If you’re reading this, you’ve probably done something right. Namely, you’ve realized that influencer marketing is the most dynamic and effective strategy to get your brand noticed. But, before you pat yourself on the back too hard, you should realize that there are a few common steps you can take to make sure everything runs smoothly. If you skip a few, you might find yourself wondering why it never got off the ground.
The Initial Outreach
After you’ve identified your influencers, start at the beginning. Your first contact with these valuable collaborators needs to be thought out well. First off, it needs to be personal. Yes, it will save you lots of time to push out mass emails but remember, you are starting an extensive partnership with these folks. First, use their name to greet them. Then, take some time to read their blogs and comment on their content. You need to vet their site anyhow and mentioning a specific piece that they created establishes a personal assurance that you admire their work.
Next, make sure your email is concise, lays out exactly what you’re expecting from them, and gets to the point quickly. Remember, many influencers get dozens of these emails a day and don’t have the time or patience to wade through a long or meandering email. Pay attention to the subject line and make it an offer to work with you and not for you. Emphasize the spirit of collaboration and let them know that creative freedom is the kind of partnership that you are seeking out. These are easy steps and everything you can do to make it personal counts.
Have a Plan
You should have a concrete vision of the theme and tone of the campaign in mind before you even start your outreach, so get your brainstorming going early. Take a look at case studies of other successful campaigns to see what has been effective elsewhere and really explore the parameters of your brand to evaluate what would work best.
Some approaches are funny, irreverent, emotional or sincere in tone—there’s no wrong direction so look for the one that fits your brand and the tone of the influencers you reach out to. Maybe create a challenge…most bloggers have a strong community of colleagues that they communicate with and getting a bit of competition going can not only be fun and interactive, but, it can also exponentially expand the number of eyes on your brand.
Make sure your messaging is clear and give them all the high-quality assets they need to represent your brand properly. High-resolution images, logos, and videos should be easy to embed and showcase. Think up a clever hashtag or two and make sure no one’s used it before. Give them plenty of direction, yet the creative freedom to do their thing, and you should see great results.
Make Sure It Fits
It’s one thing to find the perfect influencer and yet another to partner with them. The real trick, though, is to be able to mesh their strengths with your vision for your brand. The first step in accomplishing this feat is a step we’ve already covered: comprehensive research on the influencers themselves. Some are YouTube stars, for example, and asking them to create specific written content might not turn out well for anyone. Various social media platforms highlight particular talents, so don’t try to force your ideas onto a space or influencer where it wouldn’t fit. Once you’ve found that easy fit, cater to it.
Most importantly, if you’re unsure of the best way to find a fit…ask. Feel free to check in with your content creators to inquire what they think works best. They have loads of experience—both good and bad—and will appreciate the attention to detail and the desire to do things the right way.
On the heels of that advice about asking your influencers for their opinions comes the magic word that everyone in this business uses constantly: engagement. A quality blogger not only racks up likes, shares and emojis…they communicate with their readers. Answering questions, giving recommendations, and thanking folks for their kind words is good practice, but it also complies favorably with most social media algorithms to keep the posts at the top of the feed for longer.
The same goes for engagement between your brand and the influencer. Be sure to engage with your influencer early and often, keep the lines of communication wide open and be prepared to answer questions. It’s also a good idea to keep in touch after the campaign ends as you might just get a few more brand mentions.
Finally, you should consider retaining some of these influencers throughout the year, as opposed to the one-and-done model. Readers will identify with your brand with the same loyalty and trust that they give to their blogger if the mentions and posts keep coming. And that’s what you want, right?
Ensure Proper Disclosure
Keeping in compliance with FTC regulations is a pain point for lots of brands. Things change quickly in digital marketing, and it takes a good amount of time and effort to stay on top of it. Here’s the deal: Any sort of social media or blog commerce, mentions or endorsements need to be accompanied with a disclosure that there was compensation involved. That includes free products, family member involvement, and all sorts of other little situations. You may have dozens, or even hundreds, of individual posts and mentions out there representing your brand; great news, but it could be costly if they don’t all comply. Be very clear with everyone involved what needs to happen to follow these rules.
There are lots of moving parts in influencer marketing campaigns, and we’d like to think we covered a few that are often overlooked. We’d love to hear your suggestions and ideas on this topic…let us know below!