In today’s digital world, one thing is for sure – Influencer Marketing is and will continue to be a very important part of a brand’s growth. Whether a brand is looking to partner with content creators to promote an event or store opening or looking for someone to shoot images for a brand’s use, there is a professional way to go about connecting with Influencers.
As someone who has been in the industry for over 8 years and understands the Influencer market on a personal and professional basis, here are five tips for working with Influencers and the best practices a brand should follow to maintain and build these relationships that will ultimately lead to a brand’s overall success.
1. Be Thoughtful and Personal.
Influencers are constantly being asked to collaborate with brands. With so many opportunities, it’s easy for an Influencer to pick and choose who they work with. If a brand or publicist is looking to work with a specific creator, make sure the creator knows that they have been carefully selected by that business. It’s simple and everyone wants to feel special and have their work be respected. Instead of reaching out with a quick message of “we want to work with you, here’s what we want from you,” try wording your message with personal details. “Hi ____! We love your content style and the way you tell the story of a brand. We especially loved your collaboration with XYZ and would love to discuss a potential collaboration with our brand.”
By adjusting a brand’s messaging to be thoughtful and personal, the higher the chance of not only getting a response but landing a campaign deal with someone who would have otherwise ignored the one of 100 emails they get a day. No matter how big or small an Influencer’s following may be, making sure the Influencer the brand is wanting to work with feels seen and appreciated is the key to getting in the door and at the top of their inbox.
2. Email vs DM?
When it comes to reaching out to Influencers, sending an email pitch should always come first. Personally, I have made sure my email address is easily accessible to anyone who may want to reach out. It’s right there in my Instagram profile and most content creators also share their email addresses in their IG bios/profiles. When sending an email, we’re able to flag messages and answer them in our own time from our computers. It’s easier to organize conversations and go back to notes through emails. Plus, it helps to be able to send attachments like Rate Sheets and Media Kits.
When it comes to direct messages, the only time it’s okay to slide in is when you cannot find an email address. This can happen with bigger content creators or creators who work with management companies. In that case, write out a thoughtful DM – something along the lines of: Hi ____! We would love the opportunity to discuss a potential collaboration. Please let us know the best email to reach out to and we’ll go ahead and send more information your way.”
If the creator is interested in moving forward, they will get in touch and reply to a brand’s DM and email. If they never respond, make a note in the database that they typically do not respond to emails or DMs and move along.
3. Organize The Strategy Ahead of Reaching Out.
Before reaching out to Influencers, make sure the brand’s strategy is organized and that every question is answered before they need to ask a question. Instead of reaching out and saying, “Hi! We want to work with you to promote this product!”, try wording the pitch so that it covers everything. Introduce the client and the brand, briefly summarize the campaign and outline the expectations, deliverables and payment the Influencer needs to know about. This will save time going back and forth negotiating social media deliverables, timeline, budget, etc. A brand’s Public Relations firm should go into these conversations knowing exactly what the brand needs from the Influencer and what the goals are from this campaign. Be up front and say, “We’re looking for 1 IG Reel, 1 IG Static Post and 3 IG Story slides to be posted by March 19th, 2022. Please let us know if you align with these deliverables and what your rate would be for this campaign, and we can go from there.”
As I mentioned previously, Influencers are bombarded with emails on a daily basis. To receive a pitch email that outlines everything they’d need to know ahead of accepting a campaign is very much appreciated and will not only save a brand time but will save any confusion on both ends moving forward.
4. Know Their Worth.
It’s time to start paying Influencers. It’s time that brands stop thinking they can get away with just gifting product because a free meal does not constitute an Instagram Feed Post. A free shampoo set doesn’t mean a brand will get an IG Reel in return. Influencers work hard at creating beautiful content to promote products and brands that they love. Influencer Marketing is a business and a business should have budgets to compensate their creative partners fairly. When a brand can negotiate a monthly/yearly budget for Influencer campaigns, then move forward knowing that the brand has $20k to spend on Influencers alone. Have those conversations with clients if they’re expecting the firm to bring in Influencer partners. If a brand is looking to work with 10 local Influencers in exchange for multiple social media posts, it’s the PR firm’s job to make sure they understand this will not and cannot be done for free. Transparency is key and having a budget to pay creators is very important nowadays. With thousands of brands reaching out, Influencers are saying no more than ever because the next brand sending them an email is going to have a budget.
Pro Tip: If a brand has only a certain amount to spend with no wiggle room, be up front with the Influencer. Say something like, “We only have $500 this month, what can you do with that?” The Influencer will then have the opportunity to come and say, “I’ll post 5 Instagram Stories for $500.” Everyone wins with honest and transparent conversations.
5. Treat Influencers like they are your own employee.
The hardest part about working as an Influencer is having to do a million jobs as one person. When a brand hires an Influencer to create content, this eliminates the need to hire a photographer, graphic designer, hair and makeup artist, editor, etc. Influencers work hard at their job which involves a lot more than just posting to Instagram, so it’s important for them to feel respected and treated like any other employee would at an agency.
Pay Influencers on time. Be clear and concise when it comes to expectations, just as a business would with its employees. Answer their emails and questions in a timely fashion. Get on the phone with them to discuss campaign details and contracts. Just because a brand’s Influencers may not work in that business’ office every day does not mean their work isn’t as important or shouldn’t be treated equally.
This post is part of Durée & Company’s ongoing Guest Blog series, The #DynamoDigest, where we have tapped select journalists and Influencers whose work we admire and respect. In this series, top tips and best practices are shared across a variety of topics impacting the public relations industry today.
By Emilie Sobel, Emilie Sobel Media, Inc., Beauty, Lifestyle, Travel Influencer in Miami, Florida
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