins and outs of how to get the most out of an Influencer Marketing campaign. ROOT Marketing & PR will do all the heavy lifting for you, saving you time and ensuring the best success for your brand.