11 Mar 101: Working with Influencers
What exactly is an influencer anyway?
An influencer has a ‘loud’ voice, substantial reach, and a significant network, including followers, readers, or viewers. He or she has the ability to sway opinions of a specific audience by association.
Working with influencers is an essential part of growing your brand—they can help spread awareness, garner press and integrate your brand into a broader audience.
Influencers — such as bloggers, social media stars, podcasters, YouTubers, etc. have worked hard to build rapport and cultivate trust within their circles of influence. So when influencers promote a product or service, their circles respond. Sometimes through immediate action, but also through positive brand association — a ripple effect takes place that results in brand awareness and future sales.
But, hint: Knowing what an influencer is and what benefits an influencer-brand relationship can reap isn’t enough — you need to know how to work with an influencer to get the most out of that relationship. When venturing into the world of influencer marketing, a question brands typically have is understanding which influencers to partner with and what kind of campaigns work best. Facilitating this process manually can be very labor-intensive but there is a right way and a wrong way to build these relationships.
Here are some tips for working with influencers:
Ask the influencer to present a concept
Rather than dictating the topic and type of content you want from the influencers, let them come back to you with a concept that plays to their strengths and social credibility.
Keep editing from your side to a minimum
We typically require, at most, one round of editorial review. We validate and trust their talent, which gives our influencers the freedom of artistic expression.
Don’t be shy of exclusive development deals
Once you find influencers who are adept at creating content that helps meet your goals, asking them for more of it under an exclusive agreement can be a worthwhile choice for both parties.
Understand the differences among reach, popularity and influence
A campaign can fail if a brand is intent on focusing on reach and popularity, but not necessarily on influence. Influence is not about retweets or shares. It’s about conversions. If someone makes a purchase based on a person’s advice, that person is an influencer. Producing unique, interesting and relevant content for a campaign involves a great deal of work and effort. When pitching influencers, brands should keep this in mind and propose something that will benefit everyone involved — including the influencer’s audience.
Don’t send blanket media pitches. Just don’t.
Your approach is everything, and since most outreach is over social media or email, your words are crucial. When a brand uses overly insistent or pushy language in requests for coverage – especially from brands an influencer has never engaged with before – that email usually gets deleted before it’s been read all the way through.
Doing your research is essential here. Read a few of the influencer’s recent social media updates or blog posts, then mention them when you’re introducing yourself and your brand. Explain why your brand feels that its voice and audience are a good fit for your product and service. Then provide the “ask” in detail – what/how would you like to work, and the “What’s in it for Me” (WIIFM) factor. More on that later…